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Instruments mechanically measure physical quantities or properties with varying degrees of accuracy. Much of a navigator’s work consists of applying corrections to the indications of various instruments and interpreting the results. Therefore, navigators must be familiar with the capabilities and limitations of the instruments available to them.
A navigator obtains the following flight information from basic instruments: direction, altitude, temperature, airspeed, drift, and groundspeed (GS). Some of the basic instruments are discussed in this category. The more complex instruments that make accurate and long distance navigation possible are discussed in later categories.
- Compasses (Part One)
- Compasses (Part Two)
- Altitude and Altimeters
- Altimeter Errors
- Absolute Altimeter
- Airspeed (Part One)
- Airspeed (Part Two)
Flight Literacy Recommends
Rotating Flight Navigation Plotter – Rotating azimuth eases flight planning with direct course readout. 8 scales to meet the needs of all VFR aeronautical charts; nautical on one side, statute on the flip. Nautical-statute conversion scale also included.
Slide-Rule-Style E6B Flight Computer. On the circular side, black is used for the rate arrow and units to be calculated; Red is used for weight and volume; Blue is used for distance, time and temperature scales. On the wind side, colors are used to identify wind variation: blue identifies west (or right wind correction angle) and red identifies east (or left wind correction angle). ASA’s color E6-B is made with solid aluminum construction and features the functionality pilots have relied on for decades.
Additional Navigation Tools and Resources
- U. S. Air Almanac 2018 – The Air Almanac 2018 contains the astronomical data required for air celestial navigation, making it a necessary resource for all pilots and others attempting to chart routes based on celestial bodies. The Almanac also provides the Greenwich hour angle and declination of the Sun, Moon, and three navigational planets along with the Greenwich hour angle of Aries, all tabulated at 10-minute intervals.
- Davis Instruments Sextant – Used for measuring the angular distances between objects and especially for taking altitudes in navigation.
- Sight Reduction Tables For Air Navigation Pub. No. 249 – Vol 1. – These tables were designed for air navigation where weight and space are at a premium, however, they are very popular with sailors too due to the fact that Vol. 1 offers a speedier way to compute stars. Volumes two and three may also be helpful.