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How did planes able to find their way without GPS?

26 August 2020, 12:51

Today, as part of another story about the “mysteries” of flight work, I will talk about how pilots manage not to get lost in the vast fifth ocean and find their way from point A to point B.

The most basic method of aerial navigation is, of course, visual.

“Where you look, back and fly.”

It is still very widely developed in general aviation, which often fly according to the rules of visual flights. The pilot is guided based on the visibility of ground objects, determining the APM and the correctness of the path.

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By the way, the method, although basic, is not trivial, and requires some experience and good skills. The pilot has maps of a fairly large scale (1 cm = 5 km or even larger) on which objects are drawn in quite detail; forests, rivers, power lines, towers, ponds, hills, villages and towns that are drawn with the actual outlines preserved.

On this map, the pilot draws the route(s) with a pencil and in flight, as the aircraft moves along the calculated course, “leads the finger” on the map, expecting in advance to see a particular landmark that is marked on the map, or, if distracted, restores the orientation, comparing the configuration of visible flying objects on the ground with what is contained in the map.


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