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Christian Aries A.

Paye BS ECE 4 ECE TE 1

First Semester 2012/2013 Engr. Lolit M. Villanueva Reflection Paper on Air Navigation

One of Humanitys greatest accomplishments is the discovery of the concept of navigation. In the past, people had no idea how to travel using navigation tools. They just rely on where their feet lead them. As society progress, it started to learn, basic navigational skills like remembering places they travelled using landmarks. They also started to map places. They realized that they could make tools to make travelling or going to places using tools that will allow them to make it more efficient, hence the birth if the system of Navigation. Another important aspect of navigation is air navigation. People then started to travel through the air. Societies invented airplanes, helicopters and even spaceships that allow a person to travel in the outer space. The basic principles of air navigation are identical to general navigation, which includes the process of planning, recording, and controlling the movement of a craft from one place to another. Successful air navigation involves piloting an aircraft from place to place without getting lost, breaking the laws applying to aircraft, or endangering the safety of those on board or on the ground. Air navigation differs from the navigation of surface craft in several ways: Aircraft travel at relatively high speeds, leaving less time to calculate their position en route. Aircraft normally cannot stop in mid-air to ascertain their position at leisure. Aircraft are safety-limited by the amount of fuel they can carry; a surface vehicle can usually get lost, run out of fuel, then simply await rescue. There is no in-flight rescue for most aircraft. And collisions with obstructions are usually fatal. Therefore, constant awareness of position is critical for aircraft pilots. The techniques used for navigation in the air will depend on whether the aircraft is flying under the visual flight rules (VFR) or the instrument flight rules (IFR). In the latter case, the pilot will navigate exclusively using instruments and radio navigation aids such as beacons, or as directed under radar control by air traffic control. In the VFR case, a pilot will largely navigate using reckoning combined with visual observations (known as pilotage), with reference to appropriate maps. This may be supplemented using radio navigation aids. There are a lot of navigational aids that a person can use. The first one is the Automatic Direction Finder of ADF. ADF uses non-directional beacons (NDBs) on the ground to drive a display which shows the direction of the beacon from the aircraft. The pilot may use this bearing to draw a line on the map to show the bearing from the beacon. By using a second beacon, two lines may be drawn to locate the aircraft at the intersection of the lines. This is called a cross-cut. Alternatively, if the track takes the flight directly overhead a beacon, the pilot can use the ADF instrument to maintain heading relative to the beacon, though "following the needle" is bad practice, especially in the presence of a strong cross wind the pilot's actual track will spiral in towards the beacon, not what was intended. NDBs also can give erroneous readings because they use very long wavelengths, which are easily bent and reflected by ground features and the atmosphere. NDBs continue to be used as a common form of navigation in some countries with relatively few navigational aids. ADF has significant advantages like it has a great accuracy, its signal also provides to/from bearing to beacon and its also free from precipitation static and annoying interference by other weather conditions. VOR is a more sophisticated system, and is still the primary air navigation system established for aircraft flying under IFR in those countries with many navigational aids. In this system, a beacon emits a specially modulated signal which consists of two waves which are out of phase. The phase difference corresponds to the actual bearing relative to magnetic north (in some cases true north) that the receiver is from the station. The upshot is that the receiver can determine with certainty the exact bearing from the station.

Again, a cross-cut is used to pinpoint the location. Many VOR stations also have additional equipment called DME (distance measuring equipment) which will allow a suitable receiver to determine the exact distance from the station. Together with the bearing, this allows an exact position to be determined from a single beacon alone. For convenience, some VOR stations also transmit local weather information which the pilot can listen in to, perhaps generated by a System. Other concepts also like Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) that provides the flight crew with information about the distance from the aircrafts position to a ground station. This is important for pilot to have any idea where they are and how far they are from the ground station. It will help the flight crew make decisions in the direction of the flight and not just to navigate without any idea where to go. There is also what we call Instrument Landing System or ILS. The Instrument landing system (ILS) is a ground-based instrument approach system which provides precise guidance to an aircraft approaching a runway. It uses a combination of radio signals and, in many cases, high-intensity lighting arrays to enable a safe landing during Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), such as low ceilings or reduced visibility due to fog, rain, or blowing snow. This is important because a lot of accidents happen during an aircrafts landing. So there is really a need for this system to guide the pilot. Another concept is the VLF or very low frequency. Refers to radio frequencies (RF) in the range of 3 kHz to 30 kHz. Since there is not much bandwidth in this band of the radio spectrum, only the very simplest signals are used, such as for radio navigation. Also known as the myriameter band or myriameter wave as the wavelengths range from ten to one myriameter (an obsolete metric unit equal to 10 kilometres). VLF is used in a lot of communication and transmission of information. In fact, the history of radio engineering shows the rampant use of VLF in its development. Air navigation is really also important. These may be are concepts that we cant apply i n our everyday lives, but these are concepts that people who needs to know should know. It air navigation, a lot of lives are at stake. That is why theres a great premium for pilots, flight crew and air controller to know these things. It will also be good for regular individuals to know these things. In case where the situation demands, people can do something. So the next time you ride a plane, you know how complicated it is and hard to bring you to your destination.