Smithsonian staff conducts research into the history and current practice of navigation. Museum staff will post newly researched materials and developments here. Share your thoughts or ask questions of our researchers.
Journal posts in category: Navigating in the Air
February 25, 2014
On February 16, 1994, a significant milestone in American aviation occurred when the Federal Aviation Administration certified the first GPS unit for use in IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) operations. Twenty years later, GPS has become the dominant form of en route navigation as well as the primary technology for guiding aircraft in low-visibility approaches to landing. The unit first certified twenty years ago was the Garmin GPS 155. Today, the prototype unit used in the certification trials is a featured artifact of the Time and Navigationexhibition. Read More »
September 24, 2013
On September 25, the National Air and Space Museum, in conjunction with the Federal Aviation Administration, is celebrating ten years of service by the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS). Other than being a mouthful, what is WAAS? Simply put, it is an enhancement to GPS signals that allows satellite navigation to be used in ways not previously possible. Read More »