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: Navigation Tools
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 »
March 13, 2013
The recent seventy-fifth anniversary of the disappearance of Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, stirred up considerable media attention – particularly in light of another expedition to the South Pacific in the hopes of solving the mystery. While the fate of Earhart has enthralled the public since 1937, the story of how Earhart figures into the larger history of air navigation and long-distance flying is often overlooked. Read More »