Research Journal

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.

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 »
December 13, 2013
Meet Sydney. The newest addition to the Time and Navigation gallery is a life-size bronze statue of a dog named Sydney. Sydney now reclines amiably on the deck of the exhibition’s ship, and our youngest visitors are finding him appealing. On a recent morning, one toddler was observed patting the statue’s head and squealing, “Puppy!” Another clambered onto Sydney’s back and went for an imaginary ride.  Read More »
October 24, 2013
One question I’m often asked as a curator is, “do you ever find anything interesting for the museum on eBay?” The answer is yes. This is the story of a particularly interesting find.  Read More »

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Recent Comments

2 years 10 months ago

Wow, lovely website. Thnx ...

3 years 4 months ago

This entry and the accompanying maps is particularly interesting to me as I have recently been doing research into H2X.