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  • Is it possible to briefly summarize how a commercial plane navigation system operates to a layperson (e.g. a passenger)? The aircraft takes off, reaches a certain altitude, and then lands perfect on a runway somewhere else. How does the navigation system affect this? How do pilots know where to go and where to land?

  • I am reading in the news that the MH370 flight changed its course by "Computer entry" and that it was programmed into the computer at least 12 minutes before the last voice contact with the plane. Ho...

  • Aircraft use nav fixes as waypoints or reporting points along their routes. I have noticed some interesting combinations. Some make sense, like LUCKI to LYNDI on the LYNDI arrival into San Diego Inte...

  • How does the Earth's eastward motion figure into the tracks proposed by Inmarsat data etc?

  • I noticed on SkyVector that, for example, the Resolute Bay VOR (YRB) and Baker Lake VOR (YBK) seem to be oriented in such a way that the 360 radial is pointing in the direction of true north (and I do...

  • How do I calculate the distance to touchdown when the glideslope angle is different from 3°? For example, you are 670ft AGL on a 3.2° glideslope approach; what do I change in the formula to calculate ...

  • In this question, the answer notes that some ADS-B systems are connected to Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), and says they are less accurate than GPS. What exactly is an INS? A couple sub questions: Why is it less accurate? The other post mentions they tend to develop biases as they get older, why is that? Are they being phased out? Or are they used as backup?

  • I had posted the question below on a New York Times article, but did not get any useful replies. The series of six successful Inmarsat pings known to exist, MAY carry enough information to say if the...

  • Can someone explain why the aircraft would fly in an arc using the satellite as a reference point? Have I missed something?

  • Why does an airplane need trim, and what does it do during the flight? Does an autopilot adjust the trim automatically?

  • Is there a method by which the conversions can be achieved on the fly by using a mathematical formulae and not using specific area charts?

  • As part of a project I'm doing I plotted the flight paths of about 2000 flights around the globe, I noticed over both the North Atlantic and Pacific that there is a pattern to the flight paths: You...

  • I really appreciate skyvector.com as a tool for initial route planning and providing me with a good lookout to the upcoming VFR flight, but honestly I'm not very satisfied with the FAA Sectional charts. Using these charts navigation in some more congested areas is tough work especially as I'm not very familiar with the area yet. Its often useful to have a satellite picture of these areas to identify some helpfull landmarks, which might not be shown on the sectional. Does anyone know how to transfer the skyvector route to Google Maps, or know an alternative to achieve a similar result?

  • I've read a couple of times that "own-ship position display" is not authorized for use on Class 1 or 2 EFBs (by the FAA), and that both the FAA and EASA are cautioning against that feature's use on EFBs in general. Own-ship position is an aircraft's GPS position displayed against georeferenced charts and diagrams. Obviously the use of a portable device - iPad or otherwise - should not be enough for primary navigation, but what safety concerns do the authorities have with own-ship display? Specific accident reports or official citations would be great.

  • So the LOC/DME-E approach to KASE lists for the missed approach course to use the I-PKN localizer, but then there's a note 'course outbound is normal sensing'. Does that mean that in effect, this par...

  • I do a lot of shortwave radio listening, and I often listen to MWARA air traffic radio transmissions based out of San Francisco for flights crossing the Pacific Ocean. When giving position reports the...

  • Let's say that we're directly west of CATLI and have been cleared direct CATLI for the RNAV approach. We load the approach into the GNS430 and proceed direct the fix. After crossing CATLI outbound...

  • Most ATC in the world rely primarily on secondary radar to know where planes are. This requires that the transponder on the plane works correctly. This means that maintenance and deployment of primar...

  • All this confusion over flight 370 has me wondering if it would be possible to hack into an airplane and control the autopilot or other on-board systems in a way that the pilots couldn't regain contro...

  • How do airliners cross the ocean without GPS? Do they use dead-reckoning or are there navigation aids floating out there?