Effects of Navigation on Aviation

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Aviation is a practical aspect or an art of aeronautics through which people learn the design, development and the production of aircraft. It also helps in operating and the use of aircraft which in most cases is heavier than air. Navigation on the other hand deals with the monitoring and control of different machines and in aviation; it focuses on planes. There have been developments in the world of aviation from the past and this has brought about many changes which make the mode of transportation better.

Table of content

Effects of navigation on aviation



History of aviation

Developments in aviation

Advantages and disadvantages of navigation

Challenges facing navigation and their solutions




Aviation is an art and is also described as a science by some researchers. It is also a branch of study that focuses on air transport and the machines used for this transport. It focuses on developing of an aircraft from raw materials to the finished plane that flies in air. It is therefore a broad aspect and its study is referred to as aeronautical engineering or civil aviation. Aviation forms an important part of the transport system all over the world (Antwerpen, 2007).

It has been a recognized field where developments have taken place and have brought significant changes making this transport system better than others. The fact that a heavy machine can suspend in air and carry many tones is a puzzle to many but for aeronautical engineers, this is a normal thing which is done easily. Navigation has also been an improvement in the field of aviation which has made this mode of transport safer.

History of aviation

Leon Delagrange was the first passenger to fly and joined Henri Farman who was a French pilot. They flew in 1908 from a meadow in the outside part of Paris. Charles Furnas was the first American passenger in the airplane who flew together with Orville Wright in a place called Kitty Hawk in that same year. It was on 1st January 1914 when the first air service was scheduled and this was in Florida (Fried & Kayton, 1997).

Glen Curtiss had by then made a plane which could easily take off and then land on water and the only thing that could be done on it was making it larger than any plane that exists today. This is because it did not need any heavy undercarriage which is required for landing on the hard ground. It was during the World War I that the military recognized the need of aircrafts and the reason behind this was because they were a safe method of transport and also were fast.

It was also during the World War I that there was increased production of aircraft which were then used by the military to fight their enemies. Before this world war, developments in the planes were slow and many people feared travelling in them since they feared the height above the ground. The governments on both sides of the Atlantic demanded highly for aircrafts and this made the aircraft industry grow rapidly.

It was also the time of development of powerful motors which enabled a plane to fly 130 miles in an hour which was more than twice the speed of the pre war crafts (Antwerpen, 2007). It was through the increased power that made the developments of larger crafts possible. Although the war was a good thing to the aircraft industry, it was also affecting the commercial aspect of the industry since it focused more on the military aircraft. It was then that the public associated flying with such things as bombing. It was also associated with aerial dogfights as well as surveillance.

There was production of many aircrafts during this period of the war and some of the European countries for example Great Britain and France took advantage of the war. They got involved in the designing and production of aircrafts which were required for the war. They also nurtured aviation in a commercial sense and they did this by starting an air service over the English Channel (Fried & Kayton, 1997). This was not the case in America since the towns in this country were connected to each other through both rail and roads and they could transport passengers as fast as almost a plane. It was then after this world war that the government of United States decided to establish this program but was not intended for transportation of people.

By 1921, the army had already deployed beacons which were rotating in one line which ran between Columbus and Dayton in Ohio which is a distance of approximately 80 miles. These beacons were visible to pilots at intervals of 10 seconds and this made it possible for night flights. They acted as a guide to the pilots to their destination (Rhoades, 2014).

The post office then took charge of offering guidance to pilots and similar beacons were constructed between the towns of Chicago and Cheyenne in the year 1923. In the year 1925, the Morrow Board under the leadership of Dwight Morrow submitted a report to the government which recommended the formulation of civil aviation policies outside the military. From then on there have been innovations in aviation which have led to the development of larger planes which were safer for passengers and ones that do not transport mails.

It was in the year 1932 that radios became fully functional and were being used by pilots to communicate while they were still on air. This was one of the ways through which planes could be monitored and controlled while they were still on air since guidelines could be offered. They also transmitted directional beams or else tracks which pilots could then follow to their destinations. Marker beacons were a later invention which enabled pilots to see those airports that were in poor visibility areas (Fried & Kayton, 1997). In 1935, the first tower that controlled air traffic was set at a place which is currently known as Newark International airport which is in New Jersey. By 1936, the DC-3 became the first aircraft that enabled airlines to make money by carrying passengers. It was a design by the American Airlines and it became dominant.

Advantages and disadvantages of navigation

Navigation has also been incorporated in aviation and this makes this transport mode safer since it is able to control and monitor planes while in air. This has led to development of industries that develop the navigation devices such as trackers. Security persons have also formed part of the aircraft crew and aim at making the passengers safe and secure from any attacks (Antwerpen, 2007). The plane industries have therefore expanded and merged with such industries as the security firms as well as the technological firms.

This is with the aim of being competent and able to offer the best services to the passengers. Although there has been creation of employment to those skilled with technology, there has also been layoff since most activities are being done by machine and not manually. it was an advantage to those who had the skill and had not yet been employed and a disadvantage to those who were already employed but did not have the skills since they had to lose their jobs.

The government’s work in the aviation industry was made easy through navigation since monitoring of a number of aircraft is done from one point and it’s not necessary to be physically in the aircraft. This is because there are devices that have been installed in the aircrafts which enable those monitoring the aircrafts view all that happens in the planes. Some acts such as terrorist attacks and hijacking of aircrafts have thus become rare in most nations (Fried & Kayton, 1997).

If such acts happen, it also becomes easy to trace those who were involved and justice measures are taken against them. Through such secure air transport, governments have been able to engage in trade with other nations and a good example is in the tourism industry. This is because other nations trust the security in this transport industry and believe that nothing bad can happen to them.

Challenges facing navigation and their solutions

Navigation could also be done in other ways which include pilotage and dead reckoning where pilotage is a method in which the pilot follows certain landmarks on the ground. He therefore draws a line on his aeronautical map which shows him the direction to follow in order to get to his destination. Dead reckoning is also another method of navigation which was used in the early days of flying. It is more complex as compared to piloting since the pilot must know the distance between certain points for example water bodies and forests (MacKenzie, 2010). It therefore requires pilots to have such skills which enable them to keep track of such points in the course of their journeys.

Not only do the pilots need to have these skills but also the whole cabin crew since they can assist each other where there is need. Although all these methods are applicable in navigation, there have been objections against their accuracy as there have been cases where aircrafts got lost and have never been found. The aviation department should therefore set policies which aim at ensuring accuracy in the formulation of navigation methods or on deciding on the navigation method to use. There should also be training programs where pilots and other workers in the field of aviation will be taught on navigation and its importance to the government and the nation as a whole (Huang, 2009).

The aviation department should as well consider the cost effectiveness of any navigation method based on its accuracy. This would be done in order to ensure that costs are not incurred without benefit to the industry. The society within which the industry operates should as well be considered so that no type of navigation goes against their beliefs or morals. This would enhance acceptability and support of the industry by this society. Any activity that runs in accordance to the norms of a society is of benefit to the nation as it runs smoothly without objections.


Navigation has therefore brought about changes in the field of aviation and has made it more effective and efficient. This is as a result of the innovations that have made air transport better and preferred to other modes of transport. In the past these developments were not present but with the growing need for a better industry, they have been incorporated in aviation (Rhoades, 2014). This has benefited the workers, the government and the society as a whole.

The industry has benefited from an increase in income as a result of better services and the workers have gained more skills and are now experienced in the business. The government is no longer worried about such journeys since security to passengers is ensured through control measures. The society has benefited from better services through navigation  and has also got job opportunities which have improved their living standards. No matter the many challenges that face navigation in aviation, the government has introduced measures which aim at making the aspect better and meeting the needs of the society as a whole.


Antwerpen, N. A. . (2007). Cross-border provision of air navigation services with specific reference to Europe. S.l: s.n..
Fried, W. R., & Kayton, M. (1997). Avionics navigation systems. New York [u.a.: Wiley.]
Huang, J. (2009). Aviation safety and ICAO. Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International.
MacKenzie, D. (2010). ICAO: A history of the International Civil Aviation Organization.
Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Rhoades, D. L. (2014). Evolution of international aviation: Phoenix rising.

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