In the very early stages of aviation, control of an aircraft was based purely on visual feedback and sensorial perception: flying ‘by the seat of the pants’. Such instruments as were available in the cockpit were very basic and limited in their capacity. As aircraft complexity has increased, more information and more complex instruments have become available.
Altimeters are devices designed to calculate the height of an aircraft above the surface directly below it. This height may be Above Ground Level (AGL) or Above Sea Level (ASL).
Different types of altimeter use different technologies to calculate this height, including pressure-density to altitude relationship and the propagation and reflection of electromagnetic waves etc.
There are four main types of altimeter:
Navigation is a process involving three steps:
- Establish the track that needs to be followed (i.e. Flight Plan)
- Establish current position relative to the FP
- Execute all necessary guidance actions to correct any deviation in position
There are different types of navigation system:
One of the biggest challenges facing any cutting-edge Attitude & Heading Reference System / Inertial Navigation System (AHRS/INS) is the ability to perform a mission in a degraded environment. In navigation, dead reckoning is the process of calculating one’s current position by using a previously determined one, and advancing it based upon known or estimated speeds (integrated) over elapsed time and course. Evidently each integration is subject to a cumulative error; the aim therefore is to reduce this error in order to increase precision.
1. The United States Military Standard (MIL-STD) ensures that products meet certain minimum requirements and standards of reliability established by the U.S. Department of Defense.
2. The standard is also used by non-defense government organizations or industries as a way of showing that their products meet the criteria.