Navigation aids used in aviation

Navigation is one term which is used quite often in aviation. The position of the aircraft at a particular point of time and the route it is following in air are two elements of navigation which need to be constantly monitored if the flight is not to deviate from its stipulated path. For this purpose, the navigation aids are used which ensure that the flight is operated with perfection. There are many such aids which can be used. However, their usage is dependent under what conditions the aircraft is flying. There are the visual flight rules and the instrument flight rules which define the conditions under which the airplane flies. The cheap international air tickets for the customers, provided by the airline are also helped by the accurate navigation system which ensures safe and timely flight operation and directly affects the efficiency levels.

Under the instrument flight rules (IFR), the pilot is left to navigate solely relying on the use of instruments and radio navigation aids. Even when the pilot is using the radar, under the control of ATC, it falls under the category of (IFR). In the visual flight rules (VFRs), it is the use of visibility element which guides the navigation. This includes taking reference of the appropriate maps. The visual ones are often supplemented by IFRs.

Magnetic compass is the most basic and also the most important navigation aid of the aircraft as it tells the location of the plane. Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) is another automatic tool which tells the direction of the plane. It makes use of the non-directional beacons. VHR omni-directional range (VOR) is another instrument which is more sophisticated. Celestial navigation, which was used by navigators prior to the advent of GNSS, was another useful aid of yesteryears. However, it is the GNSS which is increasingly being used for determining location and position.

So, airlines make use of the different and also the most recent navigation aids for the benefit of the pilots. The prices of the air tickets are also dependent on the nature of navigation systems being used by the airline. The latest ones are also the most expensive ones.

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