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Transportation
Air Navigation, Part 1



Air Navigation, Part 1
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.14

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    noncommercial, pilotage, position-finding, landing, collision, override, prior, aircraft, transmit, avoidance, regional, navigate, military, maintain, commonly, minimum
     content words:    United States, Instrument Landing Systems, Microwave Landing Systems, Landing Systems, Microwave Landing System, United States Department, In Air Navigation


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Air Navigation, Part 1
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     Just as a driver needs a map when traveling to a new destination, airline pilots need a system for transporting people safely. That's where air navigation comes into the picture. Air navigation is the science and technology that is used to determine an aircraft's position with respect to the earth's surface. It also helps pilots maintain the aircraft's course (direction of travel), and the aircraft to be monitored or watched as it travels to its destination.
 
2     When pilots fly airplanes, they use one of two navigation methods called pilotage and instrument flight regulations (IFR) . Pilotage requires pilots to use landmarks on the ground to keep track of their speed, position, and course. They can observe these landmarks visually or on radar. Pilots use aeronautical charts, which contain pictures of the earth's landscape, to compare the landmarks. This method is also called flying under visual flight regulations (VFR) . Pilots who fly using VFR are told the minimum weather conditions in which they can fly their aircraft. Since pilots need to visually see landmarks (not just on radar), pilotage would be difficult to use during cloudy or foggy weather. This method of navigation is not recommended for long trips, especially over large bodies of water and land that does not have special features. Pilotage is more commonly used with small, lighter airplanes.
 
3     Instrument flight regulations (IFR) are used by larger commercial and noncommercial (military) aircraft. Although smaller aircraft pilots can use this method of navigation when VFR is not possible, it is the required method for larger aircraft. IFR aircraft must have specific position-finding instruments, and pilots must be trained to use those instruments. Prior to flying, all pilots must file a flight plan with air traffic control. Air traffic control is a system where airplanes and other aircraft are routed or directed safely into and out of major airports. In the United States there are regional air traffic control centers that direct aircraft along set airways or routes to airport traffic control centers.

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