How Navigation Has Changed


Our avionics shop, part of the 72 A&E Squadron, maintained a Doppler navigation radar system on both the B-52 and KC-135 that gave the navigator instantaneous ground speed and drift angle.  Components for that system were installed at the navigator’s position, in the belly, and in wheel wells.  In all, it weighed nearly a thousand pounds.

During the first Ramey AFB reunion at which the Spirit of Freedom C-54 participated, the copilot plotted his course from New Jersey to Ramey with the aid of a battery-powered GPS weighing only a few ounces and could fit in his pocket ( photo).  Ground speed was a direct reading.  Drift angle was calculated by plotting his current Latitude and Longitude with that of the previous reading.

Solid state has left its mark.