GPS is a satellite-based navigation system composed of a network of satellites placed into orbit by the United States Department of Defense (DOD). GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. A GPS receiver must be locked onto the signal of at least three satellites to calculate a two-dimensional position (latitude and longitude) and track movement. With four or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine the user’s three-dimensional position (latitude, longitude, and altitude). Other satellites must also be in view to offset signal loss and signal ambiguity. The use of the GPS is discussed in more detail in Chapter 15, Navigation. Additionally, GPS is discussed in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).
Aircraft Structure Summary
This chapter provides an overview of aircraft structures. A more in-depth understanding of aircraft structures and controls can be gained through the use of flight simulation software or interactive programs available online through aviation organizations such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Pilots are also encouraged to subscribe to or review the various aviation periodicals which contain valuable flying information. As discussed in Chapter 1, the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) and the FAA also offer free information for pilots.