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Missions 102-302

Helicopter Cockpit

Key Question: What are the real world career applications for Navigational Skills in Aviation?


Objectives- By the end of this lesson, students will be able to: 

  • Understand the real world applications of Navigation skills in Aviation

  • Describe some of the Aviation careers that utilize Navigation

  • Explain the educational requirements for a career in Aviation Navigation

  • Know which STEM skills are critical for a career in this field

  • Understand a day in the life of an Aviation professional

  • Evaluate job prospects in a chosen field


STEM standards: STEM Career Exploration; Research; non-fiction writing


Terms and Definitions: Navigation; Dead Reckoning


Reading and Resource Links

Navigation is defined as a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another. The field of navigation includes four general categories: land navigation, marine navigation, aeronautic navigation, and space navigation.


In this modern time of advanced Global Positioning System (GPS) – almost everyone has a handy and easy to use instrument that can tell where you are – and more importantly, where you want to go. Personal navigation has never been easier. But what came before GPS? And what would we do if GPS were lost – or worse – no longer available. Long before GPS, early explorers relied on the stars, moon, planets, and sun for navigation (Celestial navigation).  Using the stars & sun to measure longitude and latitude, they were able to determine their approximate position and chart a course to their destination. As technology improved, radio beacons replaced stars as a primary navigation method. And then satellites eventually replaced radio beacons. But there has always remained a need for back-up navigation methods.


Click Here for an explanation of Navigation types, methods, tools, and techniques.


For more advanced information on Navigation and it’s many sub-sciences, visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Courseware “Modern Navigation”


Your STEM Flights Navigation mission will include basic GPS navigation, piloting, and dead reckoning. You & your pilot will plan a mission to several waypoints on the map and (using a combination of navigation types & techniques) navigate your aircraft to the final destination. By the mission end, you will have learned how to navigate without the electronic crutch of GPS. 


Pre-Flight Activity: Read about one of the Navigation Careers using the linked resources above or other sources.  Write a 2-3 paragraph summary of your findings, including the information below (at a minimum).  Use complete sentences, proper punctuation and capitalization.  


  • Which career did you choose to explore? 

  • What are the educational requirements to be considered for this career? 

  • What types of STEM skills could you focus on now, to be able to do this job in the future? 

  • What is the average salary of someone in this job? 

  • Is the job market for this career currently strong? Is it projected to change in the next 10 years? 

  • Describe a typical work day for this career.

          After selecting your Mission, please complete your assignment by clicking on the Google Doc link              below.  Select 'Make a Copy' and complete the task.  Then, SHARE your assignment                                      with so that our team is able to mark your Pre-Flight Mission as complete.            Please reach out to us directly if you have any questions.  Thank you! 

            Link to complete and upload your assignment:  Click Here

Conclusions and Takeaways:  There are many options for Aviation careers using Navigation.  It is important to develop strong science and math skills now, in order to be able to pursue a career in Aviation in the future.

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