Top 50 Navigation Innovations

A countdown to the single most noteworthy navigation innovation of all time.

Top 50 Navigation Innovations article

Top 50 Navigation Innovations article

** Photo courtesy of Науменко Егор**

Soon after the Wright brothers' famous flight in 1903, the ways that we humans had previously devised to find our way around the globe proved obsolete, as, unbridled from the Earth, we flew over mountain chains and wide rivers that previously would have stopped us in our tracks. Without roads or rivers to guide us, we needed new ways to make our paths. Over the decades, ever-innovative aviation pioneers have created new methods and technologies toward that end, helping pilots navigate more reliably, over longer distances, in greater safety and, not unimportantly, more affordably. From aviation's early days, when intrepid aviators steered by the stars, to today's world of flying in which pilots follow signs from a constellation of man-made stars, the rate of change has been blinding. In Flying Magazine's Top 50 Navigation Innovations, we look at the march of that progress and rank the most significant advances of all time, from paper charts to space-age tech, and recognize the single most noteworthy navigation innovation of all time. — Robert Goyer