Inertial Navigation System

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The inertial navigation system is a system of aircraft navigation still used today in many large aircraft as the primary navigation system. Instead of using radio navigation aids or satellites, this system is entirely self-contained within the aircraft, computing the aircraft's position by sensing its acceleration and orientation. It, in essence, is a real accurate dead-reckoning computer.

Dead-reckoning is a navigation technique where you know where you started, what direction you flew, how fast you flew, and how long you flew. You can then, on a map, trace your position. The inertial navigation system (abbreviated "INS") uses accelerometers to find your velocity and direction, and computers compile in the time and an entered start position to calculate your current position.

Two Types

There are two primary types of inertial navigation systems, gimballed and strapdown.

Gimballed

References

[1]