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Home Page | Solutions | Other Systems | NON DIRECTIONAL BEACON
A Non-Directional Beacon (NDB) is a simple radio transmitter operating slightly below the AM broadcast band, or in the Long-wave band. It sends out a continuous signal, a "carrier," which is often modulated with the station's identification, in Morse code. This code helps the pilots confirm that they are tuned to the right frequency. On the flight deck, the pilots have an instrument called the ADF or Automatic Direction Finder, which simply consists of a needle which points toward the NDB. Thus, the pilots can locate and track towards one.
This is very useful for locating a place, which, during inclement weather can often be very hard to visually pinpoint. the NDB transmits at the medium frequency band (190-540 kHz). It can be said that NDB is a Homing Device. By plotting lines of position from two NDBs, pilots can find their direction.
Using this information along with the magnetic compass and the NDB receiver, the pilot can determine the aircraft's bearing from the NDB.
The range of the beacon will depend on the type of antenna used, the location of the installation, the RF power supplied to the antenna, and the operating frequency and ground conductivity. Effective coverage also varies according to the time of day and the season of the year. A NDB is classed according to its power output and usage: 1. The Low power radio beacon has a power of less than 50 watts (W), 2. The Medium power radio beacon has a power of 50 W up to 2,000 W; 3. The High power radio beacon has a power output of 2,000 W or more.
Navigation is defined as the science of getting from one place to another by continually determining position, course, and distance covered. Of all the tasks the pilot has to perform during a flight, navigation should be the least of concerns. Fortunately, today's pilot can rely on NAVigational AIDS. NAVAIDS relieve the pilot of the navigation workload by providing navigational data. NAVAIDS range from satellite positioning systems such asGlobal Positioning Systems (GPS), to sophisticated Very high frequency Omni Range (VOR), to the basic and most widely used NAVAID, the Automatic Direction Finder/Non-Directional Radio Beacon (ADF/NDB) systems.
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