New Navigation Computer Solves Flight Problems (Aug, 1937)

Navigation Computers have progressed a wee bit since this was published.

New Navigation Computer Solves Flight Problems

SIMPLIFYING aerial navigation problems

to a point never before possible, an entirely new type navigation computer has been perfected by engineers and adopted as standard equipment by many pilots on the nationwide air travel systems.

Designed to provide an immediate answer to navigation questions the pilot must face during the course of a flight, the new instrument combines features of a slide rule with a series of special scales in the form of three celluloid discs which rotate around a common center.

By means of this instrument the pilot may determine immediately the true air speed of the plane, the compass course which he must follow, gasoline consumption and the flying time between terminals. It can also be used to calculate wind direction and velocity while the plane is in flight, allowing the pilot to keep an accurate check of upper air information provided at the beginning of the flight.

  1. Richard says: December 12, 201110:47 am

    It looks like an E6-B, or at least something very similar to one. Basically a circular slide rule, with a few special scales for problems of interest to aviators, like conversion between true and indicated airspeed depending on altitude.

    These things are still made, and still used by pilots. For things like calculating how much fuel you’ll need and figuring an ETA, two significant figures are plenty enough, and the slide rule can actually be faster to operate than a digital calculator. Nothing beats it for reliability.……

  2. Kosher Ham says: December 12, 201111:38 am

    I’ll bet that it is a predecessor to the the E6B; the E6B also has plotting stuff on the other side unit to help compensate for wind. Even the introduction of pocket calculators have not caused the E6B to go extinct. However, I look forward to knee mounted tablet computers as a pilot’s aid for general aviation. The airlines use the tablet computers as an electronic flight bag.

  3. John Savard says: December 12, 201112:06 pm

    My guess is that it’s actually a later “improved” version of the E-6B.

    The E-6B, in addition to having a conventional circular slide rule for doing conversions and for compensating for air pressure changes, was a tool to do vector addition for dead reckoning navigation. So there was a clear plastic disk that one could write on with an erasable marker, which rotated over a slide marked with a polar-coordinate graph.

    One particular version avoided having a slide by curving it around to fit on a rotating disk. That was the “Jensen Aircraft Computer”. This could be what this article is about.

  4. John Savard says: December 12, 201112:12 pm

    I found a picture of one on the web:


    has it as an ‘ISRM American Airlines Navagational Computer Type “B”‘; a direct link to an image is


  5. TimE says: December 12, 20113:45 pm

    Looks like the 1937 equivalent of what’s now sold as the CR-55 flight computer. In many ways they’re better than electronic computers.

  6. Darren says: December 12, 20114:37 pm

    On the surface the article talks about a computer and the pilot looks like he’s holding a smaller version of a CD. For 1937 that would be impressive.

  7. bandontherun says: December 12, 20115:51 pm

    Call the lawyers….. He’s burned an illegal CD probably WINGS

  8. Scott B. says: December 13, 20119:21 am

    The E-6B is so useful and far ahead of its time that it will still be used in the 23rd Century:…

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