Carousel Navigation Unit, Commercial Airline


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

This is a non-working example of an inertial navigation system for commercial aircraft. It was prepared by the Delco Division of General Motors, the manufacturer, for display purposes. Using a set of gyroscopes, accelerometers, and associated electronics, the system could determine an aircraft's position with no reference to the outside world (i.e. no radio beams or stellar sightings), assuming it is initialized properly. Such devices were in common use in trans-oceanic flights when they were out of range of ground-based radio navigation systems.

Gift of the Delphi Corporation.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Physical Description

  • Rectangular case consisting of an inertial reference system using a set of small gimbaled gyroscopes, and a set of printed circuit boards that process the data from the gyros to give an aircraft's position.
  • Cover was removed prior to donation.

Credit Line

Gift of Delphi Electronics & Safety


Country of Origin

United States of America


  • Aluminum
  • Iron Alloy
  • Copper
  • Electronic Components
  • Plastics
  • Adhesive


3-D: 25.4 × 54.6 × 20.3cm, 18.7kg (10 in. × 1 ft. 9 1/2 in. × 8 in., 41.2lb.)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum



Related Topics