Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.
area navigation[ēr·ē·ə ‚nav·ə′gā·shən]
An aircraft navigation system in which radial and distance information from a Vortac station or distance information from two or more Vortacs is used to fix aircraft position, so that navigation is not restricted to airways or direct routes between stations. Abbreviated RNAV.
area navigation (RNAV)
A method of navigation that permits aircraft operation on any desired flight path within the coverage of station-referenced navigation aids or within the limits of the capability of self-contained aids, or a combination of these (ICAO). RNAV equipment can compute the airplane position and actual track and ground speed and then provide meaningful information relative to a route of flight selected by the pilot. Typical equipment will provide the pilot with distance, time, bearing, and cross-track error relative to the selected “To” or “active” waypoint and the selected route. Present-day RNAV include INS (inertial navigation system), LORAN (long-range navigation), VOR/DME (very high frequency omnidirectional radio-range/distance-measuring equipment), and GPS (global positioning system) systems. Modern multisensor systems can integrate one or more of these systems to provide a more accurate and reliable navigation system. All these systems have different levels of performance. Area navigational equipment can thus satisfy different levels of performance (RNP, or required navigational performance) and in this manner provide enhanced navigational capability.