Science: Common Complexity

Electronics offers a bewilderingly rich array of gadgets to guide aircraft. Some have serious faults; some are underdeveloped, too expensive or too heavy; some do not suit all types of aircraft or all types of pilots. The problem for Government committees, cooperating with civil and military airmen, is to select from this plethora a common system that will enable instrument-flying pilots to find any airport, avoid all obstacles and land safely on an invisible runway.

In July of 1947, Special Committee 31 of the President's Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics undertook the selection job. The Transition Phase built around electronic equipment that...

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