I wasn’t really planning on making this a three part series, but based on the response to the two first parts I feel the need to address some of the comments I have received and tidy up a few loose ends, because the big elephant is still in the room.
The DC-9 is equipped with the Sperry SP-50 Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS), which is a gyroscopically controlled electromechanical system. The DC-9 is an old school aircraft and the autopilot installed in this aircraft is very much old school too. If you are used to flying with modern autopilots, you will find that this autopilot works a bit differently than the other autopilots you may be familiar with.
What exactly is radio navigation? In short, radio navigation is the art of locating your position on the earth by use of radio waves. Radio waves can be used to find direction (bearing), distance (ranging) and also velocity to or from a station.