We all know someone who can get lost on the way to the grocery store or have a hard time explaining routes to someone without referring to landmarks like “take a left at the big butterfly mural by City Hall” or “Take a right when you get to the old bus that looks like a jellybean.” Pilots are no different and they use landmarks or “navigational fixes” to navigate with.
Navigational fixes can be GPS-based coordinates or an object that is placed to the right or left of an aircraft so they know they’re following the correct flight route.
Fixes are comprised of five-letters and most of them have crazy names because they’re mostly an internal thing – Joe Schmoe Public isn’t going to be looking over their shoulders at the map, so they could be just about anything. Though we hear the FAA’s Office of Aeronautical Information Management often makes sure they’re not obscene or too dirty.
This map route shows a number of fixes on an approach to the Orlando International Airport with names like “HKUNA,” or “MTATA.” Other local fix names include JAZMN, JAFAR, POPYE, DAFIE, TINKR, TTIGR, and RFIKI. Obviously all references to Walt Disney World.
Click HERE and see if there’s a fix named after you.