Collection on Gyro Technology and Inertial Navigation

Collections of the University of Stuttgart

of the Faculty for Aerospace Engineering and Geodesy

To illustrate the operation principle of action of gyroscopes and for research work, a special instrument collection was established from 1961 onwards at the former Institute of Mechanics (later Institute A for Mechanics) of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Technical University of Stuttgart. It was founded by Prof. K. Magnus, continued by Prof. H. Sorg and is now in the care of the Chair of Flight Measurement Technology. In addition, daughter collections were established at the Technical University of Munich and the Johannes Kepler University Linz over time.

The three parts of the collection contain more than 300 objects and include most of the known types of gyroscopes for flight and ship navigation (gyro compass, heading gyro, gyro horizon, P- and I-rate gyros, etc.) as well as accelerometers of various types. In addition, there are complete inertial platforms. Other instruments for aircraft guidance such as compasses, altimeters, and variometers complete the exhibits.

Components of the instruments such as rotors, slip rings and encoders, as well as turntables for testing inertial sensors, are also present to supplement the exhibits. Many objects were taken from decommissioned aircraft and ships. Some of them have been cut open or disassembled as examples, while others are still in working order. Most of them are between 40 and 70 years old. This covers the development of mechanical gyroscopic instruments from the time of H. Anschütz-Kaempfe (1872-1931) and E. Sperry (1860-1939).

As part of the BMBF-funded project Gyrolog (FKZ 01UG1774X), all three parts of the collection were digitally recorded and made publicly accessible as of 2017.

Press release "A digital life for historical navigation devices"

Prof. Dr. Jörg Wagner
Chair of Flight Measurement Technology

Directional gyro Siemens LKu4


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