U.S. Naval Academy


Just A Few Joseph Portney's Projects
Strategic Air Command AC-130 Gunship "Surprise Package"
Air Force 1 B-47  





Joseph Portney



After growing up in Los Angeles, Portney joined the US Navy in the radio technician program in WWII. Upon discharge, he entered UCLA and then received an appointment to the US Naval Academy where he graduated in 1952, received a commission in the United States Air Force and began a 50-year career in navigation. After eight years of active duty as a B-26 and B-47 navigator in the Tactical and Strategic Air Commands, he left the Air Force for a 38-year career as an engineer and advanced programs manager at Litton Guidance and Control Systems. As the navigator-engineer in three historic firsts in inertial technology, he made flights over the North Pole and led teams that designed and installed inertial navigation systems for Air Force One, KC-135 Speckled Trout and the AC-130A gunships. He was editor of an avionics newsletter, wrote numerous papers and spoke many times on navigation to professional societies and universities. Portney created Earthgrids and Earthshapes that became award winning Pilots' and Navigators' Calendar-Atlas'. Earthshapes was published for classrooms world-wide and appeared on TV and web sites being viewed by tens of millions over the years. He was a trustee of the Naval Academy Alumni Association. 

 Portney has three invention disclosures relating to navigation, served as president of The Institute of Navigation, received their Weems Award for continuing contributions to the art and science of Navigation and created "Portneys Ponderables" (a series of navigation puzzles) for the Litton GCS website that was made into a book. He retired in 1998 as manager of advanced programs and founded Navsense, a navigation consulting company, and Navworld (Navworld.com). He is married to Ina and has two sons: a contractor and accountant.








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