Magnetic Compass

Magnetic Compass

The magnetic compass is about as simple as an instrument gets.

A magnetized metal bar is balanced on a pivot point and points to north.

Attached to the magnetic bar is a scale that allows you to read the heading of the airplane.

A common aviation version of this places the scale in a container filled with fluid to help dampen out vibration and unwanted gyrations.

It sounds simple but it's what Charles Lindbergh used in 1927 to fly from New York to Paris.

Remember the question this chapter started with: What makes an airplane fly?

The answer is... money.

An isographic chart shows the magnetic variations in various parts of the United States.

This brings up other optional instruments that might or might not be installed in a sport plane.

These are the altitude indicator, turn coordinator, heading indicator, and vertical-speed indicator.

Money is not the only issue when it comes to having your sport plane equipped with more instrumentation.

It is important to remember that most general aviation aircraft must be lightweight.

These instruments and accessories add weight.

Aircraft Magnetic Compass Introduction (Video)