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Magnetic vs True Heading

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Aircraft Systems, General Aviation, Instrument Rating

What is the difference between Magnetic Heading and true Heading? How both are calculated in aircraft? What is wander angle in Heading calculation?

2 Answers



  1. Dave M on Dec 24, 2011

    Magnetic Heading is the direction that the aircraft is pointing in relation to Magnetic North.
    True Heading is the direction that the aircraft is pointing in relation to True North.
    Since True north (directly over the earth’s axis of rotation) and Magnetic north (somewhere over northern Canada) are not at the same place (magnetic north is, in fact, slowly moving over time), both headings often differ.To find out the difference at a particular location, look at the isogonic lines on your sectional (the purple dashed lines labeled 5°W, 3°E, etc…). They will indicate the magnetic deviation.
    So when you are in the aircraft, to get the Magnetic Heading, just read it off of the magnetic compass. To get the True Heading, simply take the reading from the magnetic compass and either add an easterly, or subtract a westerly, magnetic deviation.
    Not sure about the wander angle. 

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  2. Matthew Waugh on Dec 26, 2011

    I refer you to the Internet:
     
    http://www.oxts.com/default.asp?pageRef=38&category=10&faq=30
     
    I have no idea if that’s accurate.

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