# FAQ: When To Use Magnetic And True In Aviation?

## What is the difference between true and magnetic?

What’s up with Magnetic North vs True North? “ True north” is the northern axis of rotation of the Earth. It is the point where the lines of longitude converge on maps. “ Magnetic north” is the point on the Earth’s surface where its magnetic field points directly downwards.

## Do aircraft use magnetic or true north?

Most large aircraft use inertial reference units and flight management systems that complete calculations using True North and add magnetic variation values from tables to display information to pilots.

## What is the difference between true course and magnetic course?

Magnetic heading is your direction relative to magnetic north, read from your magnetic compass. True heading is your direction relative to true north, or the geographic north pole. The difference is due to the magnetic north pole and geographic north pole being hundreds of miles apart.

## Do you fly magnetic heading or magnetic course?

Magnetic Course: True course corrected for magnetic variation. Magnetic Heading: True heading corrected for magnetic variation. You can determine the magnetic variation from a sectional map. True Course: The aircraft’s course over the ground relative to true north.

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## Are VORS true or magnetic?

VOR degrees are magnetic, not true, so you can read your magnetic course for that location right from the VOR rose. Again, the difference between the true course you’ve drawn on your chart and the magnetic course that runs through the VOR rose is the magnetic variation.

## Do magnets work underwater?

Water is almost completely non-magnetic, so magnets work underwater the same as they do in air or in a vacuum. Magnets underwater work like they do above ground—if they find something they’re attracted to, the force between them pulls them together.

## Does GPS use true north or magnetic north?

The GPS receiver natively reads in true north, but can elegantly calculate magnetic north based on its true position and data tables; the unit can then calculate the current location and direction of the north magnetic pole and (potentially) any local variations, if the GPS is set to use magnetic compass readings.

## Why does aviation use magnetic north?

The use of magnetic north dates back to the earliest days of flight. As soon as aircraft were developed, a heading reference system was required. And the fragile nature of the early aircraft meant that the system needed to be small, lightweight and simple. “Nothing is more simple than a magnetic compass,” says MacKay.

## What is the difference between magnetic heading and compass heading called?

A pilot can measure the direction between two points to create a ‘track’ or ‘course’ to fly in degrees true. Magnetic North is where the compass points – which is not actually the North Pole. The angular difference between True and Magnetic north is called Magnetic Variation.

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## What are the 6 basic flight instruments?

These six basic flight instruments are the following:

• Altimeter (Pitot Static System)
• Airspeed Indicator (Pitot Static System)
• Vertical Speed Indicator (Pitot Static System)
• Attitude Indicator (Gyroscopic System)
• Heading Indicator (Gyroscopic System)
• Turn Coordinator (Gyroscopic System)

## How do you calculate headings?

Heading is typically based on compass directions, so 0° (or 360°) indicates a direction toward true North, 90° indicates a direction toward true East, 180° is true South, and 270° is true West.