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Latitude and Longitude (Meridians and Parallels) – Measurement of Direction

in Navigation

By using the meridians, direction from one point to another can be measured in degrees, in a clockwise direction from true north. To indicate a course to be followed in flight, draw a line on the chart from the point of departure to the destination and measure the angle which this line forms with a meridian. Direction is expressed in degrees, as shown by the compass rose in Figure 15-6.

Figure 15-6. Compass rose.

Figure 15-6. Compass rose.

Because meridians converge toward the poles, course measurement should be taken at a meridian near the midpoint of the course rather than at the point of departure. The course measured on the chart is known as the true course (TC). This is the direction measured by reference to a meridian or true north. It is the direction of intended flight as measured in degrees clockwise from true north.

As shown in Figure 15-7, the direction from A to B would be a true course of 065°, whereas the return trip (called the reciprocal) would be a true course of 245°.

Figure 15-7. Courses are determined by reference to meridians on aeronautical charts.

Figure 15-7. Courses are determined by reference to meridians on aeronautical charts.

The true heading (TH) is the direction in which the nose of the aircraft points during a flight when measured in degrees clockwise from true north. Usually, it is necessary to head the aircraft in a direction slightly different from the true course to offset the effect of wind. Consequently, numerical value of the true heading may not correspond with that of the true course. This is discussed more fully in subsequent sections in this chapter. For the purpose of this discussion, assume a no-wind condition exists under which heading and course would coincide. Thus, for a true course of 065°, the true heading would be 065°. To use the compass accurately, however, corrections must be made for magnetic variation and compass deviation.

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