Follow assigned heading or track the heading?

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by LifeAsBen, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. LifeAsBen

    LifeAsBen Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    28
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    LifeAsBen
    I'm prepping for the IR check ride and the 172 I regularly fly has a wild DG, it has to be reset to the compass every 5 mins. The DG is so unreliable that when given a heading I track the heading on the GPS instead of holding the heading on the DG. Even with a working DG you could have a wide spread between your track and your heading in a cross wind.

    That's a long way to ask: when flying IFR do you follow the assigned heading or track the assigned heading?

    My gut says fly the assigned heading and ATC will vector to compensate for wind.
     
  2. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    16,887
    Location:
    Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    FLY the assigned heading. Yes ATC will compensate for the wind.
     
    Radar Contact and LifeAsBen like this.
  3. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,243
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    Fly the heading, not the track, and get your DG overhauled.
     
    Ravioli and LifeAsBen like this.
  4. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    13,281
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Now offering reverse discounts.
    +1 to getting the DG fixed... cost cheep to the value it brings for IFR Flying.
     
    LifeAsBen likes this.
  5. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,926
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Heading. That’s why they say “fly HEADING XXX,” not “fly track XXX.”
     
  6. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Uncle Jesse
    Glad this topic came up. A guy a regularly fly (really good pilot) with would swear they wanted to you fly the track (aka what the GPS said). I would argue they want you to fly the heading, it's their job to factor in the wind. Feel like I am p*ssing into the "wind" with this argument. Glad to hear yall are on the same page.
     
  7. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,926
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Has your friend ever gotten an ATC instruction that said, “fly track XXX.”? It’s amazing that some people still don’t get this.
     
    LifeAsBen and KA550 like this.
  8. Larry in TN

    Larry in TN Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    767
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Larry in TN
    FAA Pilot/Controller Glossary:

    FLY HEADING (DEGREES)− Informs the pilot of the heading he/she should fly. The pilot may have to turn to, or continue on, a specific compass direction in order to comply with the instructions. The pilot is expected to turn in the shorter direction to the heading unless otherwise instructed by ATC.
     
    KA550 and mscard88 like this.
  9. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Lawrence, KS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    labbadabba
    Fly a GPS track in a stiff crosswind after being given a heading and ATC will start asking you WTF you're doing. Stuff like, Skyhawk N12345 state present heading...
     
  10. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 25, 2006
    Messages:
    7,334
    Location:
    Chapel Hill NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    Let' see. ATC tells you to "fly heading..." Do you

    (a) read the dial in front of you and make your turn

    or

    (b) read the OAT, tune the Kollsman to 29.92 to get pressure altitude, whip out your E6B, convert IAS to TAS, ask to go off frequency for a minute, call Flight Service for the winds aloft, turn the E6B over, do the wind triangle, figure out the wind correction angle, apply it to the number ATC gave you 5-10 minutes earlier and then make your turn.

    Yes, GPS allows one to fly a track, but ATC heading instructions are still based on a system where some might not have one.
     
  11. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,963
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    I flew the early (pre GPS) 767. It was an IRU/DME/DME navigator. It wanted to fly track after lift off. We had to override the primary mode in a stiff crosswind to give ATC what they expected: heading.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  12. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    8,981
    Location:
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Greg Bockelman
    I have. Not often, but more than once.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  13. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,926
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    In the US or overseas?
     
  14. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,963
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    Unless an IFP or controller states "heading," a direct clearance in the RNAV world is an implicit track clearance.
     
  15. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,243
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    This discussion does kind of make me wonder if ATC will ever assign tracks versus headings, at least in aircraft capable of determining track.

    Occasionally while I’m cruising along I’ll get “turn left 20 degrees for traffic”. In that case, I turn to a ground track 20 degrees left of my current ground track. Depending on winds aloft, I might be a degree or two off, but it’s close enough for ATC.
     
  16. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    746
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Uncle Jesse
    I sure haven't, I always get "fly heading xxx", so therefore, I just fly that heading. And I thought it was pretty simple myself but apparently not....
     
    jordane93 likes this.
  17. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    Messages:
    843
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kevin
    Not likely because when blending the capable and not there is no legal way to apply divergence. When they issue you turn 20 left for traffic, they are expecting 20 left of your heading but if you turn 20 left of your track and its only a degree or two difference, there is no way for us to see that on the scope.
     
  18. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Messages:
    3,266
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    MauleSkinner
    Never took me that long...I'm so proficient with my whiz wheel that t could get that all done while replying to the ATC instruction! (Of course, I had the wind plotted on my enroute chart during my briefing.)

    :rolleyes:
     
  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,782
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Yeah. If you're flying the track, which you shouldn't be, for gawds sake dont change horses in the middle of the stream and decide to go compass all of a sudden.
     
  20. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 11, 2010
    Messages:
    14,186
    Location:
    Oakland, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Eight Balla
    What was the phraseology? I've gotten "fly direct XXX" or "track XXX radial" but I don't think I've ever been asked to fly a specific compass track.
     
  21. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,243
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    Let me be clear, I’m flying a track when following my own navigation, i.e. not on vectors. Anyone who’s using GPS for nav is doing the same.
     
  22. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    8,511
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Tracks would be awesome for radar approaches. One turn to final...done! :D
     
  23. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,782
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    Gotcha. I responded directly to @Radar Contact 's reply to your post. You clearly understand that you must turn 20 degrees. I was just reaffirming to do what you did. Sorry it sounded accusatory. If you make the 20 degree turn you are good. To take this further it's not unusual for a controller to say "turn 20 degrees left and 'say heading' when initiating a vector to an aircraft established on 'own nav.' He needs you 20 left now and doesn't want to waste time asking your heading, getting it, doing the math and then give you a heading. You of course will start to use 'headings' after completing the turn. Even the degree or two off you mentioned in high winds would be no problem here because you made the 20 degrees of turn. You didn't change from track to compass "DURING" the turn.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
    Brad Z likes this.
  24. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,243
    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Brad Z
    When a controller asks “say on course heading for XYZ”, how many people actually calculate the in course heading, taking into consideration winds aloft for the altitude your flying?

    I suspect that when someone answers with 214 degrees, the controller anticipates that being a course rather than a heading and plane accordingly. Usually, I suspect, they’re looking for a general direction to determine if they’ll have to vector you around stuff or hand you off to another sector.
     
  25. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    8,981
    Location:
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Greg Bockelman
    It was in the terminal area and the clearance was to fly a track. It's been a long time ago but IIRC it was a unique situation where he needed us on a specific track over the ground. I really don't remember the details but we did ask if he meant track or heading. And it may have been somewhere over seas.
     
  26. bcool

    bcool Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    St Charles, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bud
    A timely discussion for me. Yesterday while on an IFR flight, a controller vectored me to avoid activity in a MOA. At first, he said 'fly heading 090', but after a bit he said 'fly track 090'. It was quite windy, so I'm guessing it was easier on him to have me fly the track to get me where he wanted me since I was GPS equipped.
     
  27. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,926
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Interesting. Even when winds are strong I’ve always just gotten, “turn an additional XX degrees left/right.”
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  28. bcool

    bcool Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Messages:
    93
    Location:
    St Charles, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bud
    This was from a military controller, so maybe they do things differently :)
     
  29. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    May 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,782
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Luvflyin
    I've got asked exactly that same question a few times. The first time was not long after I had returned to flying after many years off and GPS was new to me. I was on a leg from Tallahasse KTLH to Picayune, MS KMJD. In between was a lot of SUA. I figured what he really wanted to know was exactly where the airplane was going. I answered "my course is 270, I'll set the DG and get back to you with the heading." Yeah, I was making a point. Dont remember exactly what he said but it was to the effect of 'I got what I need,' and I didn't get back to him with the heading. Same thing has happened a couple times since. Them mixing the words 'course' and 'heading' into the same phrase adds to the controversy. They should just ask for what they want.
     
  30. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    16,887
    Location:
    Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    Negative ghost rider! Same same, go by the same FAA Controller Handbook except for local procedures.
     
    Velocity173 likes this.
  31. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,076
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    Then there's always the people who want to fly the runway centerline when told to fly runway heading.
     
  32. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    7,926
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Which can be dangerous if they’re running parallel runways.
     
    unsafervguy likes this.
  33. Radar Contact

    Radar Contact Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2016
    Messages:
    843
    Location:
    Illinois
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Kevin
    You're correct with your thought. I usually just say, "say on course to your destination" as opposed to heading. It is just to short cut you and find out what next sector you are going to be traveling through so I can "apreq" it with them and get you going.
     
    Brad Z likes this.
  34. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2011
    Messages:
    989
    Location:
    Sw florida
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bob
    yea, do that off either the 1's or 28's coming out of SFO and see how that works out.....

    bob
     
  35. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2013
    Messages:
    178
    Location:
    Mid Tenn
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Busflyer
    The 767 EADI displays in track up mode but the Heading Select mode works just like any other airplane. Just dial in the runway heading, it might be off to one side in a strong crosswind but it is still tracking a heading whether it's using the IRU or GPS.
     
  36. aterpster

    aterpster Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,963
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    aterpster
    It's been a long time. We were trained to always use track mode except when a heading was specifically called for.
     
  37. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,684
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PPC
    Related question: you're flying with your DG showing a heading of 250, just as ATC requested. You notice you're off your expected track about 10 degrees to the right, so you check your DG against your compass. Sure enough, the DG is off by 10 degress. Then, before you can fix the DG, ATC gives you a new heading-- fly heading 240. Do you a) fix the DG and then follow the new heading ATC gives you (meaning you're going to overcorrect, or b) turn 10 degrees to the left, then fix your DG, and hold that heading, meaning you're actually flying 250 rather than 240?
     
  38. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2015
    Messages:
    16,887
    Location:
    Alabama
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    A

    If they want to adjust after that it they'll say so.
     
  39. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    8,981
    Location:
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Greg Bockelman
    Answer A is correct.
     
  40. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2007
    Messages:
    21,782
    Location:
    Paola, KS
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iBanYou
    +1 on replacing the DG.

    And honestly, on a 172, I'd look at the electronic retrofit options rather than overhauling the old steam gauge DG. I can't get rid of steam fast enough in the 414...