Heading Indicator vs Magnetic Compass - Let's play Pin the Tail on the Donkey Student Pilot - Basic Celestial Navigation
C172 — N64238 — North Perry Hollywood, FL > (practice area) — T/O, Stalls, Slow flt, Lost Procedures, Gusty Winds, Landing — 1.1hrs
1hr flight with lots of Stalls and basic maneuvers, but with a surprise...
My instructor knows well I'm from out of town, and not familiar with the terrain, regardless of how I studied the map and charts; it just doen't look the same from 2,500 ft. So on the way back, my instructor tells me to "close my eyes."
"What up with this??" I asked.
"Just close them and don't cheat by peeking." he asserted.
"Ok, fine; Hit me with your best shot." I yielded.
He put the plane in a gentle level turn for how long I wasn't sure (that being the drill).
After turning and turning for what seemed quite a while, he said "Ok. Open your eyes, and take us home."
Huh, "so where is home?" I said, feeling much more like the Donkey in this game.
"Just take us home..." he replied without further clarification.
Well, I knew we had to head south, so by the Heading Indicator it was the other way, I lifted the wing in preparation to clear the turn to the south... But wait a minute here! Something's just not right. And it wasn't right. Either the Earth just shifted its polarity, or someone moved the Sun to the wrong quadrant...
Doubtful the Sun was displaced and it should be drooping to the southwest about this hour, so the Heading Indicator HAD TO BE WRONG. Sure enough what I didn't know is that with my eyes closed the sneeky bastard messed up the Heading Indicator just to prove the point.
Again, those hours on Sim really paid off in spades. I quickly reconciled the Heading Indicator with the Magnetic Compass, and with the Sun in the correct quadrant, I gave my instructor a dirty look in silence as I corrected our heading quickly to where it should be and proceded south.
He was just slightly impressed as he admitted "Well, there's no fooling you, is there?"
"Not a chance, pal."
So utilize all you got; the sun, the compass, topographic layout of the land, etc.