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    Re: Compass Adjustment - A Cautionary tale
    From: Jared Sherman
    Date: 2005 Jan 31, 22:58 -0500

    No, not "down". The weight is substantial compared to the amount of force
    the pole puts on the needle. You could look at this as being a dual-axis
    device, which responds to local gravitic field AND local magnetic field, and
    on this planet the gravitic field is far grosser. That ball may not be
    "level", it can even be inverted (if you can gravitize your ceiling) but
    the magnetic response is still unaffected as far as I can see. Have you ever
    had one hands-on? There's no "bearing" to bind, no needle to jam.  I don't
    see any way for an off-level magnetic pull to cause a problem, except in
    that the pole may be 'under' rather than 'at' the place the compass is
    pointing. Not a problem when we're only using the compass for 2-d
    navigation. Possibly a problem if you're planning on taking the REALLY
    direct route to China.
    << Or do aircraft simply carry gyros? >>
     Forget commercial aviation, think Piper Cub and bush pilots. Plain old
    "general aviation" with individual pleasure operators. They pretty much all
    still have a magnetic compass stuck at the top center of the windshield, for
    the simple reason that a mag compass is the most robust and failure-proof
    navigation instrument they can carry. Gyros are heavy and expensive, even
    today. And all the fancy electronics, well, , let's just say all the
    newer navigation equipment has far richer options for failure modes.

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