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The Heading Indicator, also known as the Directional Gyro is similar to a magnetic compass to indicate the direction the aircraft is flying. It is designed as a mechanical instrument with a rotating gyro. A small aircraft is centered on the face of instrument, while the rotor turns in a vertical plane when the aircraft is in a turn.

There are numerous errors with heading indicator, which makes precision turns to heading and straight flight difficult. Another error of the indicator is that it may indicate a heading error as much as 15° every hour. This is due to the gyro being oriented in space, and the Earth rotates in space at a rate of 15° an hour.

Instrument check

During a turn while taxing the heading indicator should indicate a turn in the direction of the tune being made.


Indicates a heading error as much as 15° every hour. It is recommended to reset the Heading Indicator about every 15 minutes.


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