Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Ground & Other Ops Forums > Questions
Reload this Page >

Difference between "course" and "track"

Questions If you are a professional pilot or your work involves professional aviation please use this forum for questions. Enthusiasts, please use the 'Spectators Balcony' forum.

Difference between "course" and "track"

Old 6th Jan 2018, 17:05
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Mordor
Posts: 281
Difference between "course" and "track"

Hi guys,

I am about to give some classes in Navigation and while preparing, I have noticed I don't really know the difference between "course" and "track". Could anyone help me out?
Sidestick_n_Rudder is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2018, 17:30
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: yyz
Posts: 1
From porune 2010

In language terms there might be no difference, I don't know.

In aviation there is a big difference.

Track is the real path (vector) the aircraft is flying. Heading plus/minus WCA (wind correction angle) is track.

Course is defined as a line from a VOR. There are courses inbound and outbound (sometimes referred as radial). Where I come from, the word course always implies from/to a VOR (sometimes an NDB, but then it's rather a QDM/QDR).

There might be different definitions in aviation in different regions of the world. I've flown in Europe, Asia, Africa, USA and Australia, and it's always been the same (well, more or less...)

Also explained here http://aviation.stackexchange.com/qu...ding/7998#7998

Last edited by rigpiggy; 6th Jan 2018 at 17:31. Reason: Addn
rigpiggy is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2018, 17:36
  #3 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Mordor
Posts: 281
Ok, Thanks. English is not my native language, hence the confusion.

Got it, though
Sidestick_n_Rudder is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2018, 17:45
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: France / UK
Age: 64
Posts: 915
Caution if you happen to read any old British manuals from WW2 days: “course” means “heading”.
eckhard is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2018, 20:21
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Mordor
Posts: 281
Same in my native language. I wanted to explain it to students and then found out I didn't know the difference between "course" and "track"
Sidestick_n_Rudder is offline  
Old 6th Jan 2018, 23:02
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 2,779
Definitions from RAAF Publication 95, August 1942.

Course: The course of an aircraft in flight is the horizontal angle from the meridian passing through the aircraft to its longitudinal axis. Thus the course always indicates the direction relative to the meridian in which the aircraft is heading. Except when there is no wind or a wind directly ahead or astern the course of the aircraft is not the direction in relation to the ground along which it travels.

Track: The track of an aircraft is the horizontal angle from the meridian passing through the aircraft to a line representing the direction in relation to the ground along which it flies.

As eckhard cites, course means heading.
megan is offline  
Old 7th Jan 2018, 00:29
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Australia
Age: 80
Posts: 24
Course is what you steered, track is where you went.
reefrat is offline  
Old 7th Jan 2018, 13:00
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: last time I looked I was still here.
Posts: 4,510
I have an odd feeling (tried sitting down for a few moments, but it persisted) that course = HDG comes from our sailor brethren. Much of early aviation terminology passed over from the nautical fraternity.
IMHO, in today's modern era Rigpiggy has it. HDG is sometimes called, in old RAF speak, a Steer (ships again) is also a HDG, but a track is the line drawn on the ground by a vertical pointer extending from the a/c.
RAT 5 is offline  
Old 7th Jan 2018, 13:34
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: On the Beach
Posts: 3,212
Course is the great circle route between two points; waypoints for RNAV, VORs for the old system. Track is what the pilot (or autopilot) has to do to maintain that course.
aterpster is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.