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Compass Swing

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2009 9:21 am
by Morph

what is the specific requirement around the compass swing?

1. who can do it
2. how often
3. does the deviation card need to be signed at the back and by who

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:28 pm
by Arnulf
Where will you get a landing compass to do the swing?

Commercial pilots could do a compass swing. Used to be like that,this could have changed however.

Be aware, that most of the compasses that weight shift microlights are fitted with cannot be swung. So all you really can do, is to check the headings, and fill in a correction card. I would with the greatest pleasure bring happiness to the inspectors regarding a compass correction card, if I can lay my hands on a landing compass.


Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:49 pm
by Arnulf
This is according to the CATS. Possibly other rules for NTCA.

1. Compass swing requirements
(1) All compasses fitted to South African registered aircraft must be
swung as follows:
(a) On installation.
(b) At 12 monthly intervals thereafter: Provided that where other
independent direction-indicating systems are in use, the interval
may be extended to 24 months. In such a case, the compass(es)
shall be checked during each flight against such directingindicating
system. Should deviation exceed 5º, the compass shall
be swung.
[Note: Whilst under the most favourable conditions an annual check is sufficient, it
is recommended that owners of aircraft carry out a check swing every six months.]
(c) Before a newly registered aircraft is placed into service in the
(d) Immediately after material or equipment that may effect the
compass is installed, removed or replaced.
(e) After an aircraft has been struck by lightning.
(f) After each engine change, except where it has been established
that non-compliance with this requirement will not affect the
compass readings. The Commissioner must be advised accordingly.
(g) In the case of “cargo only” aircraft, whenever cargo which is
likely to affect the compass reading is carried. In such cases a
check must be made on the cardinal headings and headings to
be flown and a temporary deviation card installed. The temporary
card must be replaced when such cargo is unloaded.
(h) In the case of any primary compass, the compass swing shall be
carried out with all common electrical equipment “N”.
(i) In the case of any stand-by compass, the compass swing shall be
carried out with all electrical equipment “FF”.
2. Deviation cards
(1) A deviation card must be installed on or in close proximity to each
compass or, for remote-reading compasses, the main indicator or
repeaters and must contain the following information:
(a) The readings at intervals not greater than 45 degrees.
(b) Whether the compass was swung with electrical equipment
switched on or off as applicable. The space marked A as shown
on the examples of the deviation cards referred to in subparagraph
(f) below, may be used for this purpose.

[Note: Under certain conditions radio contact must be maintained with one aeronautical
station at all times and if the radio receiver affects the compass, it will be
necessary to install a card which will indicate the readings with such receiver
switched on.]
(c) The signature and licence number of the person responsible for
the swing and the date it was carried out.
(d) After a magnetic compass has been compensated the reading
must be such that the residual deviation in level flight does not
exceed 5 degrees on any heading.
(e) Remote-reading compasses must be adjusted to obtain minimum
deviations, but where the construction of the compasses is such
that all deviation can be adjusted for, no deviation card will be
(f) The compass deviation card must be completed in a manner
similar to the examples shown below:
Aircraft: Electrical equipment ON/OFF *
FOR 000 045 090 135 180 225 270 315
STEER 001 046 090 134 179 225 272 316
Aircraft: Electrical equipment ON/OFF *
000 001 180 179
045 046 225 225
090 090 270 272
135 134 315 316
* delete as applicable.
(g) Deviation cards must be placed in holders provided for this purpose.
3. Logbook entries
The date on which the compass was swung must be entered in the airframe
logbook and certified by an appropriately licensed and rated aircraft
maintenance engineer, or the holder of a commercial pilot or airline
transport pilot licence.
4. Compass swing areas and equipment
(1) Before any compass is swung it must be established that the swinging
area is free from unwanted magnetic effects and that the landing
compass is serviceable.
(2) Where the landing compass is replaced by a permanent base it must
be borne in mind that the magnetic north on the base is not a fixed5. Qualifying experience for compensation of compasses
(1) In terms of SA-CATS-AMEL Part 66.02.4 (13) and (14), applicants for
the issue or addition to a licence under Category “X” (Compasses)
shall have had recent general practical experience satisfactory to the
(2) In the pursuance of this technical standard the minimum practical
experience acceptable to the Commissioner shall consist of the satisfactory
carrying out of the compensation in aircraft, including the
compilation of the final deviation cards, of a least three compasses of
the type on which the applicant desires to be licensed. Such experience
shall have been gained during the six months immediately preceding
the application for the issue of or addition to a licence.
(3) Compensation of compasses for the required practical experience is
to be done under the supervision of the holders of appropriately
rated aircraft maintenance engineers, commercial pilots or airline
transport pilot licences.
(4) Application for the issue of or addition to a licence under Category
“X” for the compensation of compasses in aircraft must be accompanied
by certificates from the persons supervising the compensations
done for the required practical experience. Such certificates must
indicate whether or not the compensations, including the compilation
of the final deviation card, were satisfactorily carried out and also indicate
the dates and aircraft registrations on which the compensations
were made.
point but is a point which moves due to local magnetic variations.
The magnetic bearings of the compass base must therefore be
checked at periods not exceeding 4 years.

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2009 9:37 pm
by kloot piloot
Hi Goffel,
On 17 Feb. 2009 allenmack wrote, and Morph responded (in blue):

"- You must have a compass. This matter is under deliberation with the CAA by MISASA who is seeking an exemption for microlights re having an annual compass swing certification done. A GPS may be acceptable as a compass - again this is being deliberated. - Yes"

What is the situation currently with regards to trikes ?


Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:28 am
by lamercyfly
Hi folk.

Any news on this deliberation?


Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:00 am
by Goffel
Hi.....sorry for my late answer, but I have been unable to log in since NOV.

The compass saga ON A TRIKE is a RUMOUR........U have to have one.

Now I would like to ask a do you read a compass on a trike....(I have only done one flight on a trike, got terribly airsick and swore blind never again).

Have to admit it was a great flight though.


Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:11 pm
by lamercyfly
Hi Folk.

When I took delivery of my first Safari Trike, and flew it from Springs back down to La Mercy, I had no GPS. Just the compass. I had not flown the Jhg/Dbn route in many, many years, and never in a microlight. This was about 10 years ago.

I used that compass, PLUS LOTS OF COMMON SENSE, and Standerton came out on my nose, as did Newscastle and Greytown thereafter.

But, now, after 4 000 hours of microlight flying, I can tell you, and ANYONE, that a compass on a microlight (WCM), is absolute bollocks. Most folk only fly around their local area, and if some-one (or a bunch of pals) goes on a little flight outside of their 'home-zone', it is so well planned and EVERYONE has a GPS with new batteries and 12V power.

I promise you, not once during my flight from Ballito to Omaruru in Northern Namibia in Oct 2009, or in my numerous flights from Durban around South Africa in various microlights, do I even give the compass a cursory glance. I DON'T USE IT! I DON'T NEED IT! It is excess, superflous baggage!(where's the spellcheck in this program:)

To subject microlight owners to the rigours of certified aircraft operations compass requirements is just another short sighted uneducated requirement.

But, with the way things get done by our representative bodies, without us mere mortals having a clue that these things are being done............ who knows, maybe some-one is punting to have the compass requirements lifted for WCM and CCM's....... At the very least have it lifted for local flights!

But for sure, the law only requries a compass for a cross country flight, which is defined as a flight in excess of 20Nm radius from point of departure. So, quite frankly, if I am flying around Jozies, and I land at Panorama, after coming from Aviators, and I am accosted by an inspector, I will simply tell the inspector that I have just come from I don't need a compass....

Really guys, I wrote some where earlier, about how Annie and I had a WCM grounded by an inspector at a School Renewal Inspection when we owned La Mercy. It was grounded because it had NO compass fitted. I simply wrote a letter to the CAA, pointing out the law, and the grounding was withdrawn, with the stipulation that this particular trike was only to be used for circuit and GFA training.........So there, I have told members of this group this snippet of news once before, and it's free. That's what this group is for, is it not. Sharing stories and information. I assure you, that neither CAA nor RAASA can deny you an authority to fly because you don't have a compass on your plane. And by the way, that law about compasses and cross countries, is NOT just for microlights. It is Aviation Law....


Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:58 pm
by Goffel
We all know the laws were written when the old toppies started flying,long before there was any thought of GPS, let alone the manufacturing of one.......but unfortunately if the law requires one, then one has to carry, or adhere to what the law requires, no matter how dilly it sounds.

Where this covers you, should you have an accident and the passangers lawyer picks up on that you did not comply to the law and to top things the insurance reputes your claim.

There are many laws pertaining to microlights that I personally dont agree with AND with YOUR (microlighters), help, we can sit and thrash them out.

As for the compass on a trike.....let MISASA write a letter asking for an exemption.........nothing is impossible.

But if I do a ramp on your aircraft and you tell me you have just come from circus, I certainly dont want to be around when your wife gets hold of you and klaps, especially since that hot little trapeeze artist who wears the polka dot leotard is still performing.(one thing bull-s?tting me, but another thing explaining to your wife).. (^^) .

But on a serious note, we will get things sorted.
Goffel... (**)

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:34 am
by lamercyfly
Ja Goffel......:)

But remember, trapeze artists just swing by............. they leave no traces:)

But, back to important matters boet, the law states, "20Nm radius from point of departure".. and we all know that point of departure is the past point of take-off 'after a full stop landing'....... so, I will merrily fly round around jozies, all day Saturday and Sunday, kuiering everywhere and sleeping over at Circus, and NEVER will I do more than 20Nm/22miles/35km (in a straight line) without dropping in at some airfield for a full stop landing.

No ja, it's your call .

Cheers, over and out on this subject.

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 1:09 pm
by Goffel
Spoke with the powers of might here regarding WEIGHT - SHIFT microlights and a compass.

After an informal discussion on the topic, it was decided that I approach the relevant people to apply for an exemption for WEIGHT - SHIFT microlights to be exempt from carrying a compass.

Once I have approached such, I will post what their reaction is/was and the direction we could be going.

Hope this satisfies some.

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:03 pm
by Morph
Thanks Goffel,

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:13 am
by Cloud Warrior
Finally some sanity prevails!

This is an archaic requirement for an aircraft like a trike given all the hand held electronic navigation gadgets available nowadays which are much more accurate than those crappy cheap compasses that manufacturers fit to their trikes just to make them legal.

And please don't lecture me about what happens if the satellites stop working or some other twaddle like that. When the US of A switches off the GPS satellites you will most likely have much bigger things to worry about than whether you have a compass fitted to your trike or not.

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:18 am
by gertcoetzee
I have a compass, in my sidebag - does it count? It was mounted on the vertiical bar right when I bought the trike from SoloWings. I figured when I have a mishap, I will be killed by a compass to the frontal lobe, so into the bag it went. Still legal though, the law does not stipulate where is must be mounted?

Apart from this, maybe I just don't get this whole navigation business. Let's say I took of from Unknown International to Little Known Local, and before taking off I saw the track is 90 degrees, taking into consideration wind. Half an hour later I am lost. What is the first thing you do? You take out the map to see what you can recognise and then plot the new track. Try taking out that map on a trike and soon you will have a map through the prop. Or maybe the map blows into your face, you fly into something hard due to the fact that your vision is now a bit impaired. Or maybe you just cannot open a A3 size paper when flying a trike. Maybe you should rather just land somewhere and ask a local.

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:03 am
by Cloud Warrior
Where have you ever heard of a male pilot asking for directions?

Re: Compass Swing

Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 10:12 am
by lamercyfly
Now this thread is making sense.. I like it :lol:

Makes me laugh, and that's good.