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    Gyroscope vs. Fluxgate compass
    From: Chuck Taylor
    Date: 2002 Feb 1, 11:45 US/PACIFIC

    Brian Whatcott mentioned gyroscopes.  When I served in US Navy ships a few
    decades ago, we used gyroscopes to steer by, with a compass as backup. One
    advantage was that the gyro always pointed to true north. Several gyro repeaters
    were slaved off of one master located in the bowels of the ship.  That way the
    gyro repeaters on the bridge wings always agreed with gyro repeater at the helm.
    The gyro itself was massive in size and I'm sure it was quite expensive.
    When I learned to fly small airplanes, they all had gyros.  If I recall
    correctly, power came from a simple air turbine, which would spin up when you
    started the engine.  Part of the check list for takeoff was to align the heading
    of the gyro with the direction of the runway. Once aligned, it stayed aligned
    for the duration of the flight.
    The cost of many things technological has come down quite drastically over the
    years.  Has anyone heard of an attempt to design/build a gyroscope suitable for
    steering a relatively small boat for a reasonable price (maybe a few hundred US
    dollars)?  Is such a thing feasible?
    Chuck Taylor
     47d 55.161' N
    122d 11.176' W

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