|WikiProject Transport / Maritime||(Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)|
I doubt if the definition is precise enough
Course is the intended path of an airplane over the ground; or the direction of a line drawn on a chart representing the intended airplane path, expressed as the angle measured from a specific reference datum clockwise from 0° through 360° to the line. The reference can be true north or magnetic north and called true course or magnetic course respectively. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Natasha2006 (talk • contribs) 17:41, 25 April 2007 (UTC).
The differences in interpretation of "course" are noted in the Pilot Training Manual of a major European airline, which recommends that the term be avoided because it has different meanings depending on the part of the world one is in. It does not appear in ICAO documentation, which only defines track and heading.
In the past it was simple - the vectors course/true airspeed, wind direction/wind-speed, and track/gound-speed made up the triangle of velocities used in dead reckoning navigation and illustrated in the <RAF Pilots Flying Manual AP 129 1941 edition>.
However in 1967 this illustration was changed to show "required rack", "track made good", and "heading". The term course disappeared <RAF AP 1234 2nd Edition 1967>).
For an idea of the confusion over this term see these:
<GARMIN Internet site: (2009)> Course - The direction from the beginning landmark of a course to its destination (measured in degrees, radians, or mils), or the direction from a route waypoint to the next waypoint in the route segment. Track - Your current direction of travel relative to a ground position (same as Course Over Ground). [too many courses!!]
<AMERICAN PRACTICAL NAVIGATOR (HYDROGRAPHIC DEPARTMENT, US NAVY, BOWDITCH (1938)> Course - the angle which the centreline of the vessel makes with the meridian [looks more like heading, they do not mention compass correction!!]
<MATHEMATICS AND AIR NAVIGATION (1941) H. T. H. Piaggio, The Mathematical Gazette, Vol. 25, No. 264 (May, 1941), pp. 66-71> The drift is the difference between the course and the track. [correct, but hardly a definition of course!!]