horizontal force instrument
horizontal force instrument[‚här·ə′zänt·əl ¦fōrs ′in·strə·mənt]
An instrument used to make a comparison between the intensity of the horizontal component of the earth's magnetic field and the magnetic field at the compass location on board a craft; basically, it consists of a magnetized needle pivoted in a horizontal plane, as a dry-card compass; it settles in some position which indicates the direction of the resultant magnetic field; if the needle is started swinging, it damps down with a certain period of oscillation dependent upon the strength of the magnetic field. Also known as horizontal vibrating needle.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.