So What Exactly is Turn and Bank?
James asks the following question:
During some ground time my CFI talked briefly about TURN and BANK being different but combined. Is there any readings or thoughts as to the clarification on these terms/manuvers?
Jason Schappert was named AOPA's Top Colligiate Flight Instructor in 2008 and is the editor of MzeroA.com
Awesome question James! Turn and bank are concepts that many people just assume are the same, because they really do go hand in hand. However, the concept behind each is actually quite different.
Turn specifically refers to the “rate” of a turn while bank refers to the “lateral attitude” or roll of an airplane.
For example we know a standard rate turn is 3° per second, the reason why a 180° turn out of the clouds takes 1 minute at standard rate. This requires a bank angle that varies based on airspeed.
Part of this misconception comes from before the turn coordinator came along. The previous instrument, the turn and bank indicator, simply displayed your “rate” of turn. Bank was never displayed on the face of the instrument and the only place you can truly determine your bank in degrees is the attitude indicator.
For more reading, check out the Airplane Flying Handbook (Chapter 3) and the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (Chapter 7).
Editor’s note: we’ve added links to articles about the instruments and two FAA handbooks to Jason’s response.
Turn and Bank Indicator