Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

So What Exactly is Turn and Bank?

Posted by on January 4, 2010 1 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog Tags :

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 of m0a.com

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).

Turn Coordinator

Turn Coordinator

Turn and Bank Indicator

Turn and Bank Indicator

Editor’s note: we’ve added links to articles about the instruments and two FAA handbooks to Jason’s response.

1 Comment

  1. Old Bob Siegfried on May 04, 2014

    Neither the Turn and Bank nor the Turn Coordinator will tell you the bank angle. The T&B will show only the rate of turn while the TC will respond to rate of roll and/or rate of turn. It is a rate instrument and not a position instrument.

    I feel that all Turn Coordinators should be removed from the pilot’s view.

    They are useful as a sensor for a low cost autopiolt but they are useless for getting information to the pilot.

    Rate of roll is only helpful in telling us a wing is dropping, but it does not tell us how far or how fast. The T&B always tells the truth as to how fast we are turning. As I said before, it is a RATE instrument, not a position instrument. The TC is also a rate instrument, but there is no way to discern whether it is showing rate of roll or rate of turn.

    Happy Skies,

    Old Bob


Leave a Reply