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3 Answers

Why is there a Procedure Turn Maneuvering Area?

Asked by: 2149 views Instrument Rating

What is the purpose of the Procedure Turn Maneuvering Area?  It is much larger/longer than the allowed turn distance from the PT fix specified in the descent profile.

Asking it the other way around, since obstacle clearance is assured throughout the Primary Area, then why must the course reversal PT be performed in such a limited portion of the Primary Area? 

I just don't understand the purpose for the Maneuvering Area;  the maximum turn distance and the Maneuvering Area distance appear to conflict.

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3 Answers



  1. John D Collins on Jan 05, 2014

    The PT maneuvering area is designed to be larger than needed to make the PT course reversal. This is true of all airspace protection from obstacles and terrain. For example, in RNP specifications, the primary protected area is twice the width as represented by the RNP value, so with an RNP 1.0 specification, The protected airspace is +/- 2.0 NM, or 4.0 NM wide. Full scale deflection is +/- 1 NM. The same is true for the protected lateral limits of the final approach course for a RNAV (GPS) approach with an LNAV MDA. Full scale deflection is up to +/- 0.3 NM, while the primary protection surface is +/- 0.6 NM either side of the centerline.

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  2. Robert McElrath on Jan 05, 2014

    Thank you John,

    I understand now and your other examples are very helpful indeed.

    It is obvious that the Maneuvering Area provides buffer beyond the turning distance limit, but I was simply misled by choice of the word “Maneuvering” in the title, which to me suggests that one can move around, maneuver, in there. There’s not much published specifically about its purpose that I have found so far. Even the Instrument Procedures Handbook is misleading to me: “the Maneuvering Zone is established to control obstacle clearance after proceeding outbound from the PT fix”. I would say it is the turn distance requirement that ‘controls’, not the Maneuvering Area.

    Regardless, the requirement to complete the course reversal turn within the distance specified on the decent profile is quite clear in all publications. And, now I understand the reason for the Maneuvering Area.

    Thanks for such a prompt reply. It is greatly appreciated.

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  3. Robert McElrath on Jan 05, 2014

    excuse me … descent, not decent 🙂

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