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Purpose of a standard rate turn

Asked by: 715 views Instrument Rating

Is there any legal/unspoken rule (ATC expection) to make standard rate turns in IMC? SR turns are useful for IFR procedures like timed turns and holdings, but if you're just getting vectors to turn, for example, are there any disadvantages to turning more or less than standard rate?

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2 Answers

  1. Best Answer


    Mark Kolber on Oct 04, 2016

    Can’t take this to the bank but it may gove you some ideas what to look for if you are really interested…

    At one time standard rate – actually, 30° bank or standard rate, whichever is less – had an air traffic control function. No radar, predictability of location, etc. I’m guessing 3° per second was set as the standard rate as a compromise between safety and the ease of division into the 360° circle.

    It was embodied in a number of regs, including 91.205(d)(3), which required “(3) Gyroscopic rate-of-turn indicator” as one of the IFR-required pieces of equipment. Part of the safety equation was that marking a standard rate turn on an instrument that used a different system than the DG is a good cross-check on the accuracy of both.

    But, to your point about need, 91.205(d)(3) was eventually amended to allow for a second, independent source, attitude indicator to be substituted for the rate of turn indicator. As noted in AC 91-75 in discussing the change:

    Replacing the rate-of-turn indicator will mean losing an easy reference for standard rate turns. However, in today’s air traffic control system, there is little need for precisely measured standard rate turns or timed turns based on standard rate. Maintaining a given bank angle on the attitude indicator for a given speed will result in a standard rate turn. Pilots using this AC to substitute an attitude indicator for their rate-of-turn indicator are encouraged to know the bank angle needed for a standard rate turn.

    So there’s still some function to it and it needs to be tested. But it still represents a good compromise, although I know many pilot simple use the comfortable 30° bank from VFR flight for IFR en route turns.

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  2. Drew on Oct 04, 2016

    Interesting. Thank you, Mark.

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