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Bank angle in pattern

Discussion in 'CFI Corner' started by ready2fly, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. ready2fly

    ready2fly Well-Known Member

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    Here's probably a stupid question, but my instructor asked me today:

    "What is the normal bank angle you use in a traffic pattern?"

    I told him that I usually use standard rate. He said he uses around 30.

    Your thoughts? Discuss.
  2. MidlifeFlyer

    MidlifeFlyer Well-Known Member

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    There tends to be a general philosophy around that when maneuvering in the pattern, bank angles should be shallow to medium. We're flying at slower speeds and stall speed increases with bank angles, so a 45º bank at 70 KTS in a 172 isn't a particularly good idea. On top of that power settings and airspeed, a can be more stable throughout the pattern, with the increased descent rate form a turn being kept within manageable limits.

    I tend to aim for 20º as a target. Steep enough to be meaningful and shallow enough to allow some leeway if a little more steepness is warranted, as when misjudging a turn.
  3. ricecakecm

    ricecakecm Well-Known Member

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    It depends with me. If I'm by myself or with another pilot, I tend to use 30 degrees. If I'm carrying passengers, I limit all turns to standard rate.

    Chris
  4. viper548

    viper548 Well-Known Member

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    I try to keep it under 30 degrees. I'd rather see someone use a steeper turn that is coordinated than an uncoordinated one at a shallower bank angle
  5. ready2fly

    ready2fly Well-Known Member

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    Good responses so far! Thanks to all!!

    Here's another question: Is it stated anywhere what the "normal" bank angle should be?

    (Note: I'm at work and without my texts. I'll be looking it up tonight)
  6. mtsu_av8er

    mtsu_av8er Well-Known Member

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    I was always taught to use no more than 30 degrees. That's pretty much exactly what I use these days unless I've got PAX, then it's 20.
  7. RPM

    RPM Well-Known Member

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    20-30 is what I use
  8. MidlifeFlyer

    MidlifeFlyer Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Good responses so far! Thanks to all!!

    Here's another question: Is it stated anywhere what the "normal" bank angle should be?


    [/ QUOTE ]Other than the admonition and expectation of using standard rate turns under IFR, I don't think there's anything official on what a "normal" bank angle it.

    I do a little "trick" during introductory flights. I put the airplane in a 30º bank, trim off the slight back pressure and let go. The airplane will tend to do at least a couple of 360s without changing its bank (of course, it starts to degrade at some point). The idea is to show how stable the airplane is and 30º for a lot of light planes seems to be the balance between longitudinal stability and the overbanking tendencies.

    That's "normal" enough for me.
  9. RiddlePilot

    RiddlePilot New Member

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    Funny you bring that up. I got chewed out for my 30 degree usage the other day, even though I'd gotten through Private-Commercial with no comments. I'll use the 10-20 that my instructor insists on for now, but I'll probably teach 20-30 when I'm done.
  10. stuckingfk

    stuckingfk Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Funny you bring that up. I got chewed out for my 30 degree usage the other day, even though I'd gotten through Private-Commercial with no comments. I'll use the 10-20 that my instructor insists on for now, but I'll probably teach 20-30 when I'm done.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    What did the person say and how did he/she say it?

    What did you tell them after they chewed you out. I can't stand it when instructors who think they know it all, give you their opinion on a matter with no back up.
  11. Alchemy

    Alchemy Well-Known Member

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    I always tell my students to keep it under 30 degrees of bank in the pattern in a 172. I'd say 20 degrees is "normal", depending on how tight of a pattern is beling flown. I've had some students try and make 45 degree banked turns in the pattern (especially after a steep turn lesson). I chide them for this, but I usually keep my mouth shut unless they exceed 30 degrees.

    In a faster airplane, such as a bonanza or a baron, 30 degrees of bank is about average.
  12. RiddlePilot

    RiddlePilot New Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    [ QUOTE ]
    Funny you bring that up. I got chewed out for my 30 degree usage the other day, even though I'd gotten through Private-Commercial with no comments. I'll use the 10-20 that my instructor insists on for now, but I'll probably teach 20-30 when I'm done.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    What did the person say and how did he/she say it?

    What did you tell them after they chewed you out. I can't stand it when instructors who think they know it all, give you their opinion on a matter with no back up.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    "I got chewed out" sounds kinda harsh, actually. He just for some reason doesn't like the idea of using 30 degrees in the pattern. I dunno why exactly, since it's perfectly safe, and keeps you from flying a pattern too wide.

    After he told me about his thoughts, I gave it a shot and decided that I didn't like it THAT shallow. I went ahead and made a compromise of about 20 degrees, which works fine.
  13. cime_sp

    cime_sp Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Funny you bring that up. I got chewed out for my 30 degree usage the other day, even though I'd gotten through Private-Commercial with no comments. I'll use the 10-20 that my instructor insists on for now, but I'll probably teach 20-30 when I'm done.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    10 Degrees in the pattern!!!! He's the guy that we all hate then. I can't stand it when somebody flies the HUGE bomber patterns for no particular reason.
  14. TallBoy85

    TallBoy85 Well-Known Member

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    Hey "that guy" is my boss...but yeah it makes me miserable when my students say, "well he said to use 20".

    Should have seen the talking to I got when I was teaching all turns in the pattern at 45 degrees. Oh that's right Saturday's my last day as a flight instructor and I'll be forever banished to the world of 25 degrees of bank. Darn.

    OK so there's only one way that I see any angle of bank as logical in the pattern. Keep it steep and get it over with. Assuming normal position inside an aircraft, when a wing is up it creates large blind spots which are fairly critical. Like in a low wing, base to final you block your view of final and opposing base traffic. In a Cessna when you turn upwind to crosswind you block the 45 entry and any extended upwind traffic. Why not use 30-45 degrees of bank (speed and altitude permitting) and get the turn over with so you spend less time with a blind spot.

    Now point 2 is this. How much easier is it to see an airplane that's rocking its wings or goes rapidly wing up? Now I'm not saying to use aggressive inputs on the controls, nor should anyone that's not prepared for the consequences but think about this. You have traffic to follow you, tower calls the traffic behind you to sequence them behind you and because you make a lazy turn downwind to base they never spot you. Now think about tossing your wing up 45 degrees. It makes you much easier to see...in my humble opinion.

    But yeah...I freak when people fly wide patterns because of lazy turns. Just bank the airplane and fly the pattern. Just make sure it's square and safe and you keep the airplane unloaded turning base to final.

    And yes I will ask to cut people off in the pattern who are flying too wide for my tastes. [​IMG]
  15. Alchemy

    Alchemy Well-Known Member

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    The reason I frown on bank angles more than 30 degrees is the risk associated with increasing the stall speed, especially on a turn from base to final.

    45 degree bank is what, about a 1.4G load factor? That means you get a 20% increase in stalling speed, making Vs1 about 53 knots in a 172 in a clean configuration. This isn't too far from vx/vy....pretty easy to imagine a beginning student stalling the airplane on the turn from upwind to crosswind and then spinning it to the left if they tried to use a 45 or 50 degree bank angle and let things get too slow.

    20-30 degrees of bank is plenty steep for a c172. Flying wide patterns is usually not caused by the steepness of the turns, but rather by flying excessively far from the runway on crosswind and/or downwind during the wings level portions of those legs.

    Now for a more advanced student who has better airspeed control, fine, make the turns as steep as you want as long as you don't stall the airplane. However, I don't think the risk is worth it when dealing with student pilots.

    Just a junior CFI's humble opinion.
  16. RiddlePilot

    RiddlePilot New Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Hey "that guy" is my boss...

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Oh man...busted. [​IMG]
  17. TallBoy85

    TallBoy85 Well-Known Member

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    Hahaha busted is right but you can fight your own fight man.

    If your students understand that increasing bank increases stall speed and therefore high bank angles in the pattern don't necessarily increase their safety all around, then it's not a big deal. I don't see how people can so strenuously limit their students on something that's not safety of flight related if taught and flown properly. Now realistically 45 degrees of bank in a 172 is probably fairly excessive, especially considering that reduced airspeed causes a decrease in radius and an increase in the rate of turn, but at 80kts in an Arrow or 90kts in a Seminole...

    Maybe I fly at a dangerous airport but the one thing I love is dropping a wing out of a lazy 20 degree turn to crosswind and having to make unsafe maneuvers to avoid traffic entering the pattern that I would have seen otherwise.

    However, I would recommend teaching your students to use a moderate angle of bank in the pattern but to understand the consequences of over banking AND under banking in the pattern. I mean what a good time to make a nice positive transfer of learning. We don't freak out when they make a 45 degree angle of bank turn in a turn around a point on a windy day do we? And that's 600-1000 feet from the ground... [​IMG]
  18. cime_sp

    cime_sp Well-Known Member

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    [ QUOTE ]
    The reason I frown on bank angles more than 30 degrees is the risk associated with increasing the stall speed, especially on a turn from base to final.

    45 degree bank is what, about a 1.4G load factor? That means you get a 20% increase in stalling speed, making Vs1 about 53 knots in a 172 in a clean configuration. This isn't too far from vx/vy....pretty easy to imagine a beginning student stalling the airplane on the turn from upwind to crosswind and then spinning it to the left if they tried to use a 45 or 50 degree bank angle and let things get too slow.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    The load factor will only be 1.4G's in a level turn. If you are descending on your downwind-base or base-final the actual G-load is much less....but I understand your point.
  19. ready2fly

    ready2fly Well-Known Member

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    Okay.... did a little readin' last night and nowhere does it state what the "normal" or "accepted" or "expected" bank angle should be when flying in the pattern.

    What it DID say was "a bank angle NO MORE THAN 45 degrees" ("it" being ither the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, or the Airplane Flying Handbook, I forget exactly which).

    When I was in my PPL training, I would exceed standard rate and my instructor would say "WHOA Speed Racer!" or something "witty" like that. So, that stuck with me.

    I can see where 30 degrees or thereabouts would make the pattern more "squared off".

    So, that's what I'll be practicing from here on out.

    Thanks to everyone for your replies!!

    R2F
  20. pilot602

    pilot602 If specified, this will replace the title that

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    [ QUOTE ]
    Other than the admonition and expectation of using standard rate turns under IFR, I don't think there's anything official on what a "normal" bank angle it.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Funny thing is ATC doesn't know/can't tell what a "standard rate turn" is, nor do they really care, from their scopes. Further more, most transport category aircraft do not even have a turn coordinator of any kind, much less anything with a "standard rate" demarcation.

    And further yet, a new ruling is now in place for part 91 ops that states if you have two Attitude Indicators (powered seperately) you do not need a Turn Coordinator installed in the aircraft. Hence there really is no such thing as a "standard rate" turn anymore (if there ever really was to begin with).

    Fun facts.
    [​IMG]

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