Reference: FS2002 Ground School Text, FS9 Flying Lessons

Now that you can fly level you know that it is lift that keeps you up there. When lift equals weight, you fly. So, what makes an airplane turn?

When flying straight and level all the lift is vertical. Roll the airplane into a bank and the lift now has a horizontal component that pulls the aircraft in the direction of the turn.

In the sim you have a neat little feature called auto-rudder that you donít find in real airplanes (actually large jets typically have something called a yaw damper that serves a similar purpose, but general aviation aircraft wonít have this). If you are new to flying or you donít have rudder pedals, I recommend you keep this feature turned on. Manual rudder control is very useful when taking off or landing with crosswinds, but you donít need it right now.

Homework assignment: Read Class 2: How Airplanes Turn, in the Ground School Text (FS2002); or Lesson 2: Turns (FS2004)

Technique: Two things you want to do when turningÖ

First, unless the change in heading is small (say, less than 40 degrees) always make your turns standard rate turns. That is 3 degrees per second or two minutes to make a complete 360 degree turn. Why? Many procedures are based on turns being made as standard rate sort of a ďstart your turn now to wind up hereĒ kind of thing. Standard rate turns make the outcome predictable.


Photo Courtesy AirNikon           

Turn Coordinator

ATC gives vectors assuming you will execute such a turn. A rule of thumb is to perform a standard rate, but if your bank angle exceeds one-half the heading change, limit the bank angle to that amount. For example if your heading change is to be 30 degrees, do not exceed 15 degrees of bank. This will most likely be less than a standard rate turn.

Secondly, youíve converted some of your vertical lift into a horizontal component, resulting in less vertical lift, you will have a tendency to sink. To overcome this pull back on the yoke/joystick slightly to compensate. The steeper the turn, the more elevator youíll need. Watch your altitude!

Start to smoothly roll out of the turn about one-half as many degrees as the bank angle.

Example: Suppose you are turning left to a heading of 100 degrees on a 30 degree bank. Start your rollout about 30/2 = 15 degrees before 100 or when you pass a heading of 115 degrees.

Extra credit: Also, how much distance you need to complete a standard rate turn (radius of the turn) depends on your airspeed. The faster you are going, the larger the radius of the turn. In fact, the diameter of a standard rate turn equals your true airspeed divided by 100. Note that the bank angle of a standard rate turn varies by airspeed as well. Specifically, bank angle = true airspeed * .15 and who says you donít need math to fly?

Practice flight one: Learn To Fly - Student Pilot - Lesson 2: Turns

For additional practice position your Cessna 182S at the Altair training Center (KLGB), takeoff from runway of your choice and climb to about 3,500 feet. After achieving a stable level flight note your current heading and make a standard rate turn 90 degrees to the left. After leveling off make another turn 90 degrees to the right. Continue this until you can maintain altitude within 100 feet of 3,500 throughout the turn (between 3,400 and 3,600 feet).


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