Standard rate turns (2-minute Turn) are a fundamental skill in general aviation, allowing pilots to maneuver their aircraft with precision and safety.
First, let’s define what we mean by “standard rate turn.”
A standard rate turn is a turn in which the aircraft turns at a rate of 3 degrees per second. This allows the aircraft to complete a full 360-degree turn in two minutes, which is a convenient standard for pilots to use in their flight planning. Your “Turn Coordinator” will show the bank angle of the aircraft which is necessary to maintain a 2-minute turn.
Why are standard rate turns important? For one, they allow pilots to maintain situational awareness and control of the aircraft while turning. They also ensure that the aircraft is turning at a safe and consistent rate, which is especially important in congested airspace or when flying in formation with other aircraft. Additionally, standard rate turns can help pilots conserve fuel and increase efficiency, as they minimize the amount of time spent turning and the associated drag on the aircraft.
In a controlled airport zone, Air Traffic Control can have you perform orbits of Standard Rate Turns to help with circuit spacing and spacing of commercial and general aviation aircraft. Air Traffic Control expects you to execute this “Orbit” at the Standard Rate. They will talk to you if they want something different.
It’s worth noting that not all turns need to be executed at a standard rate. In fact, many turns in real-world flying are done at varying rates depending on the situation. However, understanding and being able to execute a standard rate turn is a key skill for any pilot, as it forms the foundation for more complex and advanced maneuvers.