The radius of turn is directly linked to the ROT, which explained earlier is a function of both bank angle and airspeed. If the bank angle is held constant and the airspeed is increased, the radius of the turn changes (increases). A higher airspeed causes the aircraft to travel through a longer arc due to a greater speed. An aircraft traveling at 120 knots is able to turn a 360° circle in a tighter radius than an aircraft traveling at 240 knots. In order to compensate for the increase in airspeed, the bank angle would need to be increased.
The radius of turn (R) can be computed using a simple formula. The radius of turn is equal to the velocity squared (V2) divided by 11.26 times the tangent of the bank angle.
Using the examples provided in Figures 4-48 through 4-50, the turn radius for each of the two speeds can be computed. Note that if the speed is doubled, the radius is squared. [Figures 4-51 and 4-52]
Another way to determine the radius of turn is speed in using feet per second (fps), π (3.1415) and the ROT. Using the example on page 4-34 in the upper right column, it was determined that an aircraft with a ROT of 5.25 degrees per second required 68.6 seconds to make a complete circle. An aircraft’s speed (in knots) can be converted to fps by multiplying it by a constant of 1.69. Therefore, an aircraft traveling at 120 knots (TAS) travels at 202.8 fps. Knowing the speed in fps (202.8) multiplied by the time an aircraft takes to complete a circle (68.6 seconds) can determine the size of the circle; 202.8 times 68.6 equals 13,912 feet. Dividing by π yields a diameter of 4,428 feet, which when divided by 2 equals a radius of 2,214 feet [Figure 4-53], a foot within that determined through use of the formula in Figure 4-51.
In Figure 4-54, the pilot enters a canyon and decides to turn 180° to exit. The pilot uses a 30° bank angle in his turn.