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For the purpose of instrument flight training, a steep turn is defined as any turn in excess of standard rate. A standard rate turn is defined as 3 degrees per second. The bank angle that equates to a turn rate of 3 degrees per second varies according to airspeed. As airspeed increases, the bank angle must be increased. The exact bank angle that equates to a standard rate turn is unimportant. Normal standard rate turn bank angles range from 10° to 20°. The goal of training in steep turn maneuvers is pilot proficiency in controlling the aircraft with excessive bank angles.

Training in excessive bank angles challenges the pilot in honing cross-checking skills and improves altitude control throughout a wider range of flight attitudes. Although the current instrument flight check practical test standards (PTS) do not call for a demonstration of steep turns on the certification check flight, this does not eliminate the need for the instrument pilot-in-training to demonstrate proficiency to an instructor.

Training in steep turns teaches the pilot to recognize and to adapt to rapidly changing aerodynamic forces that necessitate an increase in the rate of cross-checking all flight instruments. The procedures for entering, maintaining, and exiting a steep turn are the same as for shallower turns. Proficiency in instrument cross-check and interpretation is increased due to the higher aerodynamic forces and increased speed at which the forces are changing.



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