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Timed turns to headings are performed in the same fashion with an EFD as with an analog equipped aircraft. The instrumentation used to perform this maneuver is the turn rate indicator as well as the clock. The purpose of this maneuver is to allow the pilot to gain proficiency in scanning as well as to further develop the pilot’s ability to control the aircraft without standard instrumentation.

Timed turns become essential when controlling the aircraft with a loss of the heading indicator. This may become necessary due to a loss of the AHRS unit or the magnetometer. In any case, the magnetic compass is still available for navigation. The reason for timed turns instead of magnetic compass turns is the simplicity of the maneuver. Magnetic compass turns require the pilot to take into account various errors associated with the compass; timed turns do not.

Prior to initiating a turn, determine if the standard rate indication on the turn rate indicator actually delivers a 3 degrees per second turn. To accomplish this, a calibration must be made. Establish a turn in either direction at the indicated standard rate. Start the digital timer as the compass rolls past a cardinal heading. Stop the timer once the compass card rolls through another cardinal heading. Roll wings level and compute the rate of turn. If the turn rate indicator is calibrated and indicating correctly, 90° of heading change should take 30 seconds. If the time taken to change heading by 90° is more or less than 30 seconds, then a deflection above or below the standard rate line needs to be made to compensate for the difference. Once the calibration has been completed in one direction, proceed to the opposite direction. When both directions have been calibrated, apply the calibrated calculations to all timed turns.

In order to accomplish a timed turn, the amount of heading change needs to be established. For a change in heading from 120° to a heading of 360°, the pilot calculates the difference and divides that number by 3. In this case, 120° divided by 3° per second equals 40 seconds. This means that it would take 40 seconds for an aircraft to change heading 120° if that aircraft were held in a perfect standard rate turn. Timing for the maneuver should start as the aircraft begins rolling into the standard rate turn. Monitor all flight instruments during this maneuver. The primary pitch instrument is the altimeter. The primary power instrument is the ASI and the primary bank instrument is the turn rate indicator.

Once the calculated time expires, start a smooth coordinated roll-out. As long as the pilot utilizes the same rate of roll-in as roll-out, the time it takes for both will not need to be included in the calculations. With practice, the pilot should level the wings on the desired heading. If any deviation has occurred, make small corrections to establish the correct heading.

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