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Bank Angle Impact on Climb Gradient


Departure Obstacle Analysis
If your AFM-derived climb gradient just barely beats the
obstacle or SID requirement you might need to consider the
impact of a turn on that performance. If, for example, the
procedure requires a 25° bank turn at the most critical point,
will that bank angle subtract from your climb performance?
Obviously yes, but by how much?

Eddie Sez:
Most aircraft charts assume up to 5° of bank in their climb performance charts.
(Check your AFM to be sure.) They should provide tables or charts on how to
adjust that for a 15° bank turn. AC 120-91 provides guidance on lesser and
greater angles of bank. Aircraft without published gradient loss tables leave their
pilots in a di cult situation, see: No Published Gradient Loss.

Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in
orange.
 

Figure: Theoretical (but wrong) view of the impact of a 15° bank turn on climb
gradient, from Eddie's notes.

Regulatory Assumptions
14 CFR 91 is silent on this subject. 14 CFR 25 only mentions bank angles in
conjunction with minimum control speeds, in which case the magic number is
5°. The notes in 14 CFR 121 and 135 are identical, the maximum bank to be
considered is 15°.
[14 CFR 121, §121.189] Large transport category airplanes: Turbine engine
powered: Takeo limitations.

(f) For the purposes of this section, it is assumed that the airplane is not
banked before reaching a height of 50 feet, as shown by the takeo path or
net takeo ight path data (as appropriate) in the Airplane Flight Manual, and
thereafter that the maximum bank is not more than 15 degrees.

[14 CFR 135, §135.379] Large transport category airplanes: Turbine engine
powered: Takeo limitations.

(f) For the purposes of this section, it is assumed that the airplane is not
banked before reaching a height of 50 feet, as shown by the takeo path or
net takeo ight path data (as appropriate) in the Airplane Flight Manual, and
thereafter that the maximum bank is not more than 15 degrees.

[14 CFR 135, §135.398] Commuter category airplanes performance operating


limitations.

(e) For the purposes of this section, it is assumed that the airplane is not
banked before reaching a height of 50 feet, as shown by the takeo path or
net takeo ight path data (as appropriate) in the Airplane Flight Manual, and
thereafter that the maximum bank is not more than 15 degrees.

Climb Gradient Decrement (15° Bank or Less)


[AC 120-91, ¶14.b.]

(1) The AFM generally provides a climb gradient decrement for a 15 degree
bank. For bank angles less than 15 degrees, a proportionate amount of the 15
degree value may be applied, unless the manufacturer or AFM has provided
other data. Bank angles over 15 degrees require additional gradient
decrements.

For example, the Bombardier Global Express:

[BD-700 Airplane Flight Manual, Chapter 7, Supplement 24, ¶6.A.] Take-O


Performance For Airport Elevations Sea Level to 10,000 Feet

(6)The gradient loss in a steady turn is tabulated below for a 15° bank turn.

SLAT/FLAP GRADIENT LOSS (%)

IN/0° 0.30
OUT/0° 0.45

For bank angle less than 15°, the gradient loss may be considered
proportional to the bank angle.

No Published Gradient Loss


Not all manufacturers provide a gradient loss table but for those that do the
worst case seems to be about a half a percent for a 15% bank turn. The DA
2000, for example, shows no more than 0.46% in four di erent ap and slat
con gurations. The CL-604 has a maximum of 0.38% for the worst condition.
Note these are gradient losses, you subtract them from the AFM value. If, for
example, your published gradient is 10.0% and the gradient loss is 0.5%, your
resulting gradient is 9.5%.

Aircraft that do not have published gradient loss gures are in a bit of a
quandary. Here are two possible solutions:

If you reason the climb gradient is reduced by the same factor the
vertical component of lift is reduced, as shown in the diagram on the top
of this page, you could say the climb gradient is equal to the cosine of
15°, which comes to 0.966. That would be a gradient loss of 3.4%, much
higher than the published numbers for most aircraft. This is because this
method ignores the contribution to the vertical component made by the
engines.
If you reason your airplane should have a similar loss as shown by the
three example aircraft, (the BD-700, DA-2000, and CL-604), you could
reason that your climb gradient loss will be no more than 0.5%.

Between 0.5% and 3.4%, not much help to be sure. I suppose the conservative
approach would be to reduce your climb gradient by 3.4%.

Climb Gradient Decrement (Greater than 15° Bank)


[AC 120-91, ¶14.b.]

(2) If bank angles of more than 15 degrees are used, V2 speeds may have to
be increased to provide an equivalent level of stall margin protection and
adequate controllability (i.e., VMCA (minimum control speed, air)). Unless
otherwise speci ed in the AFM or other performance or operations manuals
from the manufacturer, acceptable adjustments to ensure adequate stall
margins and gradient decrements are provided by the following table:
Bank Angle Speed 'G' Load Gradient Loss

AFM 15°
15° V2 1.035
Gradient Loss

Double 15°
20° V2 + XX/2 1.064
Gradient Loss

Triple 15°
25° V2 + XX 1.103
Gradient Loss

Where 'XX' = the all-engines-operating operating speed increment (usually 10


or 15 knots)

NOTE: On some airplanes, the AFM standard V-speeds may already provide
su cient stall margin protection without additional adjustments.

(3) Bank angles over 25 degrees may be appropriate in certain circumstances


but require speci c evaluation and FAA certi cate-holding district o ce
(CHDO) approval.

(4) Accountability for speed increase for bank angle protection may be
accomplished by increasing V-speeds by the required increment shown above
or by accelerating to the increment above V2 after lifto . The following are
examples of acceptable methods:

(a) If available, AFM data for "improved climb" or "overspeed" performance


may be used to determine weight decrements for the desired increase to V1,
VR, and V2.

(b) Calculate a weight decrement from the weight/V-speed relationship in the


AFM for the desired increase in V1, VR, and V2.

(c) Account for the acceleration above V2 by trading the climb gradient for
speed increase. Integrate this climb gradient loss over the distance required
to accelerate to determine an equivalent height increment to be added to all
subsequent obstacles.

(5) Gradient loss in turns may be accounted for by increasing the obstacle
height by the gradient loss multiplied by the ight path distance in the turn.
This will result in an equivalent obstacle height that can be analyzed as a
"straight-out" obstacle in the operator's airport analysis programs.
(6) For bank angles greater than 15 degrees, the 35-foot obstacle clearance
relative to the net takeo ight path should be determined from the lowest
part of the banked airplane.

References (links.htm)
14 CFR 25, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Airworthiness Standards:
Transport Category Airplanes, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of
Transportation

14 CFR 91, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, General Operating and Flight
Rules, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Transportation

14 CFR 121, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Operating Requirements:


Domestic, Flag, and Supplemental Operations, Federal Aviation
Administration, Department of Transportation

14 CFR 135, Title 14: Aeronautics and Space, Operating Requirements:


Commuter and On Demand Operations and Rules Governing Persons on
Board Such Aircraft, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of
Transportation

Advisory Circular 120-91 (pdfs/ac_120-91_airport_obstacle_analysis.pdf),


Airport Obstacle Analysis, 5/5/06, U.S. Department of Transportation

Bombardier BD-700-1A10 Airplane Flight Manual, Rev 80, Jun 03/2014.