What is PROC T on Airbus A320? (Procedure Turn)

A Procedure Turn, also known as a PROC T, is a maneuver used by pilots when flying an approach to landing. It is a predefined turn that allows the aircraft to align itself with the final approach course before reaching the final approach fix. The Airbus A320, a popular narrow-body aircraft manufactured by Airbus, has its own procedure turn technique that pilots follow to ensure a safe and accurate approach.

In this article, we will explore the procedure turn on the Airbus A320 in depth, discussing its purpose, execution, and the factors that pilots consider when performing this maneuver.

The Purpose of the Procedure Turn on Airbus A320

The primary purpose of the procedure turn on the Airbus A320 is to provide a safe and predictable way for the aircraft to transition from the en-route phase to the approach phase of flight. It allows the pilots to descend to the minimum safe altitude for the approach and establish themselves on the final approach course.

By executing a procedure turn, pilots ensure that the aircraft is properly lined up with the final approach course, reducing the risk of flying off track or encountering obstacles. This maneuver is especially important when flying approaches in low visibility or adverse weather conditions, as it allows for better situational awareness and precision.

Additionally, the procedure turn helps the pilot maintain a stabilized approach, which is crucial for a safe landing. It allows for a gradual descent and alignment with the runway, enabling the pilot to make any necessary adjustments to the aircraft’s speed, altitude, and configuration.

The Execution of the Procedure Turn on Airbus A320

To execute a procedure turn on the Airbus A320, the pilot follows a series of steps and adheres to specific parameters. Let’s walk through the process in detail:

1. Reaching the Initial Approach Fix (IAF)

The procedure turn typically starts at the initial approach fix (IAF), which is a specific point along the approach course. When the aircraft reaches the IAF, it is at an altitude that allows for the procedure turn to be safely executed.

2. Initiating the Procedure Turn

Once the aircraft reaches the IAF, the pilot initiates the procedure turn by either making a specified turn, typically 45 degrees or 90 degrees, or by following specific instructions provided by air traffic control (ATC). The exact turn angle and direction may vary depending on the specific approach and airspace.

During the turn, pilots need to pay close attention to the aircraft’s bank angle, airspeed, and altitude to maintain control and ensure a smooth transition onto the final approach course.

3. Intercepting the Final Approach Course

After completing the procedure turn, the next step is to intercept the final approach course. This involves aligning the aircraft with the course by adjusting the heading or using navigation aids such as a localizer or a GPS receiver.

The pilots monitor the aircraft’s position and course deviation indicators to ensure they are tracking the final approach course accurately. Corrections may need to be made to maintain the desired path and eliminate any deviations.

Once established on the final approach course, the pilots continue the descent and make any necessary adjustments to configure the aircraft for landing, such as extending the landing gear and flaps.

Factors Considered during the Procedure Turn on Airbus A320

Several factors come into play when performing a procedure turn on the Airbus A320. Pilots must consider these factors to ensure the maneuver is executed safely and efficiently:

1. Wind Conditions

Wind conditions play a significant role in the execution of a procedure turn. Pilots need to consider the direction and intensity of the wind to determine the appropriate bank angle and turn radius. Tailwinds can result in a longer procedure turn, while headwinds can shorten it. Crosswinds, on the other hand, may require additional control inputs to maintain the desired track.

2. Air Traffic Control Instructions

Pilots must carefully listen to and comply with air traffic control (ATC) instructions during the procedure turn. ATC may provide specific turn instructions or altitude restrictions to avoid conflicts with other aircraft or airspace restrictions. It is crucial for pilots to have good communication with ATC and follow their directions accordingly.

3. Aircraft Configuration

The configuration of the aircraft also affects the execution of the procedure turn. Pilots need to consider the aircraft’s current speed, altitude, and weight to determine the appropriate bank angle, turn radius, and descent rate. These parameters ensure the maneuver is performed safely and comfortably within the aircraft’s capabilities.

Overall, the procedure turn on the Airbus A320 is a crucial aspect of the approach phase, enabling pilots to safely transition from the en-route phase to the final approach course. By following the prescribed steps and considering the relevant factors, pilots can ensure a smooth and precise approach, setting the stage for a successful landing.

For More: What is BCDS on Airbus A320? (Bite Centralized Data System)