What is TK on Airbus A320? (Tank, Track Angle)

The Tank, Track Angle on the Airbus A320 is an important parameter that pilots and flight crew need to be aware of during flight operations. It refers to the angle between the aircraft’s longitudinal axis and the track it is following over the ground. This angle is crucial for maintaining the aircraft’s desired flight path and ensuring safe and efficient operations.

In simple terms, the Tank, Track Angle (TK) is the difference between the heading of the aircraft (the direction the aircraft is pointing) and the track it is following (the direction it is actually moving along the ground). It is measured in degrees and can have a significant impact on a variety of flight operations, including navigation, fuel efficiency, and safety.

Navigation and Flight Path Control

The Tank, Track Angle plays a crucial role in navigation and flight path control. By maintaining the desired TK, pilots can ensure that the aircraft is following the intended flight path and track accurately. If the TK deviates from the desired value, it can indicate a potential navigation error or a change in wind conditions, requiring adjustments to be made to the aircraft’s heading.

During takeoff and climb, the TK is particularly important in maintaining the aircraft’s assigned track and ensuring safe separation from other aircraft. Air traffic control provides specific headings to be flown by each aircraft, and the pilot must adjust the heading to account for the aircraft’s TK. By maintaining the correct TK, pilots can navigate accurately and safely, minimizing the risk of collisions or airspace violations.

Additionally, the TK is essential during approach and landing. Pilots must align the aircraft with the runway for a smooth and safe touchdown. By adjusting the aircraft’s heading based on the TK, pilots can counteract any crosswinds or track deviations, ensuring a precise landing and reducing the risk of runway excursion.

It’s worth noting that modern aircraft, including the Airbus A320, often employ advanced navigation systems and automation to assist the piloting process. These systems can calculate and display the TK to the flight crew, enabling them to make timely and accurate adjustments to maintain the desired flight path.

Fuel Efficiency and Performance

The Tank, Track Angle also has a direct impact on the fuel efficiency and overall performance of the Airbus A320. By optimizing the TK, pilots can reduce the aircraft’s exposure to headwinds or crosswinds, minimizing the fuel consumption and improving overall performance.

When flying against headwinds, pilots may choose to adjust the aircraft’s heading to minimize the impact of the wind and reduce fuel burn. By maintaining a favorable TK, the aircraft can capitalize on tailwinds and reduce the flight time and fuel consumption required to reach the destination.

Furthermore, the TK is closely related to another important parameter known as the drift angle, which is the angle between the aircraft’s heading and the resultant track due to crosswinds. By monitoring and adjusting the TK, pilots can minimize the drift angle and maintain a more efficient flight path, reducing fuel consumption and ensuring optimal performance.

The Airbus A320 is designed to be fuel-efficient, and pilots play a vital role in maximizing its performance. By carefully managing the TK, pilots can ensure that the aircraft operates within its optimal performance range and achieves the best possible fuel burn. This not only benefits the airline’s operational costs but also contributes to the overall sustainability of aviation.


The Tank, Track Angle is an important parameter that pilots and flight crew need to understand and manage during flight operations on the Airbus A320. It affects navigation accuracy, flight path control, fuel efficiency, and overall performance. By maintaining the desired TK, pilots can ensure the aircraft’s safe and efficient operation, while also optimizing fuel consumption and minimizing environmental impact. The TK is just one of the many factors that pilots must consider in their decision-making process, and continuous monitoring and adjustments are essential for successful flight operations.

For more information on the Airbus A320 and its aircraft systems, you can visit the Airbus website.

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