A turn coordinator in aviation (known as also the TC) is an additional add-on to the turn and slip indicator (also known as T/S) with a major difference being the axis and the display whereupon the gimbal is to be placed. Basically it can be used alongside with or as an alternative to the turn and slip indicator. The only difference between the turn coordinator and the turn and slip is that the gimbal is ranked up at least 30 degrees higher, which causes the instrument to yaw, as well as to roll. Overall this causes the turn coordinator instrument to display a change more quickly and react to the change in roll before the aircraft has even begun to yaw. Although this instrument reacts to changes in the aircraft's roll, it does not display the roll attitude.
The turn coordinator may be used as a performance instrument when the attitude indicator has failed. This is called "partial panel" operations. It can be unnecessarily difficult or even impossible if the pilot does not understand that the instrument is showing roll rates as well as turn rates. The usefulness is also impaired if the internal dashpot is worn out. In the latter case, the instrument is underdamped and in turbulence will indicate large full-scale deflections to the left and right, all of which are actually roll rate responses.
The turn coordinator is basically designed as two instruments in one component. It signals the yawing, rolling, and steering movements, and also exhibits those moves through two components, those being a needle that looks like an airplane and rotates right or left, and the inclinometer. The inclinometer is a black ball suspended in liquid that rolls right, left, or remains in the middle depending on whether you are applying the correct amount of rudder during a turn. The turn coordinator is very much akin to the bank indicator as well as to the turn and bank indicator, which senses roll (but not yaw) and displays rate of turn (see “Turn and Slip Indicator,” this page).
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