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Teardrop turn

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Title: Teardrop turn  
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Subject: Man overboard rescue turn, Aviation, Air show
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Teardrop turn

A Teardrop turn is a method of reversing the course of an aircraft or vessel so that it returns on its original path, travelling in the opposite direction, and passes through a specified point on the original path.[1] It has been described as a difficult maneuver which provides little margin for error.[2] The name comes from the overhead view of the track, which resembles an idealized teardrop. Ships and power boats generally use one of two types of teardrop turn to recover a man overboard: the Williamson turn [3] or the Scharnow turn, which differ primarily in the direction of the path around the teardrop and the distance from the point of interest when the manoeuvre is begun. Aircraft often use the teardrop turn to return to a fix while descending.[4] It is also commonly used during Air Shows to make multiple passes over the runway, flying in opposite directions.


  1. ^ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (2012). Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM). US: Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc. p. 5-4-9-a-4.  
  2. ^ Garrison, Peter (1 September 2008). "Teardrop Turn".  
  3. ^ Jamieson, John. "'"Short-Handed Man-Overboard Maneuver - the 'Williamson Turn. TetraMedia Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) (2013). FAA Instrument Handbook (PDF). US: Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc. pp. 1–21.  

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