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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A330: The Mystery of Manual Thrust

I was asked about "how" the thrust levers worked in manual. I think the confusion lies in the detents on the quadrant.

In auto, we position the power by placing the thrust levers in a particular detent depending upon the phase of flight. The detents on the A330 thrust quadrant are:

O: At the aft stop. Idle, where reverse thrust can be pulled up.
CL: Climb. Used for Climb and Cruise.
FLX / MCT: Flex or Derated Power and Max Continuous Thrust. Used for takeoff with a derated power setting, or if we lost an engine.
TO / GA: Maximum Takeoff Power and Go Around. Used for a max power takeoff and a go-around.

The mystery of the thrust levers in manual is no mystery.

When in manual, they operate exactly like any other jet. The power increases as you move them forward, and reduces when you bring them aft. They do, however, send electronic information to the engines.

The real mystery of the thrust on the A330 is how it operates in Auto. That is a lesson for another day because I am in Paris... and need a nap before I head out on the town.

I took this picture out the van window, two blocks away, and tonight I will see her lit up.

A strike is on in France... riots, burning.... and some planes are not getting out because they can't get fuel. We carried enough in, in the event the crew taking our plane out needed to fly somewhere to fuel up before heading home. I'm not sure what we'll see tonight. The city is very quiet this morning... except for the sirens in the distance.

Enjoy the Journey!

~ Karlene


  1. I love reading about the details of flying an airplane, Karlene. This and your recent one on landing (and others)--so interesting!
    Looks like a beautiful day in Paris weatherwise. Stay safe; I know you'll have fun!

  2. You must take a picture of it all lit up! Be safe! :)

  3. Thanks for answering the question Karlene. Good to know it can be flown like an "old fashion" airplane!

  4. Thanks Linda! I had a great dinner. Walked to the tower, and bought a bunch of mini Eiffel Towers for Krysta's class as prizes for her students. Then a flight attendant gave me a bar of chocolate and I almost finished it. Making of a perfect layover. Tomorrow... power walk through the city.

  5. Hey Vic, I did take a picture of it lit up. Actually, got a couple cool night pictures. Will post on Sunday because I have a really GREAT Friday Flyer tomorrow! You'll have to stop by and say hello!

  6. Hey Karlene,
    Thanks for explaining the power levers. I would love to be flying that bird across the ocean now! Unfortunately tommorow I am going to be in a 172 over North Dakota being evaluated on my commercial piloting abilities :)
    Not quite as fun as flyig the 330! have a good flight back to the states.

  7. Good Luck on your commercial license! We want an update on your experience. I know it will be great!

  8. Great explanation of the thrust levers. As a Boeing/Douglas guy with no jump seat time on an Airbus those levers have always been mysterious to me. Still can't get used to the idea of nothing moving in the flight deck in auto flight. I'm old school, I guess!

  9. Thanks for the comments JP. I'm going write about the autothrust next week. The automated thrust levers are the real mystery to most... but they really aren't you'll like that one.


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