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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.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A330 Flap Logic

"Regarding normal flap operation: I never understood how the flaps 1 position worked on an airbus. I see the flap lever only has a "1" position, but the indicator sometimes says 1 or 1+F. So when would it have flaps in addition to slats? Is it an FMS input or system logic?”

This is a great question, and this is how the system works:

Anytime the flap lever is moved to position 1, the slats move.

The question is… when will the flaps come out?

In this photo, the flaps and slats are out… thus the 1+F. Meaning, flaps 1 have been selected. On the left we see that slats "S" are in position 1, and on the right flaps "F" are in position 1.

If only slats were out, then we would only see 1.

In addition to the slats, the flaps will also extend to 1 when…
  • Anytime on the ground.
If we’re planning a departure, we want our flaps out, not just the slats. Airbus logic knows this and the flaps will extend too.
  • Anytime we’re retracting from flaps "greater than" 1, the flaps will stay at 1 until we move them to "O" position.
Sequentially this makes sense when retracting. We wouldn’t want them to go from flaps 2 to up, losing our lift, until we're ready

When won't we get flaps 1 when we select the 1 position?
  • When airborne and we go from a clean wing to flaps 1 selection we only get the slats. Flaps will not come out until we select flaps 2 position.
When flying this plane everyone knows that Flaps 1 on arrival doesn’t really do a whole lot for slowing their plane. Do they know why? I'm not sure how many remember that we don't even have flaps when we select 1.

So what would be a really good beer question?
  • In flight when you select flaps one, how many flaps come out? Answer…. ZERO.

Enjoy the Journey!

XOX Karlene


  1. Haha great explanation! Exactly the same on the A320.

    Surprised my peeps didn't ask this exact Q during our 6-part Q&A, but glad they didn't--you did an excellent job explaining it!

    1. I knew there was a reason that A320 pilots made the best A330 pilots. :) Thanks for the comment.


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