I am learning to fly nowadays, I am sorry if this sounds like a dump question.

What is the throttle setting of an aircraft during cruise flight?

After stabilizing the flight after climb do i need to turn down the throttle?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about a small Cessna, or a large airliner, or something else? $\endgroup$
    – fooot
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 2:35
  • $\begingroup$ I suspect that it may vary based on the aircraft you are flying. Can you please provide some clarification about this? $\endgroup$
    – dalearn
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ This is a pretty broad topic. Can you narrow it down to a specific aircraft? $\endgroup$ Commented May 12, 2018 at 15:15

2 Answers 2


Broadly speaking its what ever you chose it to be. You should always refer to your aircrafts POH for the information specific to your airframe and engine. Beyond the POH there may also be supplemental engine information from the maker.

Generally take off and at least initial climb out occur at full throttle. Then at when you reach your cruising altitude you will throttle back to your cruise power setting and level off.

For example lets take a look at the charts for a PA-28

You can chose your desired power setting based on a desired fuel burn enter image description here

Then refer to this chart to see your airspeed. enter image description here

You can then use these numbers for your flight planing, or work backwards to achieve a target airspeed.

For a trainer these numbers tend to be not all that large of a range. My Archer will do a full power climb out at 2650RPM then throttle back to about 2450RPM for cruise. Higher performance aircraft may have larger ranges as well as more complex operating limitations. Some engines have time limits on which they can be at full throttle and most have thermal operating limits if you decide to dance on the mixture lever. Turbo or super chargers may also add an additional level of management to prevent over boosting. Modern digital engine analyzers allow for a level of precision previously unachievable.

AOPA has a decent article on power management over all, you can find it here.

Pro Tip: A lot of small trainers print the engine performance data on the inside of the sun shade so you dont need to thumb through the POH in flight.

  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "what ever you chose it to be". It's much the same as with a car: you can choose to drive in the fast lane, burning lots more gas to get there a bit quicker, or you can ease back and not burn as much. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 5:41

It depends a lot on the particular aircraft, but generally power is reduced from full climb power to about 65% or 75% power at cruise.

On a typical fixed pitch, piston powered training aircraft like a C152 or C172, you would reduce from full throttle to about 2300-2400 RPM when you level off at cruising altitude.

Keep in mind that a typical piston powered aircraft only makes full rated takeoff power at sea level on a 15 degree C day.

If you depart an airport at at 2000’ on a hot day, you already have less than full power. If you were to climb to 7,500’ with the throttle pushed all the way in, due to density altitude, you only have about 75% power being produced.


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