What degree of flaps and throttle setting are used on takeoff, climb, cruise, descent, and landing? This question is for private and general aviation aircraft. I have looked everywhere for FAA manuals on this but I can't find anything, if there is a manual please link it.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! This information is different for different aircraft, and also for the type of takeoff, e.g. from a short runway. If you can tell us a specific model of aircraft that you're interested in, that would help to make this more answerable. You can also search the site for previous questions that might be useful, like this one. And if you're new here, the tour may be interesting to understand how the site works. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 15 '18 at 18:58
  • $\begingroup$ Adding to Pondlife's comment, please note that there is no such thing as "private and general aviation aircraft". General Aviation (GA) is a class of operations, not a class of aircraft. Provided that you have enough money (and the appropriate ratings), nothing really prevents you from using an Airbus A380 or a Boeing 747 for GA, just like that there's little preventing you from running (especially nonscheduled) air service in something like a Cessna 172 for moving one or two people into a small outback field in the middle of nowhere. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Dec 15 '18 at 19:51

The exact numbers vary for each model of aircraft, so the FAA et al can't provide direct guidance; regulations just say to operate according to the manufacturer's specifications and procedures.

Still, that's not too helpful, so I'll give answers for the C172, which is one of the most common light planes. Other models will vary somewhat but likely follow the same general theme.

  • Short takeoff: 10° flaps, full throttle
  • Normal takeoff: no flaps, full throttle
  • Climb: no flaps, high-full throttle
  • Cruise: no flaps, mid-high throttle
  • Descent: no flaps, low-mid throttle
  • Landing: 30°/40° flaps, idle throttle

For the ranges, it's important to note that the pilot doesn't set the throttle to a particular position per se; he/she adjusts it as needed until the desired performance (or for cruise, economy) is achieved.


Consult your aircraft's POH or AFM! They are designed by the manufacturer specifically to guide the pilot in operating the aircraft confidently. Most POH's/AFM's are laid out in a similar format:

  • General
  • Limitations
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Normal Procedures
  • Performance
  • Weight & Balance
  • Aircraft Systems Description
  • Supplemental Information

Your training airplane is required to have a copy on board for flight. Go to the airport and read your aircraft's POH to best become familiar with your airplane.


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