High angle of attack or flaps?

I was just getting a scoop on community opinion. Should I put more flaps or high angle of attack? Just curious on people’s thoughts.

Please be more specific, what’s issues are you having and with what aircraft?

This is not asking for a specific problem. Just looking for a general idea

Technically, we cannot help you if you don’t give us a reason to a specific interest. It is like piloting a plane with no experience once so ever and your trying to fly it blind

But @Chatta290 has a point. Be more specific. We have no idea what for, a high angle of attack for climb; or flaps? A high angle of attack for descent; or flaps? We can’t just give a general idea.

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I was flying a 787-9 today on a approach to an airport in Europe. I let my plane fly and maintain an altitude at a 5-7 degree up angle of attack. Should I add more flaps, keep it the way it is, or allow a high angle of attack?

there you go

It’s less about that and more of the correct way to set up a landing profile. Ensure you’re maintaining the correct speed and avoiding the stall of the aircraft via flaps. The first 50% of flap deployment increases lift and angle of attack of the airframe.

5-7 degrees is kinda pushing it… either you’re going too slow without flaps to assist you, or you’ve applied flaps while flying too fast for them to be effective at lower speeds, prompting the lift portion of the airframe.


Were you struggling to maintain that? What was your flap setting and speed at the time? I reccomined looking at the tutorials.

The plane was flying fine.
@JoshFly8 I was maintaining around 6000 feet agl on approach, so not really landing, yet

Damn @JoshFly8 you got there before me😂

Configuration: 240 knots or so with no flaps I think. No guarentee on airspeed but was under mlw and I can guarentee no flaps

It should be around 140KIAS and full flaps for landing

the 787 model has the flap deployment speeds in the cockpit. (Max deployment speeds). In the 787, I would use flaps after exceeding 5 degrees pitch in level flight, given the speed was suitable. Different aircraft have different flying characteristics, but just go with what feels stable


Wow I’m attending school to be an Aircraft mechanic and I still didn’t know that.!!!

Pitch for airspeed, throttle for altitude. I’m releasing a tutorial for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk soon covering this.


I’m no expert, but that’s just what I do when using the sim. Just as a general rule of thumb

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For info: Angle of Attack (AoA) is not the same as pitch attitude.

AoA is the angle between the aerofoils chord line (which is a line drawn through the cross section of an aircrafts wing between the leading & trailing edge) and the direction of airflow.

Pitch Attitude is simply the attitude at which the aircraft is in relation to the horizon (or the lateral axis to be absolutely correct).

The biggest rule to remember is that:


All aircraft perform differently so it is difficult to answer anything without addressing a lot of factors; to keep it simple I’d suggest the following ‘rule of thumb’ but this in no way mimics real world procedures or solves every problem imaginable!

Flying below FL100 at or below MLW on the assumption you will be flying an approach in the near future. 250kts with no flaps is fine.

When you start to slow down and configure, the pitch attitude will naturally increase to maintain straight & level flight. When the speed falls below the maximum speed for flap extension (known as VFE Next) then you can select the next stage of flap. I’d suggest giving yourself a 10-15kt margin before extending it but that’s up to you. So for example, in the A320, Flap 3 VFE Next is 185kts so when I’m at about 170kts with Flap 2 already extended, I’ll select Flap 3.

With the above process you can’t really go wrong and for the most part you will be flying the correct speed with the correct flap setting.

On a side note, high nose up pitch attitudes are quite normal with some flap settings, especially those that introduce slats only.


Every plane flys different. Every plane has different speeds and flap settings they land at. Just know, just because there is a flap setting availed doesn’t mean it’s used. The MD lands at 35* not the 50* that is available. The 737 lands at 30* not the 40* that’s available. The MD lands at a faster speed then others as well.

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As said above, it differs plane to plane but I’d say the general ideology IRL is to maintain a stable pitch that is fuel efficient.

Actually people will land the 73 at 40 irl, around 130 kts