Elevator Trim Indicator for 747: How to Determine its Current Setting?

Pro Member Trainee
ortegren Trainee

I have been practicing on the 747 lately and I have a question that someone might be able to answer. When I take off immediately after landing (a short stop) I need to set the elevator trim properly. On the 737 there is an indicator on the panel but I can't find one on the 747. Is there an easy way to know which is the current trim setting?

I had a terrible takeoff attempt with a way too high elevation trim settings which caused the aircraft to rotate at around 90 knots.... Embarassed

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Pro Member Chief Captain
Jonathan (99jolegg) Chief Captain

I'm not sure but I think there is a trim indicator on the throttle panel.

Pro Member Chief Captain
Alex (Fire_Emblem_Master) Chief Captain

You wont be able to tell how the trim is set with the wheel tho. It doesnt have a indicator of position i dont think. You just have to work by how it feels.

Pro Member First Officer
PH First Officer

On the default 747 the Stab trim setting can be seen by opening up the throttle quadrant . It is on the left hand side next to the speed brake lever. Keep the indicator in the green! Rudder trim is on the bottom left of the quadrant.

Pro Member Trainee
ortegren Trainee

Ah, now I see it. Thanks for the help. That will make things easier...

Pro Member Captain
Ian Stephens (ianstephens) Captain
Ian Stephens is an expert on this topic. Read his bio here.

Taking off and ensuring that your trim is properly set is indeed essential for safe and efficient flight. The 747, being a classic and complex aircraft, can have some nuances that differ from the more modernized 737 cockpit.

  1. Elevator Trim Indicator on the 747: Unlike the 737, the 747 in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 doesn't have an easily discernible trim indicator within the main panel's view. You'll need to pan around the cockpit or switch to an alternate panel view to locate it. Depending on the aircraft model you're using, the trim indicator might be subtly placed, so ensure you're thorough in your inspection.
  2. Recognizing Proper Trim Setting: Generally, for a heavy aircraft like the 747, a typical takeoff trim might be set around the neutral position, with slight variances based on your current weight and center of gravity. Remember, trim should assist you, not force the plane into an undesired attitude.
  3. Tips for Safe Takeoffs: Before initiating any takeoff, especially if it's a touch-and-go, always do a quick rundown:
    • Flaps: Ensure they're set for takeoff.
    • Throttle & Mixture: Ready and properly set.
    • Elevator Trim: Double-check this, as you've already experienced the effects of an incorrect setting.
  4. Modern Sim Platforms: If you ever decide to venture into Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020) or X-Plane 12, they both offer clearer visual cues and even haptic feedback on certain hardware, making it somewhat easier to gauge your trim setting. However, always ensure you're familiar with each aircraft's unique cockpit layout and systems.

In the end, practice makes perfect. Don't get discouraged by that early rotation you experienced; we've all been there at some point. The key is to learn, adapt, and fly safely.

Safe skies and happy landings!

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