Trimming the Aircraft


  • Trimming is one of the most basic skills a pilot must possess
  • It generally does not come easy to most pilots and therefore requires attention and practice

All procedures here are GENERALIZED for learning.
Fly the maneuver in accordance with the Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)
and/or current Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Trim Basics:

  • You are working to trim for an airspeed!
  • If you are changing your airspeed in any way then your trim will be off


  1. Set and steady your airspeed (can be in a climb, descent, or level)
  2. Set the initial trim position by reducing the pressure on the controls
    • If the nose feels heavy, trim nose up
    • If the nose feels light, trim nose down
  3. Take your hands off of the controls
    • If the nose stays level, your trim has been set
    • If the nose wants to go up, you didn't set enough down trim
    • If the nose wants to go down, you didn't set enough up trim
  4. Set the attitude, then trim off the pressure with the appropriate correction
  5. Repeat steps 3 - 4 until the aircraft maintains the desired attitude

Common Errors:

  • Over controlling
  • Trimming when the aircraft's airspeed is changing

Airman Certification Standards:

Airman Certification Standards: