Plane pitches up hard when flaps deployed - how to counter?

Took the 208 Caravan out for the first time and noticed when I deployed each stage of flaps during approach (all within white arc speed and not using AP), the plane pitched up hard.

I read this also happens to a number of other planes in the sim too.

If you’ve experienced this too, is this a bug or it’s just how the plane naturally reacts?

In any case, how do you best counter it? Do you :

(1) reduce throttle either before or after dropping the flaps ; or

(2) just hold the stick down as you drop the flaps to keep the aircraft pitched level and wait for the speed to come down, at which point you let go of the stick, adjust AoA with pitch trim?

(3) or is there a better way?

There may indeed be an issue where you are getting excessive pitch up, but I can’t comment on that not seeing what’s happening. Adding flaps will add lift and drag. Without going deep, In many high-wing aircraft this will cause a pitch up moment but not in all aircraft. Low wing for instance will often pitch nose down. . In your case, you’d have to push forward and/or at least re-trim the aircraft based on the new configuration.

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Flaps will effect the pitch of the aircraft. Often (but not always) this can manifest as a ballooning and pitch up with loss of airspeed.

Generally the more flaps are applied, the more the aircraft needs to be pitched nose down TO MAINTAIN THE SAME AIRSPEED. If you have two aircraft flying at the same airspeed the one with flaps applied will be in a nose down attitude compared to the flapless one. Clearly the one with flaps applied therefore will have a better view of the runway AT THE SAME AIRSPEED.

Hence if you are on approach and maintaining the correct airspeed and then deploy or retract flaps you will need to adjust pitch to keep the approach speed correct.

Once your speed has stabilised at the correct speed you may also need to adjust throttle to maintain the optimal descent rate for the approach.

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I get some pitch up in C-17, and in F-14. So, before I extend flaps, I trim down nose. Sometimes I am negative trim by -5 so not fighting stick upon approach. It’s worse in MSFS. FSX and XP both have a touch, but not enough to cause massive difficulties. That will help. Trim is never zero in any plane on shutdown of AP system, trim stays where last set. This would be elevator trim.

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The b2n islander from Blackbox simulations does the same Thing, idk if its realistic or not, never flown a real plane unfortunately, but What I do is play with the yoke and trim while flaps are being deployed. Works out fine most of the time but its a little bit of a fiddle

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Not sure about the amount of pitch up, but the tendency is certainly realistic. You can see this also in Youtube videos of people flying those planes.

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the effect flaps can have when being deployed can be annoying, I agree. I think it’s more exacerbated in the sim because you can’t feel the aircraft buoy up with the added lift so the pitch up helps show the effect the flaps are having. That being said, I thought the TBM going from flaps TO to flaps LDG was really bad but I talked to my cousin who has extensive flight hours in them and he confirmed it can be upsetting - he says he would normally deploy spoilers at the same time (800 series) or drop the gear in the 930 since the spoilers are auto-linked to the ailerons in the recent versions

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Probably not as ‘intense’ as it looks flying with a static screen without feedback, the reverse of when you think you jumped a massive wake in a boat from afar it just looks like you bobbed a bit. I think it all seems pretty realistic throughout the aircraft I’ve flown in the sim, but if you are deploying full landing flaps on a 172 at over 100KIAS trying to slow it down it’s going to behave a bit like Mary Poppins.

If you add flaps at the proper slowed speeds it’s very predictable and easy to trim right though it. You also tend to get more and more ‘delicate’ on the sim controls over a while as your butt is not making you manhandle the controls at all like you would without even knowing you did it IRL. Watch how much movement of the yoke you see taking off in a video of a real pilot in an average GA or light commercial aircraft, after a while in the sim you probably find you’re barely pulling it back an inch. Especially with the TB trim wheel, you just don’t have a sensation to crank back on a yoke at the drop of a hat and the trim wheel can do way more than it should to essentially fly the aircraft in the sim.

A funny wake up call as to how ‘sensitive’ I have become to the non FFB yoke is when I jump back into the racing rig and a ‘regular’ setup I had for F1, where you KNOW when you have 1" too much curb and have put hour after hour hotlapping tuning setups trying to keep your line within a few inches lap after lap after lap, it feels like it’s going to break my arms off for about 20 minutes before I get used to it again. Just wrestle the ■■■■ plane back into line.

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Adjust your airspeed until the needle is well inside the white arc on the indicator then set flaps 1.

Adjust throttle to maintain the airspeed while pushing down on the nose.

At the FAF, set flaps 2 while nosing down and set your approach speed.

Don’t exit the white arc as this is your stall speed.


Fly a real 152 or 172 (especially in cold air) and you will find it is a real effect. I can still hear my instructor’s voice from 35 years ago telling me to hold the nose down with forward yoke pressure after applying flaps. 10 degrees wasn’t much, but 20 and 30 required deliberate forward pressure to hold the nose over as the flaps moved into each position.

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The 152 especially.

Again, I think the non FFB world of yokes, we tend to just get too delicate with them and just don’t think to push that sucker forward, and especially with the TB, the habit seems to be to immediately start riding the trim wheel.

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In real-life, flying with trim instead of yoke is a good way to fail your next check ride.

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That’s pretty much true to life for the Caravan. I think I’ve posted about it before on this forum, but in the real C208B, the pitch change when adding/removing flaps is pretty noticeable. I generally will start adding trim up/down a full second prior to flap actuation and continue applying trim while the flaps are in transit. Actually, the fact that you’re noticing a pronounced pitch movement is good news - in the early versions of MSFS there wasn’t much pitch reaction to the flaps being extended/retracted.

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All real planes will pitch up when you add flaps and it’s perfectly normal behavior. I’ve flown a few Cessna’s (my preferred plane was a 1973 Piper Warrior) and the lighter the plane, the more it ill pitch up when adding flaps. You generally hold the yoke forward when descending to approach with your left hand and extend the flaps using your right hand. Adding flaps increases your lift and will pitch the nose you as a result. You’ll need to press forward on the yoke to compensate while the plane settles and the speed decreases. You may have to adjust the trim (nose down) a bit if your air speed decreases too much or add power to compensate.

I have found the sim to be very sensitive to trim and changes in flaps. A real plane is much less sensitive if trimmed properly for descent and approach. Never flown a real C208 so I’m not sure how it handles in real life.

Happy flying.

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Got it. So basically IRL, to counter the pitch up, it’s yoke first, then trim, if at all, for minor adjustments.

What’s FFB and TB by the way? — pardon my ignorance :thinking:

FFB = Force Feedback

TB probably refers to Turtle Beach who make the Velocity One

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Yes PAT - Power, Attitude, Trim

Trim is always the last thing :wink:


Exactly! It was a similar routine…Add flaps, reach down and dial in a good turn of nose down trim.

This is why it would be more immersive to have force feedback.

MS did have a FF stick many years ago, so it can be done.