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    #1

    To pull back on the throttles

    Hello there,
    I'm having trouble with one phrase, namely "to pull back on the throttles". The threads existing on the Internet that relate to it are unclear. Some say it means reducing speed, some that it's speeding up. The context is taking off in a small aircraft. It would be hard to believe that "reducing" the speed is the case here because the engine is "gunned", the plane roars down the runway and the pilot is generally insane. Could someone please tell me if "pulling back on the throttles" can change the meaning depending on the context? (like, sometimes it could mean reducing speed and sometimes it could mean speeding up) If it can't... then.... any ideas?
    All the best!
    Julia

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    #2

    Re: To pull back on the throttles

    Not A Teacher.

    As I understand it the throttle in an aircraft is normally set so that pushing it forwards increases speed and pulling it back decreases it. So pulling back on the throttle would reduce speed.
    I live about 2 miles from an airport and hear aircraft taking off on a regular basis, from what I have heard they appear to use the highest amount of thrust to get off the ground but fairly soon after leaving the ground reduce this to normal cruising thrust. I judge this by the pitch of the engine noise.
    It could be the pilot in this story is pulling back on the throttles to get to normal cruising thrust just after taking off.

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: To pull back on the throttles

    Quote Originally Posted by Jucydko View Post
    Hello there,
    I'm having trouble with one phrase, namely "to pull back on the throttles". The threads existing on the Internet that relate to it are unclear. Some say it means reducing speed, some that it's speeding up. The context is taking off in a small aircraft. It would be hard to believe that "reducing" the speed is the case here because the engine is "gunned", the plane roars down the runway and the pilot is generally insane. Could someone please tell me if "pulling back on the throttles" can change the meaning depending on the context? (like, sometimes it could mean reducing speed and sometimes it could mean speeding up) If it can't... then.... any ideas?
    All the best!
    Julia
    No S - throttle should be singular. It means "slow down." In the U.S., we call the throttle of the car the gas pedal. In a machine with no brakes (for instance, a lawnmower or airplane), we call it a throttle.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #4

    Re: To pull back on the throttles

    Not A Teacher

    In many types aircraft with more than one engine there are banks of throttles that serve each engine.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrust_lever

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    #5

    Re: To pull back on the throttles

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    No S - throttle should be singular. It means "slow down." In the U.S., we call the throttle of the car the gas pedal. In a machine with no brakes (for instance, a lawnmower or airplane), we call it a throttle.
    I expect it should be singular, but in the text its plural. Thanks a lot though! I'll keep that in mind (the meaning and that a plane slows down right after taking off). But how could a throttle be the gas pedal of planes? If I'm not wrong, you can't unpush the gas pedal. I mean, it only serves to accelerate, not reduce the speed, but as I see a throttle can be used as both?

    Mrfatso, is the picture in your link a throttle? Would seem fit in the context (the man used his elbows to move them) and would help me too.

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    #6

    Re: To pull back on the throttles

    Not A Teacher

    Yes the thrust levers would be the throttle, in an aircraft cockpit.
    They control the speed of an aircraft by regulating the amount of fuel that travels to each engine, but unlike a cars accelerator pedal in BrE, gas pedal in AmE, can be set to a particular position and will stay there unless altered by the pilot.

    Reducing the amount you press the pedal in a car will reduce the speed, as you cut the flow of fuel to the engine the car will gradual slow down. In order to slow down quickly you need to use the brake however.
    Last edited by Mrfatso; 22-Apr-2015 at 06:30.

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: To pull back on the throttles

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrfatso View Post
    Not A Teacher

    In many types aircraft with more than one engine there are banks of throttles that serve each engine.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrust_lever
    You're right. I never thought of that. Throttles is probably fine, then. Thanks!
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #8

    Re: To pull back on the throttles

    "As I understand it the throttle in an aircraft is normally set so that pushing it forwards increases speed and pulling it back decreases it. So pulling back on the throttle would reduce speed."

    In current English usage "pull back on the throttles" means to reduce both power and speed.

    Turning to technicalities, it is true that in modern jet airplanes the throttles are used to increase or decrease speed. But in propeller driven airplanes speed is controlled by aircraft attitude (not power setting), and altitude by setting power via the throttle.

    I have been a licenced pilot since 1970.
    Last edited by probus; 25-Apr-2015 at 06:36.

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