Link to the Airbus A400M site:
Is the autopilot insulting the pilots when an airplane lands? Press the play button below to listen the sound of an Airbus A320 during the round out and flare:
Whenever I'm sitting in first class on an Airbus, I hear the computer call out the altitude just before landing. I also hear it say "Retard". What exactly does that mean? I thought it must be the signal to deploy spoilers and reverse thrust.
No, it's nothing to do with the spoilers or reverse thrust. The word "retard" is a reminder to pilots to bring the thrust levers to idle during the landing maneuver, known as the "flare," just prior to touchdown. If the autothrottles are engaged, which they are most of the time on highly-automated aircraft such as the Airbus, the thrust will go to idle on its own just prior to touchdown on landing.
By the way, there is another theory that the word "retard' is said by the airplane to pilots as an insult by a French airplane to Americans who fly it, but it's conceivable our imaginations may be a tad too active. C'est la vie!""
Here is more about autoland procedures:
(BTW: Do NOT click "Back to Table of Contents" on the bottom of that page since there is strange html code on those pages. What ever the linked page was ok.)
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