Overhead Scan - Air Conditioning Panel

As you might expect, the air conditioning system in the Airbus is a bit more complex than the air conditioner in your car. It's also more important than you may think – so much so that the official manual you have to study about the air conditioning system is over 300 pages.

We'll be summarizing that down to the bare essentials, but we'll still need to dedicate an entire series of posts to it.

Drawing: Eric Bradley [© 2015]

PACK FLOW should be set to NORM, and the X-BLEED selector should be set to AUTO unless you have some special reason to choose a different setting. The remaining 3 selectors can be set to whatever you want. If you want to freeze the people in first class and heat up the people in economy, that's entirely up to you.

Actually setting the FWD and AFT selectors to opposing extreme values could create some interesting effect, but in practice this is not a sensible experiment. You really should try to make sure the value is some setting that will be comfortable for all the pax and crew.

You may have noticed the surprising lack of precision to temperature selection. Even home air conditioning units let you choose a specific temperature (of course, though, they never seem to actually give you that specific temperature). So it is interesting that we just get these rotary selectors with anonymous settings between HOT and COLD. See, the problem is that there's no way to know in advance just how hot or cold these values are.

Final step on this panel is to extinguish any illuminated lights except the APU BLEED light if you are running the APU.