Understanding the autopilot

In a entry entitled Your friend George, John Ewing of Aviation Mentor has posted a detailed article examining some of the common mistakes pilots make when using the autopilot, how to avoid these mistakes and when to best make use of the autopilot.

GFC 700 Some of the most common mistakes that John has observed through the years include “pilots who don’t know or respect the altitude limitations for their autopilot” and “pilots who have never been trained in the use of autopilots and lack system-level knowledge.” He points out how critical it is for pilots to understand the autopilot function after the recent events in Florida where a pilot died at the controls of an aircraft in flight and a passenger was forced to take control and had to first wrest control of the plane from the autopilot.

Moreover, John points out that use of the autopilot is not “cheating,” it just “another type of flying.” In fact, he lists a number of high workload phases of flight where a pilot using the autopilot is the equivalent of a good manager who delegates and concludes by saying that being “proficient in autopilot management isn’t cheating, it’s often the smart thing to do.”

For any pilot who flies a plane with an autopilot feature, John Ewing’s post is a must read.

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