I have a number of questions about auto-pilots but rather than deluge you with a long prose here let me break them down into separate questions over the next little while.
From playing around with simulators I know that the pilot has the ability to enter desired altitudes, climb rates, heading etc into the auto-pilot. However, and forgive me, whenever I see a pilot engage the auto-pilot in movies etc, it is simply a flip of the switch.
So that got me wondering how the transition is made in actuality.
Does the pilot need to enter the current altitude, heading etc before flicking the switch or does the AP take the current numbers and hold those automatically.
If it is the latter and the aircraft is in say a climbing turn when the switch is clicked.. then what? Does the aircraft continue in that pattern or what?