For EASA OPS requirements, must an airline transport airplane be fitted with an autopilot system?

  • $\begingroup$ I'm an ATPL student in Eu and during my study I have read that for FWS (Flight warning System) It is a requirement for EASA OPS to have an ALTITUDE ALERTING SYSTEM for all turbjet aircraft and turbine powered ac weighing more than 5700kg or has more than 9 seats. But I have not found nothing about the requirements for A/P for aircraft. $\endgroup$ – Andrea Ghilardi Oct 20 '17 at 10:00

Indeed EASA requires "autopilot" but they don't state it directly like "every airliner flying in the European airspace must be autopilot equipped". They require it indirectly.

When I first read your post I immediately thought of RVSM. I recall talking to an ATCO (retired now) about automation on board, and he told me that without autopilot you cannot fly in RVSM airspace.

So I had a look in skybrary concerning RVSM and they did the dirty job for us. They mention all 3 EASA regulations IR-OPS SPA.RVSM.100 and SPA.RVSM.110, EU-OPS 1.241, EU-OPS 1.872 and they have quoted the interesting parts:

Regulatory Requirements[...]

An operator shall ensure that aeroplanes operated in RVSM airspace are equipped with:[...]

An automatic altitude control system

Emphasis is mine.

There might be other regulations requiring other automatic flight components but I am not aware of them although a quick look in the documents reveals references to auto-land systems as well so these documents cover more than RVSM.

The summary is that EASA does not simply specify "you need autopilot if you fly an airliner" but they go into detail, of what they require and for what reason.


RVSM Reduced Vertical Separation Minima

ATCO Air Traffic Control Officer

  • $\begingroup$ This answer could be improved by expanding RVSM at least once. $\endgroup$ – Erin Anne Oct 20 '17 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ @ErinAnne hope it's better now :) $\endgroup$ – Stelios Adamantidis Oct 23 '17 at 15:09
  • $\begingroup$ Absolutely! Though you left out EASA from your acronyms (kidding, kidding) $\endgroup$ – Erin Anne Oct 23 '17 at 18:31

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