Do you need anything other than approach mode to be able to have the plane fly the ILS to minimums? Do you need a EFD (glass cokpit) or can it be done with steam gages as well?

  • $\begingroup$ You’ll need to better specify the equipment available and how it’s connected. As it is there’s too many unknowns. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ What is required for a plane to have that ability? $\endgroup$
    – Boeing787
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ To fly an ILS in general or to fly a coupled approach (with autopilot) $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 22:31
  • $\begingroup$ To be able fly an ILS. $\endgroup$
    – Boeing787
    Commented May 24, 2022 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ But you accepted the answer specific to flying a coupled approach (with autopilot)?! $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2022 at 2:46

1 Answer 1


In order to "have the plane fly an ILS to minimums" - i.e. an autopilot-coupled approach - you'd need

  • an ILS receiver (which would be comprised of both localizer & glideslope receivers)
  • an approach coupler as part of the autopilot
  • a functional display of the localizer and GS so that the pilot can monitor the autopilot's performance
  • the necessary approval from the aircraft manufacturer, unless it's an Experimental aircraft
  • the necessary OpSpec approval in the case of an airline operation
  • all the other stuff you'd need to fly an ILS by hand (altimeter, etc)

Things you wouldn't need:

  • glass cockpit (flying a coupled ILS predates glass cockpits by a couple of decades)
  • digital anything (analog autopilots can do this just fine)

NOTE HOWEVER that a hand-flown ILS approach to minimums is entirely possible in most cases, and none of the stuff related to the autopilot is necessary at all. (Some minima like Cat II or Cat III with certain equipment can be the exception to that "most cases" statement.) And that also pre-dates all digital displays by decades.

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    $\begingroup$ Plus the stuff listed in 91.205(d) and for CAT II approaches the stuff in Appendix A of that part. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented May 25, 2022 at 7:41
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    $\begingroup$ I’m confused too, why do you need an autopilot? The question isn’t about coupled approaches. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25, 2022 at 14:58
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    $\begingroup$ I read the phrase "to have the plane fly the ILS to minimums" as a reference to a coupled approach, and thus distinct from simply what's required for the pilot to hand-fly the ILS. Re-reading the OP's comments seems to indicate that his intent was otherwise. Though he accepted this answer. I'll edit the answer so it's more clear what my list refers to. @MichaelHall $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Commented May 25, 2022 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @RalphJ Thanks!!! $\endgroup$
    – Boeing787
    Commented May 25, 2022 at 21:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Boeing787, well I don't think you did a very good job clarifying that when Jim asked above... $\endgroup$ Commented May 26, 2022 at 5:42

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