Questions tagged [autopilot]

An autopilot is a system used to guide an aircraft without assistance from a person.

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1answer
90 views

How is the B737NG Autopilot controlling pitch?

In particular, does the Autopilot in a B737NG control the pitch only via trim adjustment, or first via the elevators and then trim?
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Why is it still mandatory to land a plane without autopilot? [duplicate]

I know that there are runways in the world that operate CAT III where the pilot can land with autopilot. But why do most airports with ILS not allow automatic landing?
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What does the autopilot do if activated in a stall condition?

I was thinking about Air France 447 recently and had a wonder: What would happen if the pilots had re-engaged the autopilot and stopped all stick input? (If that's even possible in a stall condition). ...
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Boeing 747 Autopilot PID Controller

For a personal flight simulator project, I am creating my own custom Boeing 747 classic series. I have about 50% of the project complete at a level of detail nearly equivalent to study-level flight ...
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2answers
412 views

How did pilots maintain the Vomit Comet's parabolic trajectory?

How did the Vomit Comet maintain its free-fall trajectory? Careful trimming? Custom autopilot software? Or just good stick and rudder technique? Wikipedia, citing references but without ...
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1answer
489 views

At what point can Approach mode be engaged in an A320?

In my experience using Flightgear and other computer simulators, when flying an ILS approach on an A320, the approach mode can only be engaged at a certain point or later. What is this point, and why ...
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2answers
217 views

How does one resume a VNAV climb in a B737 NG after being instructed to level off at an altitude below the Cruise altitude?

I am referring to a Boeing 737NG. Assuming I am on a VNAV climb but I am instructed by ATC to climb only to an altitude lower than my FMC Cruise altitude. After leveling off, how do I resume my VNAV ...
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1answer
130 views

What is the difference between Level Change and ALT INTV during VNAV descent?

I'm confused between the two. During descent for 737 PMDG, I usually start a descent via ALT INTV, but sometimes the plane doesn't response to ALT INTV but responds to LVL Change instead. I need help ...
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Flying in V formation with multiple planes

Logistically choreographed using air-traffic controllers to pair like planes headed in the same direction or by scheduling flights together, how much fuel could be saved pairing planes to fly in a ...
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1answer
243 views

How to fly an RNAV (RNP) approach with VNAV in a Boeing 737?

Let us assume you are flying a B737NG and you are cleared for an RNAV (RNP) approach which has several legs with different altitude crossing restrictions. What do you enter in the MCP altitude window?...
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228 views

What is the dutch roll filter? How does it work?

Some airplanes have a dutch roll filter for the "yaw damper." What is the dutch roll filter? When is it used? Is it ever required for certification or operation? How does it work?
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1answer
143 views

Why are the A300/310’s electric pitch trim switches inhibited with the autopilot engaged?

The A300/A310, like most other aircraft (except for some small general-aviation aircraft), has an adjustable-incidence-angle horizontal stabiliser, which is used to trim the aircraft in pitch (for ...
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Why does an A300/310 in LAND or GO-AROUND mode have to be at least 400 feet AGL for manual control column movement to disengage the autopilot?

Each of the A300/310’s two autopilots has two modes of operation: In CWS (Control-Wheel Steering) mode, the autopilot(s) attempt to hold the attitude that the aircraft had at the moment of autopilot ...
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1answer
101 views

What profile will a Boeing 737 NG follow after pushing the ALT INTV button?

If one uses the ALT INTV button during a Climb or Descent in the Boeing 737 NG on the MCP, what profile (Speed/Path) will the AP follow in such a climb and/or descent? Is it the same as programmed in ...
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Can commercial automatic flight control fly back-side?

For most commercial flight director, autopilot and auto-throttle systems (e.g. the A330-300, B737-800), the flight director/autopilot flies the altitude hold (ALT) or vertical speed (V/S) mode by ...
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1answer
997 views

Why is the autopilot of the DHC-6 Twin Otter powered by bleed air?

I was just reading through the POH of a DHC-6-100 Twin Otter and was surprised to read the following: 3.8.2 LOW PRESSURE - OTHER SYSTEMS. The airframe deicing system and the autopilot are ...
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0answers
69 views

How often is a commercial (airliner) flight flown without autopilot? [duplicate]

When it comes to commercial flights, I am aware that once the aircraft has reached a certain altitude, the autopilot activates and assists the pilots in flying the aircraft. It makes being a pilot on ...
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1answer
646 views

Why was pitch angle protection not active in the CRJ 200 during the crash of Sweden Air 294?

I have read about the CRJ 200 Sweden Air 294 crash. I understood that the main cause of the accident was faulty IRU and wrong declutter PFD design. The human error also lead the aircraft into a ...
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2answers
179 views

Do all GA autopilots use cable “clutches”?

In researching General Aviation autopilots it seems to me that most commonly the way control surfaces are affected is via a servo that attaches (via a clutch) to the control cable. References here and ...
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3answers
2k views

How often do GA pilots use the Autopilot approach feature while landing?

While flying in simulations, I found that using the Approach feature is very beneficial for riding the glide slope (clear weather or not), however, while watching videos of GA pilots, I do not see it ...
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What does it mean when autoland is fail passive / fail operational?

The below explanation is what I've got from the internet about fail passive and fail operational: Fail operational - Where you have 3 autopilots engaged, such that any single failure will result in ...
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Can I change the max bank angle on the Garmin G1000 in the C172SP?

I wonder if I can change the max bank angle on the G1000/GFC700 avionics in a C172SP, like you can on the MCP of the 737NG?
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1answer
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When will robots take over pilots? [closed]

So, I am considering a career being a pilot. However, the course is real expensive, and I do not want to invest so much money if in a couple of years robots will replace pilots. So, anyone have any ...
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Does auto pilot take into consideration the altitude, speed, and the difference in heading change, to calculate the degree of bank?

Or is there a “standard” that the auto pilot follows at all times? By “standard” I mean the aircraft will bank at x amount of degrees each time regardless of the following mentioned? The more you ...
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Is there any obvious warning when auto-pilot is disengaged or when the mode changes?

Under the investigation section of the First Air Flight 6560 incident, it describes the catalyst for the accident: The approach was entirely flown on autopilot, which was correctly set to capture ...
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Does the AP disengage if the plane is upset and how would the flight controls react if not being held?

Does the AP (autopilot) essentially detect a rapid change in speed/altitude as a wild maneuver? If so, upon disengaging, if the pilots are not holding the control column in a neutral position, will it ...
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1answer
279 views

last 747 flight path, was this hand flown? How was this communicated with ATC? [duplicate]

Elal's last 747 flight made this nice path of a 747, how was this done? Could this be entered into the computer and flown? or was this hand flown The path looks quite neat Also what is the ATC ...
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384 views

Can autopilot navigate automatically?

When the pilots enter their flight plan into the FMGS, the route will be shown on the ND. Can the autopilot automatically turn when needed with the given plan, or the pilots have to manually adjust ...
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2answers
270 views

What happens when auto-pilot fails over the ocean?

Let’s assume the current location puts the aircraft 2 hours from the nearest airport, but the destination is 2 1/2 hours away. Would the pilots hand fly the rest of the way? Are they allowed to fly ...
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2answers
229 views

On Airbus aircraft, can the pilot control the aircraft when the autopilot is active?

I am looking at the schematics of computerized control for Aibus aircraft and I do not understand the relation between the various control law and the autopilot. Under "normal law" can the pilot ...
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3k views

Are there take-over requests from autopilots?

I am thinking of the driver take-over request in automated driving, when the system limits are reached and the back-up driver has to intervene / drive manually. Is there something similar in aviation, ...
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1answer
347 views

Are there any plans to make the QF-16 into a drone for actual combat missions, or a fully autonomous fighter?

It appears to a naive layman like myself that the QF-16 is an excellent platform to use for remote controlled missions akin to that of other drones. Except that the F-16 appears to have a broader ...
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2answers
312 views

Are there any aircraft with retractable vortex generators?

From this answer, “Of course, these also add drag, even when the wing is not stalling, so they are only added where needed”. Are there any aircraft that have vortex generators that are retractable so ...
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5answers
4k views

Why does the autopilot disengage even when it does not receive pilot input?

After having read the disturbing https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_South_Dakota_Learjet_crash I'm left with the question as to why the computer allows for the autopilot to be disengaged when there ...
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1answer
489 views

What is the vertical speed limit when altitude mode is engaged?

This question applies to Airbus' autopilot but may not be restricted to just this manufacturer (there must be equivalent modes on ATR, Embraer, Dassault Falcons, etc.) For the vertical plan, the ...
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1answer
145 views

Changing the interception angle in autopilot for OBS or VOR in the G1000 from 30 to something more aggressive

I am flying the G1000 and have noticed that if I program in an OBS TO or a VOR TO (this might apply to FROM as well), the angle at which I fly relative to my programmed in bearing is 30 degrees. For ...
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3answers
391 views

QF72: How could a disconnected autopilot change the pitch?

So I was reading about flight QF72, where the A330 had incorrect sensor data. The aircraft automatically pitched the nose down twice in response to abnormally high incorrect angle of attack data, but ...
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2answers
230 views

Can an airliner be landed with only the auto pilot or remotely?

In this question: How autonomous are commercial passenger airliners? explains how automated the auto-pilot system can be. Could a pilot or more work the controls of the auto pilot that does not have ...
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2answers
324 views

Can the 737 Max autopilot be engaged when some sensors have failed?

If some instruments on the 737 MAX 8 fail on the Captain's side and autopilot stops, can the First Officer engage autopilot (as the instruments on his side are fine)? In the ET 302 crash the Captain ...
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0answers
65 views

Do aircraft use some kind of stability control to keep the aircraft on the runway during landing? [duplicate]

Modern automobiles use an electronic system called ESP to keep the car on track in slippery situations. Do modern jet liners have a similar system to aid the pilot in keeping the aircraft on the ...
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3answers
8k views

Why are on-board computers allowed to change controls without notifying the pilots?

Recently we've had the 737-MAX debacle, where it increasingly appears that the MAX on-board MCAS system repeatedly would issue nose-down events, leading to the Lion Air crash, and possibly another ...
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3answers
438 views

How is device control software checked for quality?

Many, many reports on the now infamous MCAS suggest a software patch is forthcoming in the next several weeks that will address the confounding single point of failure with the two AOA sensors that ...
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1answer
318 views

Why can’t takeoff rejection be automated?

According to this comment on my previous question about automatic instrument takeoffs (or, rather, the lack thereof), the reason takeoffs are always flown manually is to allow the pilot to quickly ...
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1answer
4k views

Are the Boeing MCAS and Airbus Alpha Protection systems the same?

I have a little question concerning MCAS from Boeing and Alpha Protection from Airbus. I think these two systems are the same, if I'm wrong please tell me. If the two 737 MAX crashed because of the ...
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1answer
258 views

Could the autopilot have rectified the flight path without any crew input on the Aeroflot Flight 593?

In the case of the Aeroflot Flight 593 air crash, could the autopilot have rectified the flight path of the Airbus at any point if the crew had not attempted to correct the spin, even while partially ...
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0answers
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Does an autopilot that controls roll, pitch and a yaw damper meet the requirements of 135.105(c)(1)?

For single-pilot VFR operations, 14 CFR 135.105(c)(1) requires that: The autopilot is capable of operating the aircraft controls to maintain flight and maneuver it about the three axes Does this ...
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2answers
2k views

Why is autolanding ILS a thing, but not autotakeoffing ITS? [duplicate]

In this answer to the question of why zero-visibility landings are legal and routine but not zero-visibility takeoffs, the poster makes the following point: When an aircraft lands in near zero ...
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3answers
852 views

Can you fly the plane manually without disengaging autopilot?

Let's say you are engaged a Boeing 777 with autopilot on and you bank or pitch. Will the plane respond?. If so. will the plane try to return to its parameters once you quit handling the controls?. ...
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1answer
75 views

Does MCP Altitude change in the B757/B767 when ALT HOLD is pushed?

I have a question, resulting of a discussion in a different forum: When flying the B757 or B767 and the ALT HOLD button is pushed, will that also change the MCP Altitude to the current altitude, at ...
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1answer
113 views

How can I make a cheap and simple straight and level recovery device for an RC airplane?

I am a new RC pilot and I crash my RC aircraft a lot. I was thinking of a cool device which would be like training wheels for a plane: a device to return the plane to straight and level flight at the ...