Questions tagged [autopilot]

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

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20
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5answers
3k 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
76 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
45 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
155 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
162 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
209 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
63 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
7k 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
345 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
252 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
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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
231 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
75 views

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
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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
369 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
43 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
106 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 ...
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0answers
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Are the terms “Coupled approach” and “Hand flown approach” strictly defined?

I was looking on SE and also Google for the answer, but couldn't find anything. My question is when to log an approach as coupled or handflown? All of the approaches I fly are CAT I but the aircraft's ...
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1answer
49 views

Process for Compensator in Altitude Hold

Trying to understand autopilots on a technical level. When making an altitude controller there is a compensator Gc that is used to acquire a Pitchcommand which is passed to an attitude controller (the ...
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2answers
695 views

Airbus A320 automatic speed mode protection in SRS vertical mode

According to the A320 FCOM, capter 22 auto flight, flight guidance, the "automatic speed mode protection" of the auto flight system of the A320 disengages the flight directors upon reaching current ...
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4answers
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Can the autopilot (or stall avoidance system?) of the B737 MAX 8 be overridden by sheer force?

A New York Times article from today about the Lion Air Flight 610 crash claims that in order to control the airplane the pilot could have braced his feet on the dashboard and yanked the yoke, or ...
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3answers
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Why is 0 ft a valid target altitude for an autopilot?

Inspired by this story; The pilot of a Flybe plane that dropped 500 ft (152m) in 18 seconds had selected the wrong autopilot setting shortly after take-off, an inquiry has found... ...The ...
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1answer
90 views

TCAS II manoeuvres? [duplicate]

What manoeuvres does the TCAS II advise the pilot to make? Is it RA or TA ?
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2answers
621 views

Can autothrottle be used without autopilot (and vice versa)?

In commercial passenger aircraft: Can autothrust be used with A/P disabled ? And can A/P be used without using autothrust? Citable references very welcome! If the question depends on a specific ...
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1answer
709 views

Is it possible to totally override the flight computer on the Airbus A320-family (in simple non-technical terms)?

As I know, in the autopilot oriented airplanes like an A321 the plane doesn't let the pilots pitch down when the plane gets an over-speed warning. So what if the pitot-static system isn't working ...
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2answers
349 views

What are the restrictions preventing more intelligent autopilot systems?

Current autopilot system is integrated with Flight Management System (FMS) for navigation such as LNAV and VNAV; both of them are based on preset parameters given by the pilot prior to departure (IRS ...
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2answers
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Did these pilots break any regulations by hand-flying an A320 for most of the cruise?

A couple of days ago, I flew with a popular budget airline within Europe. The aircraft was an A320. It was also a brand new one (only in service since June 2018 and produces 15% less noise and fuel ...
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1answer
819 views

How much hand-flying does a commercial pilot do? [duplicate]

What is the ratio of hand-flying to autopilot for a typical commercial pilot working for a large airline (British Airways, Virgin, EasyJet etc.) and how many hours a year might a typical captain rack ...
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3answers
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What is the ALT INTV on the 737's autopilot?

So, I was watching a quick tutorial on the FMC on YouTube. The FMC somehow had a 5000 ft restriction, and the guy got clearance to go higher up, and he set his altitude on the AP panel, and he pressed ...
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1answer
2k views

How do the VNAV and LNAV work on the 737NG?

So, I'm very confused. Im from a Cessna background, no FMC. So, based on my understanding, you could run the autopilot independent of the FMC right? With Speed mode, HDG SEL mode, and V/S mode, am I ...
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4answers
558 views

Is the 737's autopilot part of the FMS or is it a separate entity?

I was watching a tutorial about the FMS and the autopilot in the 737, and I am consfused. I come from a Cessna background, where there is no FMS, there is only the AP (autopilot). So, is the AP a ...
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1answer
90 views

Is there a way to calculate the difference in pitch required to reach a certain vertical speed? [closed]

I am programming an autopilot for a 787 flight sim software and I've been having a problem. I'm trying to simulate a PID that controls the pitch of the aircraft In relation to the vertical speed ...
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1answer
212 views

Can thrust be selected manually in a plane with autothrust? If yes, how?

I'm getting into the autothrust world and I have the question of whether it would be possible to disengage it and select the thrust manually in a plane that already has autothrust. How could it be ...
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1answer
207 views

Why is an auditory alarm necessary when the autopilot disengages?

The FAA gives one requirement for the autopilot in the following FAR... FAR §25.1329 Flight guidance system. (j) Following disengagement of the autopilot, a warning (visual and auditory) ...
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3answers
1k views

Can you disengage A320 autopilot with stick pressure?

I was recently reading that in most military jets, auto-pilot can disengaged without hitting the button, by applying 5lbs of pressure to sticks. Does this work in commercial airliners such as the ...
83
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5answers
42k views

If a pilot ejects, what is the autopilot programmed to do?

If a pilot uses his ejector seat during flight, what is the autopilot programmed to do? As a developer myself, I would want to build in a way for the plane to try and save itself if possible (to save ...
2
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1answer
411 views

What does the XFR button on the Challenger 300's autopilot panel do?

I'm new to aircraft and currently I'm learning the autopilot system of the Bombardier Challenger 300. I saw the "xfr" button but don't understand what it is for. Can someone explain this to me?
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2answers
847 views

How do Airbus planes flare in normal operation?

In reading the reports and Sully's comments regarding the flight that was ditched in the famous events of US Airways Flight 1549, I am wondering how the Airbus control system works to flare an ...
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2answers
254 views

Could a FOSS autopilot system ever pass FAA regulations?

Think something like ardupilot but for manned aircraft.
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4answers
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Do modern aircraft require rudder input in order to perform a coordinated turn?

With today's state-of-the-art electronic systems in modern aircraft, do aircraft equipped with autopilot systems, still require pilot rudder input to keep a turn coordinated? For the context, I'm ...
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2answers
742 views

Does the A320 autopilot work in flight with both engines off?

For a series of simulator sessions to determine the speed polar with students we plan to cutoff both engines in our A320 simulator, but we still want to use the autopilot to control speed (in theory, ...
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3answers
798 views

What is an autopilot washout filter?

In the context of aircraft autopilot design, I do not understand what is washout filter is [Heading Hold - Lateral Dynamics] and what is it used for. May anyone explain to me?
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2answers
391 views

Why isn't there a single start button for all systems on aircraft?

Why is it that airliners and aircraft do not have a single start button for all systems? On TV etc., I noticed that pilots pressing buttons above and below forward and sideways, mostly above though, ...
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2answers
216 views

Should reliance on Auto-Flight Systems continue to increase in favor of manual flying skills?

In recent years there has been ongoing debate as to whether or not increased reliance on auto-flight systems (autopilot, auto-thrust, etc.) in favor of manual flying proficiency has had a negative ...
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1answer
241 views

The AFDS and A/T do not control to a speed which is less than minimum speed for the current flap configuration?

The AFDS and A/T do not control to a speed which is less than minimum speed for the current flap configuration. This speed is approximately 1.3Vs. Minimum speed, FMC speed, or selected speed, ...
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1answer
175 views

How do you program circular flight plans in GPS?

In a recent Buzzfeed article about aerial surveillance, I have seen a map showing perfectly circular flight patterns. Given how precise the patterns are, I highly doubt that the aircraft were being ...
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2answers
1k views

What other circumstances may cause the autopilot to trip out?

I recently watched Air Crash Investigation, Air France Flight 447. The autopilot handed back control to the flight deck after the pitot tubes temporarily froze. The autopilot knew it was getting ...
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4answers
2k views

Do autopilots have an 'activate' switch/button, in addition to 'on' and 'off'?

Say cruising at FL310 and on a 270 heading with autopilot on. If pilot decides to descend to say, FL180 on a 180 heading, is simply changing the altitude and heading numbers on the autopilot control ...
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1answer
186 views

Is there an FMC not connected to the AP/FD?

Is it possible to have an FMC to compute the performance and navigation without having it linked to an autopilot or flight director? Does/did such setup exist?
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2answers
308 views

How is engine management being done without auto throttle during a VNAV approach?

I am wondering how the engine power is controlled if Auto-pilot in a coupled approach mode with VNAV capability, and the aircraft is not equipped with Auto-Throttle? Is the pilot continuously ...