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Autopilot Systems

Autopilot Systems

  •  In a single-pilot environment, an autopilot system can greatly reduce workload.
  •  As a result, the pilot is free to focus his or her attention on other flight deck duties.
  •  This can improve situational awareness and reduce the possibility of a CFIT accident.
  •  While the addition of an autopilot may certainly be considered a risk control measure, the real challenge comes in determining the impact of an inoperative unit.
  •  If the autopilot is known to be inoperative prior to departure, this may factor into the evaluation other risks.
  • For example, the pilot may be planning for a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) approach down to minimums on a dark night into an unfamiliar airport.
  • In such a case, the pilot may have been relying heavily on a functioning autopilot
  • capable of flying a coupled approach.
  •  This would free the pilot to monitor aircraft performance. A malfunctioning autopilot could be the single factor that takes this from a medium to a serious risk. At this point, an alternative needs to be considered.

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