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Autopilot Concepts

Autopilot Concepts

  • An autopilot can be capable of many very time intensive tasks, helping the pilot focus on the overall status of the aircraft and flight.
  •  Good use of an autopilot helps automate the process of guiding and controlling the aircraft. Autopilots
  • can automate tasks, such as maintaining an altitude, climbing or descending to an assigned altitude, turning to and maintaining an assigned heading, intercepting a course, guiding the aircraft between waypoints that make up a route programmed into an FMS, and flying a precision or nonprecision approach.
  • You must accurately determine the installed options, type of installation, and basic and optional
  • functions available in your specific aircraft.
  • Many advanced avionics installations really include two different, but integrated, systems. One is the autopilot system, which is the set of servo actuators that actually do the control movement and the control circuits to make the servo actuators move the correct amount for the selected task.
  • The second is the flight director (FD) component. The FD is the brain of the autopilot system. Most autopilots can fly straight and level.
  •  When there are additional tasks of finding a selected course (intercepting), changing altitudes,
  • and tracking navigation sources with cross winds, higher level calculations are required.


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