CHAPTER 4. Automated Flight Control

Chapter Summary

Automated flight control can make a long flight easy for you by relieving you of the tedious second-by-second manipulation and control of the aircraft. Overdependence on automated flight controls can cost you hard-earned aircraft handling skills, and allow you to lose the situational awareness important to safe flight. You must practice your skills and cross-check.

Automated flight controls require you to study and learn the systemís programming and mode selection actions. You must also learn what actions disconnect the autopilot, whether commanded or not. In preflight planning you must determine the limitations on the autopilot and what the installation in that aircraft permits.

It is important for you to be aware of what functions are automated and what activates those functions, and the actions or conditions that cancel or inhibit those functions. Remember that, in most aircraft, you must set the power and manage the powerplant(s). Even in very expensive aircraft equipped with autothrottle, you must monitor the powerplant(s) and be ready to intervene to ensure operation within safe parameters.

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