Essential Skills Checklist

Chapter 4: Automated Flight Control

Climbs and Descents

  • Use the FD/autopilot to climb or descend to and automatically capture an assigned altitude.
  • Determine the indications of the ARM or capture modes, and what pilot actions will cancel those modes.
  • Determine if the system allows resetting of the armed or capture modes or if manual control is the only option after cancellation of these modes.
  • Determine the available methods of activating the altitude armed or capture mode(s).
  • Determine the average power necessary for normal climbs and descents. Practice changing the power to these settings in coordination with making the FD/ autopilot mode changes.
  • Determine and record maximum climb vertical speeds and power settings for temperatures and altitudes. Ensure the values are in agreement with values in the AFM/POH for the conditions present. Make note of the highest practical pitch attitude values, conditions, and loading. Remember powerplant factors (e.g., minimum powerplant temperature, bleed air requirements) and airframe limitations (e.g., VA in setting power).

Course Intercepts

  • Use the FD/autopilot to fly an assigned heading to capture and track a VOR and/or RNAV course.
  • Determine if the FD/autopilot uses preprogrammed intercepts or set headings for navigation course interceptions.
  • Determine the indications of navigation mode armed conditions.
  • Determine parameters of preprogrammed intercept modes, if applicable.
  • Determine minimum and maximum intercept angle limitations, if any.

Coupled Approaches

  • Use the FD/autopilot to couple to a precision approach.
  • Use the FD/autopilot to couple to a nonprecision approach.
  • Use the FD/autopilot to couple to an RNAV approach.
  • Determine the power setting required to fly the approaches.
  • Determine the power settings necessary for leveloff during nonprecision approaches and go-around power settings for both precision and nonprecision approaches.
  • Determine the speeds available for the minimum recommended powerplant settings (useful for determining if an ATC clearance can be accepted for climbs, altitudes, and descents).

Miscellaneous Autopilot Topics

  • Demonstrate the proper preflight and ground check of the FD/autopilot system.
  • Demonstrate all methods used to disengage and disconnect an autopilot.
  • Demonstrate how to select the different modes and explain what each mode is designed to do and when it will become active.
  • Explain the flight director (FD) indications and autopilot annunciators, and how the dimming function is controlled.
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