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Helicopter Autopilot  
User currently offlineCannibalZ3 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 392 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 2 days ago) and read 10862 times:

Someone told me yesterday that it was impossible for a helicopter to have autopilot. This seems strange to me, especially with all the digital controls these days. Can someone explain?

7 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineShaun3000 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 445 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (13 years 10 months 1 week 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 10852 times:

That's not true. Many higher-end helicopters have autopilot.

User currently offlineNotar520AC From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1606 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (13 years 10 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 10780 times:

Yes, actually some helicopters do have an autopilot, but only with a few features like altitude/heading hold, and something else. With a helicopter, it is very hard to incorporate an autopilot due to the many forces acting upon the aircraft. But I think I have heard of Eurocopters and maybe Sikorsky 92's w/ autopilot- I may be wrong, but a real man flies a chopper w/o autopilot! Big grin

As you can imagine, it is probably not cheap to incorporate an autopilot, because you'd have to have a pretty advanced flight computer to do so, but yes, some of the multi-million dollar helicopters have autopilots.

 Smokin cool -Notar520AC

BMW - The Ultimate Driving Machine
User currently offlineSaintsman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 2065 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (13 years 10 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 10767 times:

I have not worked on helicopters for a number of years but I believe that an autostabilisation system is quite common. The old Wessex helicopters (retired from service not that long ago) used to have an autopilot system which contained thermionic valves, so they have been around for some time.

User currently offlineBsergonomics From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 10 months 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 10729 times:

The Westlands/Agusta EH-101 has a sophisticated autopilot. I worked on the Merlin ASW variant for the Royal Navy and Italian Navy. There are few phases of flight when the pilot has to be Hands-on.

The standing joke was, "What is the pilot going to do after they've eaten the sandwiches, drunk the coffee and read the newspaper?"  Big grin

The definition of a 'Pessimist': an Optimist with experience...
User currently offlineIndian_flyboy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 10689 times:

Well the helicopters do have autopilots installed. The Mi 35 and Mi 26 have autopilots on them . I would tend to think most of the all weather choppers would have the a/p's on .Don't know the exact details as yet , trying real hard to find out . No intentions of starting an eastern helicopters vs western helicopters war here  Smile/happy/getting dizzy .


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30410 posts, RR: 57
Reply 6, posted (13 years 10 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 10684 times:

Quite a few SAR helicopters have autopilots.

It apparently makes it pretty easy to hold a postion during winching operations but that is just what I heard.

User currently offlineSaintsman From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2002, 2065 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (13 years 10 months 16 hours ago) and read 10649 times:

The RAF SeaKings that I used to work on had an autopilot system that was also used to hover. The pilot would set the hight he wished to hover at. This was coupled to the radar altimeter and was generally about 40 feet. It was supposedly accurate enough to land the aircraft just by turning the height setting down to zero.

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