Posts: 24
Joined: Wed Aug 11, 1999 7:37 am

auto pilot

Tue Mar 09, 1999 7:57 am

At what point do commercial pilots usually switch to manual control from auto pilot when descending to an airport?? Any help would be appreciated!!
Posts: 3094
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 6:40 am

RE: auto pilot

Tue Mar 09, 1999 8:21 am

I've noticed most pilots like to hand fly the airplane from the top of descent. Some of the lazier ones like to let the auto pilot fly them to the outer marker on an ILS.

RE: auto pilot

Tue Mar 09, 1999 9:37 am

Well normally at 10,000 feet AGL. The reason being lots of things start to happen then like lights seatbelts and flaps you start to slow. But some pilots might want to do more flying and some even turn of auto pilot at cruise as they are bored.
I have only turned on autopilot once in a 172 flying from John Wayne to Fullerton. I did not like it so I turned it off and flew my whole decent and cruise I was only 1500 feet high though. I also flew right over Disneyland on that flight!
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:21 pm


Tue Mar 09, 1999 8:11 pm

It's a pity you did not land near Disney and stayed there !

RE: auto pilot

Tue Mar 09, 1999 8:30 pm

I´ll tell you about the MD-11, that is a bit different from most aircraft. The A/P is usually on until the plane is configured for landing and well established on approach (usually ILS). We use the 500 feet callout (RA) as a reference to switch off the A/P. But in low visibility it is recommended to let it land itself.