Topic Author
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Joined: Mon May 21, 2001 2:10 pm

Helicopter Autopilot

Sun Jul 28, 2002 8:40 am

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?
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Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2002 4:10 pm

RE: Helicopter Autopilot

Sun Jul 28, 2002 9:12 am

That's not true. Many higher-end helicopters have autopilot.
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Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2001 6:53 am

RE: Helicopter Autopilot

Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:50 pm

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
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RE: Helicopter Autopilot

Thu Aug 01, 2002 3:47 pm

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.
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Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2002 5:07 am

RE: Helicopter Autopilot

Fri Aug 02, 2002 6:28 pm

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...

RE: Helicopter Autopilot

Sat Aug 03, 2002 10:21 pm

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 .

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RE: Helicopter Autopilot

Sat Aug 03, 2002 11:00 pm

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.
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Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 12:34 am

RE: Helicopter Autopilot

Mon Aug 05, 2002 4:09 pm

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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