Those folks who have not flown the Lockheed L1011 really have no idea what control inputs are required for takeoff, or indeed any other maneuver, news articles notwithstanding.
The TriStar autopilot(s) cannot be engaged in the command mode on the ground.
Only ONE autopilot can be engaged in the CWS (control wheeling steering) mode on the ground, and in that mode, the PILOT must manually rotate the aircraft for takeoff.
The command mode can be engaged once airbourne. No altitude restrictions.
In addition, the autothrust system cannot be engaged for takeoff, ONLY when airborne.
The autothrust system is unsuited for cruise flight (excessive throttle movement, engine surging) however, those aircraft fitted with a flight management system (FMS) can have the 'thrust management" mode engaged once airbourne, for climb, cruise and initial descent.
For ILS approaches (and the resulting approach/land function), thrust management must be de-selected and the autothrust system used.
For those operators that are certified for CAT II
/III approaches (using the approach/land mode of the autopilots), gold wire checks and other related maintenance functional checks need to be carried out on a regular predetermined schedule.
The L1011 will approach/land (autoland) very nicely using a standard ILS airport installation, to CAT I minima, with only one autopilot engaged.
/III approaches require two autopilots to be engaged.
Have personally performed over five hundred autolands in the TriStar, without the slightest indication of any malfunction whatsoever.