seat1a
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Hand Flying V Autopilot

Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:49 am

I'm curious if a pilot could hand fly a B737 or A320 (any aircraft for that matter) on a flight from SEA-LAX (or any distance) and would there be a noticeable difference to passengers compared to being flown on Autopilot? Also, when do pilots normally engage the Autopilot? During moderate to severe turbulence are planes hand flown? Curious about the differences. Bunch of questions but hopefully some great discussion.

Thanks!
 
strfyr51
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:03 am

the A320 is Not a hand fly airplane as it would take disabling the fly by wire computers, there is no phsical connection other than the rudder pedals that operate via the FACS beteween the pilots and the airframe. the B737 remaining in tyop as an older design still has cables connecting the pilots to the airplane rather than "Normal, Law" "Alternate Law" and "Direct Law" of the airbus All via Computer modes.
 
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tb727
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:07 am

The Airbus autopilot can fly the plane better than the pilot, and I sometimes think it's that way on purpose lol. I don't know, the side stick is cool and it took about a minute to get used to it but I find hand flying it kind of lame. Typically once I get on a boring part of the departure, like a straight line for the climb out, the a/p comes on. Sometimes I want to fly it into the teens. Coming down depends on the weather or approach, if we were left high, or if I just feel like hand flying. Sometimes we turn all the automation off, auto thrust off, flight directors off and come in, it's good to keep your skills up. Some guys it comes on at 400' after takeoff and it comes off at 200' on landing. Just depends on the pilot really and that goes for any plane.

On the 727, man, it was a joy to hand fly so I did it as much as I could. If we flew a fast climb like 320 knots or more, I would use the autopilot after pitching down to speed up at 10,000' to keep the climb more efficient and smooth. It didn't fly approaches well so the majority of those were hand flown too.

You can't hand fly in RVSM airspace so you are on a/p up there all the time.

For turbulence, both the A and B do fine in moderate with the autopilot, the 319 is the worst ride, 321 is better, 727 is the best in rough air by far. Thankfully I have never been in severe in a large jet, just in a Learjet and I wouldn't wish that on anyone because it's a wild ride, but the autopilot came off for that one.
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zeke
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Fri Jun 19, 2015 12:59 pm

Quoting seat1a (Thread starter):

I'm curious if a pilot could hand fly a B737 or A320 (any aircraft for that matter) on a flight from SEA-LAX (or any distance) and would there be a noticeable difference to passengers compared to being flown on Autopilot?

No, however at high altitude in RVSM airspace the autopilot is required to be engaged.

Quoting seat1a (Thread starter):
Also, when do pilots normally engage the Autopilot?

That depends on SOP and pilot preference.

Quoting seat1a (Thread starter):
During moderate to severe turbulence are planes hand flown?

Normally would leave the autopilot on, the autothrust/autothrottle might need to be set manually.

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 1):

the A320 is Not a hand fly airplane as it would take disabling the fly by wire computers, there is no phsical connection other than the rudder pedals that operate via the FACS beteween the pilots and the airframe. the B737 remaining in tyop as an older design still has cables connecting the pilots to the airplane rather than "Normal, Law" "Alternate Law" and "Direct Law" of the airbus All via Computer modes.

What on earth are you on about, the OP asked a question regarding flying the aircraft with the autopilot on or off ?
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BravoOne
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Fri Jun 19, 2015 1:01 pm

Quoting tb727 (Reply 2):
The Airbus autopilot can fly the plane better than the pilot,

I have to agree on that one as well. Having said that, it was not that uncommon for autopilots to outright fail or develop quirks that seriously degraded their ability to work. Flew more than one 707-320 flight from the mainland to HNL with an inoperative AP. I think the flight attendants noticed it more than any pax. Now a days it's quite rare to see an autopilot fail and don't forget the implications of RVSM or RNP where the autopilot is required.
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Fri Jun 19, 2015 10:28 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 1):
the A320 is Not a hand fly airplane as it would take disabling the fly by wire computers

Hand flying does not require disabling the fly-by-wire. Hand flying is not using the autopilot. Contrary to some beliefs the Airbus not only can be hand flown but is a very pleasant experience to do so. The FBW assists hand flown departures and arrivals because the aircraft is always in trim.

Quoting tb727 (Reply 2):
The Airbus autopilot can fly the plane better than the pilot

The Airbus autopilot is no better at flying the A320 than a 737 autopilot is at flying a 737. So you seem to be saying that hand flying an A320 is harder than a 737. As it basically flies where you point it, I'm not sure how that can be.
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tb727
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:28 am

Quoting Jetlagged (Reply 5):
As it basically flies where you point it, I'm not sure how that can be.

Yeah, that was kinda tongue in cheek...I haven't given up to the machines yet.
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seat1a
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 2:35 am

Thanks to all so far. Are planes very responsive at cruise when/if flying by hand? The only example I can think of is when driving a car with variable assist steering, the wheel its very responsive and squishy at low speed, and stiff at high speed. Is it similar at cruise v lower altitudes? Thanks!
 
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tb727
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:02 am

Quoting seat1a (Reply 8):
Thanks to all so far. Are planes very responsive at cruise when/if flying by hand? The only example I can think of is when driving a car with variable assist steering, the wheel its very responsive and squishy at low speed, and stiff at high speed. Is it similar at cruise v lower altitudes? Thanks!

That also depends on the airplane. The Dassault Falcon 20 had the most interesting little system called Arthur Q to use with Artificial Feel Units for each primary flight control, no Arthur Q on the rudder though.

Since the flight controls were hydraulically actuated with no difference in resistance, moving the yoke commanded the same degree of surface movement regardless of airspeed. Meaning the elevator would move the same at 0 airspeed and 350 knots with the same degree of movement on the yoke, that can cause some problems.

The Artificial Feel Unit gave resistance through springs so you had some feel. They furthered the system with Arthur Q which basically divided feel further to low and high speed resistance. The controls changed at about 265 knots between low speed feel, which was lighter, and high speed feel, which was stiffer. Only had it fail once, it wasn't much of a big deal but I also hand flew those things for hundreds and hundreds of hours.

So basically, it made it feel like it would if you had cables to the flight controls.

Boy I blacked out for a second there, what happened, I haven't touched a Falcon in 6 or 7 years and I haven't dumped that useless bar trivia yet!
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DiamondFlyer
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:10 am

Quoting zeke (Reply 3):
No, however at high altitude in RVSM airspace the autopilot is required to be engaged.

According to who's regulation? Maybe a company limitation, but within the US, the regulations read the autopilot has to be operable for RVSM, not engaged.

-DiamondFlyer
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tb727
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:20 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 10):
According to who's regulation? Maybe a company limitation, but within the US, the regulations read the autopilot has to be operable for RVSM, not engaged.

Oh noooo.
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zeke
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:05 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 10):

Have a look at AC 91-85, appendix 4, "should be operative and engaged during level cruise"

Similar rules worldwide.
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BravoOne
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 12:57 pm

I think the point is you cannot dispatch with the autopilot inop. If it fails enroute you would need to descent to an altitude below FL290 or at the very least advise ATC. Zeke's right on regarding the rules in this case.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 2:12 pm

Quoting zeke (Reply 12):
Have a look at AC 91-85, appendix 4, "should be operative and engaged during level cruise"

Similar rules worldwide.

That's great, except an AC isn't regulatory. You'll find the relevant regulations in Appendix G to Part 91, which only requires that there be a functioning autopilot, not that it must be engaged. Now your company opspecs may be different, but from a strict regulatory stance, there is no requirement to use it.

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 13):
I think the point is you cannot dispatch with the autopilot inop. If it fails enroute you would need to descent to an altitude below FL290 or at the very least advise ATC. Zeke's right on regarding the rules in this case.

Correct, you can't dispatch into RVSM without the autopilot.

-DiamondFlyer
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mandala499
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 3:54 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 14):
Now your company opspecs may be different, but from a strict regulatory stance, there is no requirement to use it.

If the ops spec requires you to do so because the authority wants you to have the A/P engaged, then so be it.
And yeah, stay within 300ft of your assigned altitude please!    (Some "A/P on ASAP and A/P off ALAP" types would deviate more than 300ft before they could complete the Lord's prayer    )
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
BravoOne
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 7:26 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 14):
hat's great, except an AC isn't regulatory. You'll find the relevant regulations in Appendix G to Part 91, which only requires that there be a functioning autopilot, not that it must be engaged. Now your company opspecs may be different, but from a strict regulatory stance, there is no requirement to use it.

So are you telling us that the AC does not apply to some bog airline operating out of DTW? In other words your OpSpecs do not require this?

I think most of us know that the AC is advisory, or as in "Advisory Circular"
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:07 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 16):
So are you telling us that the AC does not apply to some bog airline operating out of DTW? In other words your OpSpecs do not require this?

The airline I fly for only requires the autopilot to be on when in level flight in RVSM. Climb or descent no, we don't require it. Seeing as we don't have altitude capture or anything more than a pitch mode, it's not that big of deal.

-DiamondFlyer
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BravoOne
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:02 am

Of course you would not need the AP during climb or descent so I see where your coming from.
 
A346Dude
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:15 am

Quoting zeke (Reply 12):
Have a look at AC 91-85, appendix 4, "should be operative and engaged during level cruise"

Even if it weren't an Advisory Circular, there is a big difference between should and shall.
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mandala499
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:38 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 17):
The airline I fly for only requires the autopilot to be on when in level flight in RVSM. Climb or descent no, we don't require it. Seeing as we don't have altitude capture or anything more than a pitch mode, it's not that big of deal.

Oh Come On! Oh that's like saying I don't need to be RVSM compliant to be in RVSM airspace, because I'm on my way to climb to FL450!   
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zeke
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:31 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 14):
That's great, except an AC isn't regulatory. You'll find the relevant regulations in Appendix G to Part 91, which only requires that there be a functioning autopilot, not that it must be engaged. Now your company opspecs may be different, but from a strict regulatory stance, there is no requirement to use it.

Part 91 appendix G also states "RVSM airspace is special qualification airspace; the operator and the aircraft used by the operator must be approved by the Administrator." You can meet all the technical requirements of section 2 to meet aircraft technical requirements (such as a functioning autopilot), you still do not have RVSM approval.

RVSM is like ETOPS both covered by ACs, and require operator and aircraft approval. Better than saying it is not required, or non regulatory, show me an operator that has been approved to operate in RVSM as you are suggesting.

The AC is there to inform operators what is required to gain RVSM operator approval.

Quoting A346Dude (Reply 19):
Even if it weren't an Advisory Circular, there is a big difference between should and shall.

For people in Canada that think should does not mean shall, Transport Canada have the following in the Part VII 723.08 (2)(d), under RVSM, it states "the air operator shall comply with "ICAO NAT DOC 001", the FAA AC mirrors this document.
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FlyHossD
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:16 am

I have hand flown both the 727 and 737 for entire flights just for proficiency purposes, these were generally short flights (30 minutes).

The last time I hand flew a 727 was not by choice, the autopilot would not engage when I attempted to engage it. It took only a few seconds to discover why - the captain's ADI tumbled and the AP used the captain's ADI for reference. So I had to hand fly the 90 minute flight. As luck would have it, a FAA Air Safety Inspector was in the jumpseat for that flight. He was complimentary when he left the flight deck after landing - I was relieved.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:52 pm

Quoting zeke (Reply 21):
RVSM is like ETOPS both covered by ACs, and require operator and aircraft approval. Better than saying it is not required, or non regulatory, show me an operator that has been approved to operate in RVSM as you are suggesting

The relevant portion of the text is should. If it was required, the FAA would spell it out as shall. There is a legal difference between the two words, especially in the context of regulation. I know of many part 91 operators who have an RVSM approval that doesn't require the autopilot to be on.

I'm not saying that it's smart to cruise around RVSM without using the autopilot. Just what the regulations state.

-DiamondFlyer
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strfyr51
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:20 pm

Quoting zeke (Reply 3):
What on earth are you on about, the OP asked a question regarding flying the aircraft with the autopilot on or off ?



FYI even to fly the airbus the FACS have to be powered the ELACs and the SECS are controlled electronicly so there is NO provision to hand fly anything. once you set in any flight plan, when it;s time to make a turn to a new course? the new course will be assumed We dont even fly test flights without the AP or FD's being powered. Where are you from that they fly manual flights in the A320?? You'd have to rake off in "direct law" to TRY to hand fly the A320.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 2:56 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 24):
FYI even to fly the airbus the FACS have to be powered the ELACs and the SECS are controlled electronicly so there is NO provision to hand fly anything. once you set in any flight plan, when it;s time to make a turn to a new course? the new course will be assumed We dont even fly test flights without the AP or FD's being powered. Where are you from that they fly manual flights in the A320?? You'd have to rake off in "direct law" to TRY to hand fly the A320.

Wow, so the autopilot flies the plane from the gate to the gate? Interesting. you must have a special airbus at your airline.

-DiamondFlyer
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mandala499
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:07 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 25):
Wow, so the autopilot flies the plane from the gate to the gate? Interesting. you must have a special airbus at your airline.

Agree... his Airbus must be pretty special...

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 24):
FYI

FYI, according to "An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation" (2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.):
Hand Flying = Manually flying an autopilot-equipped aircraft.

That is to fly the aircraft with the autopilot OFF (Autothrust included).

It does not mean FBW off...
If it means FBW off, the 777 and 787 can't be hand flown either...
But then, let's not stop there... why put all aircraft with no manual reversion as "cannot be flown by hand"... oh hang on, that would include the 747 and 767, Tristar and DC-10 and MD11? Oh dear!
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XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:16 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 24):
FYI even to fly the airbus the FACS have to be powered the ELACs and the SECS are controlled electronicly so there is NO provision to hand fly anything. once you set in any flight plan, when it;s time to make a turn to a new course? the new course will be assumed We dont even fly test flights without the AP or FD's being powered. Where are you from that they fly manual flights in the A320?? You'd have to rake off in "direct law" to TRY to hand fly the A320.

I'm completely serious: What on earth are you talking about?

Signed: A320 pilot and instructor
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BravoOne
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:49 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 23):
I know of many part 91 operators who have an RVSM approval that doesn't require the autopilot to be on.

Please just name one? I assume they are operating with an LOA and not an OpSpec but I still do not think that would be allowed.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:55 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 28):
Please just name one? I assume they are operating with an LOA and not an OpSpec but I still do not think that would be allowed.

Yeah, its an LOA, but that's beside the point. Nobody wants to handfly there, but they can. I'm not going to start naming a specific airplane on a public forum.

-DiamondFlyer
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HaveBlue
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 6:03 pm

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 26):
Agree... his Airbus must be pretty special...
Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 25):
Interesting. you must have a special airbus at your airline.

I agree with you both, his must be a very special, or short, bus.  Smile

FlyHossD great story, very interesting! Murphy never fails to delight right?  Smile

[Edited 2015-06-21 11:08:47]
 
BravoOne
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 7:23 pm

No they can not do that. Either they leave RVSM airspace or they don't enter it to begin with. Just curious if you have ever gone through the process of getting a particular airframe RVSM qualified. I mean from the beginning to the end of the process?
 
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zeke
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:03 pm

Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 23):

I have done raw data takeoffs, and have flown the A320 in direct law, neither is exteamly difficult.

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 26):

What is more of a worry is they claim to be a maintenace controller in the operations centre for a large US airline from previous posts. Could not imagine trying to useful help from them if I was trying to troubleshoot a fault. It is an embarrassment to the airline, and the whole FAA system.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
PGNCS
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:30 am

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 26):
Quoting strfyr51 (Reply 24):FYI even to fly the airbus the FACS have to be powered the ELACs and the SECS are controlled electronicly so there is NO provision to hand fly anything. once you set in any flight plan, when it;s time to make a turn to a new course? the new course will be assumed We dont even fly test flights without the AP or FD's being powered. Where are you from that they fly manual flights in the A320?? You'd have to rake off in "direct law" to TRY to hand fly the A320.
I'm completely serious: What on earth are you talking about?

Signed: A320 pilot and instructor

Indeed, XFSU. The question in the initial post was "I'm curious if a pilot could hand fly a B737 or A320 (any aircraft for that matter) on a flight from SEA-LAX...."

As mandala said, hand flying means to fly the aircraft without the autopilot. You can do that in an A-320, just like you can in a 777.

Quoting mandala499 (Reply 25):
FYI, according to "An Illustrated Dictionary of Aviation" (2005 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.):
Hand Flying = Manually flying an autopilot-equipped aircraft.

I am also missing the point of this confusing line of reasoning.

Signed,

Another A-320 pilot, instructor, and examiner

(Amazing how all the people with actual experience flying the machine seem to agree that the A-320 can be successfully flown without the autopilot.)
 
XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:31 am

Quoting zeke (Reply 31):
What is more of a worry is they claim to be a maintenace controller in the operations centre for a large US airline from previous posts. Could not imagine trying to useful help from them if I was trying to troubleshoot a fault. It is an embarrassment to the airline, and the whole FAA system.

No kidding! That is so far in left field, I'm not really sure where to begin other than to tell them to start over.  


More on subject, I've found the 320 series to be an absolute pleasure to handfly- second only to the 757 as far as fun and smoothness factor. Turn it all on, works great, turn it all off, works just as great!
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PGNCS
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 1:37 am

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 33):
e on subject, I've found the 320 series to be an absolute pleasure to handfly

I completely agree. Of the aircraft I have flown, I would rather fly (and hand fly) the A-320 series than any jet airliner not manufactured by Lockheed.

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 33):
rn it all on, works great, turn it all off, works just as great!

Ditto.
 
seat1a
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:53 am

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 34):

Can A/P be engaged right after takeoff, say 400-500 ft off the ground?
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 3:05 am

Quoting seat1a (Reply 35):

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 34):

Can A/P be engaged right after takeoff, say 400-500 ft off the ground?

Yes. There will be a minimum height for engaging the autopilot. Aircraft dependent but typically be in the 300-800ft height range. Of course it is preferable that the autopilot has been programmed correctly before you engage it. 

Say you're flying a complex instrument departure procedure. You can certainly hand fly it but the autopilot will be more precise and more importantly will decrease pilot workload in what is likely busy airspace.

[Edited 2015-06-21 20:08:43]
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Max Q
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:02 am

Quoting tb727 (Reply 2):
On the 727, man, it was a joy to hand fly so I did it as much as I could

It certainly was.


Best wishes TB !
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XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:04 am

Quoting seat1a (Reply 35):
Can A/P be engaged right after takeoff, say 400-500 ft off the ground?

The aircraft limitation for the 320 series is 100 feet AGL or 5 seconds after liftoff, whichever is later. It has to do with the transition from ground mode to flight mode of normal law.

Normally, I'll handfly up to 18000 or so unless it's death by 1000 clearances like out of NYC.

As far as the autopilot being more precise.... that's not a black and white deal. For long periods in cruise, absolutely- your attention wanes over time. As far as maneuvering flight, I can anticipate, but the AP and AT generally cannot. I've seen some nice autolands, but have also seen some spectacular failures of them as well.
Some carriers have restrictions on handflying RNAV departures- we have no such restriction and have a proven track record of no increased busts on lateral or vertical track deviations.
Chicks dig winglets.
 
ualbq200
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 4:54 am

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 36):
Say you're flying a complex instrument departure procedure. You can certainly hand fly it but the autopilot will be more precise and more importantly will decrease pilot workload in what is likely busy airspace.

A properly briefed pilot could probably handfly a complex departure better than an autopilot. In fact, I would very much prefer a pilot be handflying a departure and not turning on autoflight systems (as in the autopilot, not the flight guidance such as the FD) until the aircraft is in a stable climb with no significant turns or anything of that nature.

A/P may be more "precise" in things like that, but it can and will f**k up from time to time. Departure in busy airspace using a complex departure procedure is not the time to test that.
 
mmo
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:13 am

Quoting ualbq200 (Reply 39):
A/P may be more "precise" in things like that, but it can and will f**k up from time to time. Departure in busy airspace using a complex departure procedure is not the time to test that.










I am curious to know what your logic/reasoning is for your hesitation on engaging the A/P? You counter both Boeing and Airbus in your refusal to use the A/P. In a terminal area, with a complex departure, having the A/P engaged is recommended by both A and B, the FAA, the UK CAA and just about every regulatory body. I am curious to know what you know that they are unaware of. Perhaps you could share some of your experiences where you had problems or issues.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
ualbq200
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:00 pm

RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:37 am

Quoting mmo (Reply 40):
I am curious to know what your logic/reasoning is for your hesitation on engaging the A/P? You counter both Boeing and Airbus in your refusal to use the A/P. In a terminal area, with a complex departure, having the A/P engaged is recommended by both A and B, the FAA, the UK CAA and just about every regulatory body.

I believe that handflying the aircraft will give pilots better situational awareness and response than climbing up to 400ft and letting LNAV/VNAV fly your airplane. and ultimately have the pilot's hands off the controls. Especially if there is a conflict in the airspace, it simply makes more sense to me to have the PIC have his hands on the controls flying the airplane make a critical turn "NOW" than to have a pilot reach over to the MCP and go "oh heading select" and wait for the airplane to do it for him.

Each person has their own perspective on it, this is just mine. Although I have never witnessed an issue personally, I think stepping off of automation in a critical phase is more beneficial than not. There are many factors, but in airports like Chicago-Midway or JFK where it's a busy airspace with a complex system of departures and arrivals, it just makes more sense to me to have the immediate controls in the PF's hands.
 
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zeke
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:46 am

Quoting ualbq200 (Reply 41):
I believe that handflying the aircraft will give pilots better situational awareness and response than climbing up to 400ft and letting LNAV/VNAV fly your airplane. and ultimately have the pilot's hands off the controls. Especially if there is a conflict in the airspace, it simply makes more sense to me to have the PIC have his hands on the controls flying the airplane make a critical turn "NOW" than to have a pilot reach over to the MCP and go "oh heading select" and wait for the airplane to do it for him.

I dont understand this, why would you have your hands off the controls during climb and descent if the autopilot is on ?

I have my hands on the controls during climb/descent, all I need to do is move the controls, or press the A/P disconnect, and I back to hand flying.
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mmo
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:18 am

Quoting ualbq200 (Reply 41):
it simply makes more sense to me to have the PIC have his hands on the controls flying the airplane make a critical turn "NOW" than to have a pilot reach over to the MCP and go "oh heading select" and wait for the airplane to do it for him.

Are you a pilot?

As Zeke wrote, why aren't your hands on the controls? I can tell you from experience, I'd rather have the autopilot on and have 2 sets of eyeballs looking outside. In fact, in a previous company, there were certain airports, LHR, JKF and LAX to name a few, where it was mandatory the A/P be engaged as soon as possible. There is more than ample evidence the A/P in conjunction with LNAV and VNAV can do a much more precise job of flying than the pilot can. Having some sort of "feeling" you can do a better job is exactly how incidents happen
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
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zeke
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 8:35 am

Quoting mmo (Reply 43):
there were certain airports, LHR,

Also at LHR, noise fines have resulted from pilots hand flying rather than flying the correct NADP that the briefed and programmed in the FM before departure.
Human rights lawyers are "ambulance chasers of the very worst kind.'" - Sky News
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:07 am

Quoting ualbq200 (Reply 41):
Especially if there is a conflict in the airspace, it simply makes more sense to me to have the PIC have his hands on the controls flying the airplane make a critical turn "NOW" than to have a pilot reach over to the MCP and go "oh heading select" and wait for the airplane to do it for him.

As mentioned, turning off any autopilot is a simple buttonpress on the stick/yoke. You're not going to fiddle with autopilot controls (or at least you shouldn't) if things are time critical like you describe.

Granted I've only flown bugsmashers so far, but I will use the autopilot as appropriate to increase my ability to monitor traffic, weather and such. Hand flying a complex instrument procedure is a good way to assure that your ability to monitor anything but the procedure is drastically impaired.

This doesn't mean I "disconnect" myself and sit back, trusting in the autopilot. As soon as the autopilot is doing something unexpected at a time where precision is required my reaction is to disconnect and handfly until I've resolved the situation. More typically, I might get an unexpected clearance and have to change my plan in a hurry. Disconnect, hand fly until I'm "back on track", then when I have time reprogram the autopilot and re-engage.

"Appropriate use of automation" and all that.

[Edited 2015-06-22 03:10:31]

[Edited 2015-06-22 03:12:19]

[Edited 2015-06-22 03:13:51]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BoeingGuy
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Mon Jun 22, 2015 6:31 pm

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 38):
Quoting seat1a (Reply 35):
Can A/P be engaged right after takeoff, say 400-500 ft off the ground?

The aircraft limitation for the 320 series is 100 feet AGL or 5 seconds after liftoff, whichever is later. It has to do with the transition from ground mode to flight mode of normal law.

On most Boeing airplanes it's 200 feet after takeoff. I think the 737 is 400 or 500.
 
FlyHossD
Posts: 1903
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:45 pm

RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:12 am

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 46):
On most Boeing airplanes it's 200 feet after takeoff. I think the 737 is 400 or 500.

At my former carrier, it was 1,000' after take off, but that may have been just the carrier's policy or preference rather than a Boeing limitation for the737.

I can't remember ever turning on an AP below about 7,000' AGL and generally handflew to 13,000 to FL180.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
mandala499
Posts: 6587
Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2001 8:47 pm

RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:48 am

Quoting mmo (Reply 43):
Are you a pilot?

What he says sounds like a virtual pilot (does not mean he is one). Because..

Quoting zeke (Reply 42):
I dont understand this, why would you have your hands off the controls during climb and descent if the autopilot is on ?

Virtual pilots don't fly with A/P on while his/her hand is on the joystick and the other hand over the Z button (A/P connect/disconnect)... they usually fly with the mouse over the MCP or FMC... and they don't see the value of flying a complex departure on the LNAV/VNAV and 1 hand on the A/P d/c button on the yoke/stick, while both pair of eyes lookout for traffic and with looking at the TCAS too as they are usually limited to a forward field of vision...

In my previous workplace I often get requested to fly as extra pair of eyes as an observer... usually when doing a company line check in a busy airspace or trying out a new landing site for the company... Saved us from trouble a few times (well, ATC can decrease situational awareness here pretty at times when you're unlucky (unlike other places)... that's why).
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
Mir
Posts: 19491
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RE: Hand Flying V Autopilot

Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:42 am

Quoting ualbq200 (Reply 41):
I believe that handflying the aircraft will give pilots better situational awareness and response than climbing up to 400ft and letting LNAV/VNAV fly your airplane.

It does the opposite. Having the autopilot fly the airplane is a good workload reducer if used properly (if used improperly it's a great workload increaser, but that's why we train people to use it properly)

Quoting ualbq200 (Reply 41):
Especially if there is a conflict in the airspace, it simply makes more sense to me to have the PIC have his hands on the controls flying the airplane make a critical turn "NOW" than to have a pilot reach over to the MCP and go "oh heading select" and wait for the airplane to do it for him.

When the autopilot has the airplane on departure, my hands might not always be resting on the controls, but they're never far away, and if the autopilot starts to do something wrong, it takes a fraction of a second for me to put my hands back on the controls, disconnect the autopilot, and fix things. I'm certainly not going to try and use the autopilot to fix the autopilot not doing something correctly - that would be improper use of the autopilot.

-Mir
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