Auto Pilot Usage


Well-Known Member
Hey Ya'll, I have a question for you. I'm working on this project for my humanities class, and it basically boils down to the evolution of change within the auto pilot, the usage of it, and the positives and negatives about it.

I'm a regional fo, so I know when is the lowest we can kick it on and off at my company, and i'm not really looking for company specific details, more just like personal preferences and maybe a little sentence why. If you don't mind. Maybe you just don't want to hand fly past a few hundred feet, or maybe you love flying to 10-15k.

Just trying to get a broad range of data to turn this into a killer project for a solid grade. I work on this on my overnights, and its not due till Dec so I have time. If I knew how to do the survey's on here I would put one up, but its all good.

Anyways, for those who have a input I really do appreciate it a lot. Having a broad input will make this so much easier.



Well-Known Member
On the 73, I tend to put the AP in at 250kts in the climb and disconnect on vectors for the approach or approach final intercept.

Usual caveats about weather/airspace.


Well-Known Member
In the PC12 I used to usually hand fly to 10k, and kick it off on the descent between 1k-10k depending on the workload/weather etc

In the RJ I've been routinely flying it up to 18k, and kicking it off once we start getting vectored for the approach.


Well-Known Member
Hawker 700/800. Usually hand fly up to 18, and in the descent I hand fly starting around 11,500. If weather is poor and workload is high I'll use the autopilot to lower altitudes. I think the practice and ability to hand fly is important.


I told you the Drake was bad. I hate the Drake!
In the Citation I hand fly up to 10000', and again when vectored to intercept...workload permitting.


Well-Known Member
EMB145 - I hand fly to above 10, and then turn it on once I transition to 290 or so. On the arrival I start hand flying once we get vectors to join the approach, mostly because our airplane is awful at tracking localizers.


Polished Member
Hand fly all the way dawg. 3.5 hours at FL200 straight and level, I gots dem stick and rudder SKILLZ!

In reality, with the PC-12 I hand fly up to around 10K, if VFR at the field I start hand flying again coming down usually around FL180, if IFR I usually start hand flying once established on final approach course.


Well-Known Member
About the same as everyone else. Lashwanda is on around 10k and off around FL200-15000 (previous caveats, etc).


Queso King
Used to hand fly up, I try to hand fly down. Depends on the guy I'm with an airport I'm going to (workload)


Well-Known Member
In the 145, up to 10k typically, sometimes up to FL180 or higher on rare occasions. On the way down, if it's a visual approach usually on the base vector or before the start of the published visual approach. If it's instruments, usually at the FAF or breakout. Sometimes I fly sooner than that on an ILS, it just depends what I feel like doing.


Well-Known Member
on the E170 Somewhere between 5k and 12k on the way up. I like to hand fly a level off, but if the weather is crap or traffic is close, I put on the AP. Also, with the FPV level offs are about as easy at it gets, so I have started doing less and less.

On the way in, depends on the weather. Weather is VFR, I kick it off when airport in sight and cleared the visual. Weather is crap, I keep it on until the airport is in sight. I routinely use A/T all the way to touch down.


9-5 Ruins Lives
RRRRRJ driver here, like most it depends on the day I think. If I had to fathom a median probably on around 15k and off on vectors to final'ish. Once in awhile I'll pull a Chuck Yeager ( @Kingairer ) and fly the really short legs raw data *gasp* with no AP. Only as long as I'm sufficiently caffeinated of course and my FO is screaming for their life ;)


Well-Known Member
On the 190 (workload permitting) I'll hand fly usually up to the mid to upper teens or if I'm feeling adventurous I'll take it to the low 20s. Eventually those straight climbs become only so exciting to fly, and those 'company materials' aren't going to read themselves. On the way down usually just inside the marker, or if we're cleared for the visual sometimes on the base leg it's easier just to turn off AP and hand fly.


Well-Known Member
I hand fly to 10 on the way up. On the way in I will hand fly if its VFR and field is in sight. If IFR I leave it on until runway is in sight.


9-5 Ruins Lives
Also, since it appears you have time you could create a Survey Monkey form to get more details if you like. There are so many factors as you know; number of legs, weather, sleep pattern, length of trip, etc. that getting solid data in this form is tough. Depends on how much you want to drill it down I reckon.