So many people think that flying an airplane became so easy just because there is a ‘powerful’ tool called AUTOPILOT. We, pilots just push some buttons, and, here we go, the plane flies itself. And that’s the whole story.
Actually, airplane manufacturers invented the autopilot to reduce the workload and to assist the pilots.
I admit that nowadays, the autopilot can autoland, make predictions, climb, descend, and fly along the route very quickly. They can be programmed to fly the airplane precisely. And, now the question, then why do we need pilots during the flight if the autopilot can do all these tasks?
Let me share a couple of things with you:
1- Before every flight, the pilot programs the computers, if pilot commits a mistake, then the autopilot will also do the same.
2- Autopilot can’t do the takeoff. Each takeoff is done by a pilot only.
3- During the flight, pilots monitor the performance of the autopilot. Let’s face it guys, computers sometimes go wrong and act crazy, and here is where our real hero, the pilot comes.
4- Usually, radar gives the pilot, shortcuts, and they change the original route for many reasons. In such cases, the pilot has to take the short term action and puts some inputs to override the autopilot.
5- Pilots do regular fuel checks, every 30 minutes, to make sure that the flight is under the planned fuel plan.
6- During the flight pilots check the flying instruments and airplane systems regularly. In other words, the cockpit can still be a very busy place.
7- They monitor and manage the flight and scan the route ahead for any bad weather, and decide the best avoidance action for the weather conditions!
8- Pilots make communications, talk with different radars in different countries and areas!
9- Pilots are ready to take over and fly the airplane when things go wrong, and there autopilot ditches them
An autopilot is a great tool that can fly automatically at a set altitude while following a specified flight path. But the autopilot system still needs regular input and constant monitoring by the pilots.
Have safe flights
Until next time, and as always, “We Speak Aviation.”