December 1999 Issue

The ‘Oughta’ Pilot

Pilots oughta preflight their autopilots, but many just flip them on and hope for the best

Tucked away in the bowels of many airplanes is a piece of equipment the pilot may count on for survival. But many pilots donít take the time to learn about their autopilots, nor do they check them before flight.

The best place to spot a problem is on the ramp rather than at altitude. Even though many pilots consider the autopilot a luxury, itís good to know that it works correctly in cases where the success of a flight depends on turning control of the airplane over to a computer.

Ask any pilot, ďWhenís the last time you preflighted your autopilot?Ē and youíre likely to be met with a blank stare. Under pressure, many will admit that they donít even know how to check it or where to loo...

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