May 2007 Issue

Autopilots And IFR

Autopilots reduce our workload, but we might not be sharp enough when they fail. Should they be required for IFR? Should they be used as much?

Autopilots are a fabulous workload management tool. In a busy, single-pilot cockpit they quite literally can be a lifesaver. We’ve come to accept their precision and dependability. There’s a growing viewpoint that a functioning autopilot is an essential requirement for all instrument flight—many pilots I know say they would not contemplate IFR without an autopilot.

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