July 2019 Issue

Five Reasons Not To Fly A Coupled Approach

It’s always tempting to let Otto do the work, but it takes us out of the loop at a time when we really need to be in it.

And like every other technology, autopilots have their limitations. For one, they have to be set up correctly—along with the navigation equipment—to reliably follow a heading and descend along a glidepath. Details like when to take over from the autopilot, how you might handle an equipment failure—if you notice it—and even whether to let Otto fly the missed approach or do it yourself need to be worked out ahead of time. That’s the short version of why we might want to consider hand-flying the approach. Let’s expand on them.

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