How Does Autopilot in Aircraft Work?

Used to simultaneously control multiple in-flight functions automatically, autopilot systems are growing in number among many modern models of fixed-wing aircraft. Though not in all aircraft, autopilot systems and the components that comprise them can also be found in electric vehicles, ships, spacecraft, and more. Specifically in aircraft, the parts that make up the autopilot system frequently encompass items that track, maintain, and adjust trajectory in place of the pilot. Within this blog, we will highlight the main devices that comprise an autopilot system, how they assist a pilot in flight, and why they are growing as a staple within the aviation industry.

Developed and invented in 1912 by Sperry Corporation, the initial autopilot system originally consisted of only a gyroscopic heading indicator and attitude indicator. Together, these parts connected to hydraulically operated elevators and rudders that allowed the automated system to maintain straight and stable flight when in use alongside a compass. Typical in fixed-wing aircraft that carry twenty or more passengers, these devices have evolved over time to consist of an autopilot system that functions around three axes. Utilizing various readings and inputs to determine adjustments that need to be made to flight control surfaces in order to stay on route, autopilot systems are often incorporated within flight management systems (FMS). Due to modern advancements in aviation technology and an increase in interest for automated systems, most autopilot systems can now control climb, cruise, descent, approach, and landing processes.
Though these accessories do not replace full control of a pilot, it gives them time for needed rest, mitigating fatigue experienced on longer flights. Alleviating many duties, a pilot is also free to conduct in-flight protocols which include monitoring weather forecasts, directional trajectory, and on-board systems. Automating control through the use of computer software that regulates vehicle roll, pitch, yaw, attitude, longitude, and longitude, these systems frequently require directional correction. Typically requiring the assistance of an error reduction system, if differences in mechanical properties are not accounted for, the direction of the aircraft can be severely impacted.
For reliable upgrades and replacement parts for your aircraft, look no further than ASAP AOG. We are your trustworthy source for autopilot kits, autopilot monitor parts, assembly pieces, and various other autopilot accessory parts. Due to our quality control and export compliance, we operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. If you would like to request a quote for your comparisons, you can submit an RFQ form as provided on our website. Upon receipt, a dedicated account manager will quickly review and respond with a personalized solution to your needs in just 15 minutes or less, 24/7x365.


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