How aircraft autopilot system works?

Almost all conventional aircraft mount an autopilot system. Designed to maintain an aircraft’s altitude and direction during a flight, autopilots are primarily used to reduce the work strain and fatigue for pilots while controlling an aircraft during long flights. Autopilot systems can be programmed to keep the aircraft stabilized in lateral, vertical, and longitudinal directions.

Most autopilot systems have both manual and automatic modes of operation. In manual mode, the pilot selects each maneuver and makes small inputs into an autopilot controller, which prompts the system to move the control surfaces of the aircraft to perform them. In an automatic mode, the pilot selects the attitude and direction they desire for a flight segment, and the autopilot moves the control surfaces to reach and maintain those parameters.

Autopilot systems can provide one, two, or three axes of control of an aircraft. A one-axis control system will only control the ailerons, and is known as a wing-leveler system. Two-axis control systems can manipulate the ailerons and elevators, and three-axis autopilots control ailerons, elevators, and the rudder.

Light aircraft typically only mount simple autopilot systems with fewer capabilities than those used on high performance, transport, and passenger aircraft. Most modern autopilot systems will integrate navigation systems, and modern systems can perform other flight parameters. Automatic flight control systems can not only serve as an autopilot, but also control the aircraft during climbs, descents, cruising, and landing approaches. Some even integrate an auto-throttle function that can control engine thrust and make an automated landing possible. A flight management system can be programmed with an entire flight plan, from takeoff to landing, and will control every aspect of the flight, including the autopilot and auto-throttle systems, navigation route selection, fuel management schemes, and more.

At NSN Parts Now, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft autopilot systems for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-780-851-3631.


September 13, 2022
July 28, 2022

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