Autopilot disengage

Hi, I know everyone has there own way of flying in IF. But when is the right and wrong time to disengage the AP? I turn it off on base or about 15nm out from the threshold. And turn it on at 8000 ft after take off. I try not to get to comfortable using the APPR on the 737BBJ. I just want to know how we all fly in our own awesome way! 😊

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I either fly with no auto pilot at all, or with all the autopilot. I will set it before I take-off but settin altitude and then putting the VS up.

Do always disengage the A/P before reaching 500 ft AGL, that’s the only wrong time.

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Almost every commercial airliner fly’s autopilot all the way to touchdown. If you wanted to really simulate the use of AP in the 737 BBJ, manual take off roll, when the aircraft has reached a safe cruise speed, rate of climb and altitude when everything has stabilised (doesn’t necessarily mean level although some pilots will fly the entire climb out) then activate autopilot. Use ap throughout the entire flight and descent and then activate APPR in glideslope until all the sets of wheels are down on the tarmac. Then disengage ap so you have manual and full steering control of the airplane.

Almost every commercial airliner fly’s autopilot all the way to touchdown

What makes you say this? To the contrary, a lot of approaches are flown manually, and the vast majority of landings are done manually as well. It is even against company policy in most airlines to do an autoland if the conditions do not warrant it - unless you absolutely need it in order to maintain your qualification for instance.

That’s just a total untrue response,maybe designed for an argument? You think a pilot actually sits and flys the plane in. In /UK its an unusual occurrence for a plane to be hand flown. In fact videos on youtube specifically point to when they have hand flown the aircraft as its unusual. Total untruth, at least here in the UK. Even to the extent where autothrottle is used in the glideslope.

I’m sure the commercial pilots on this forum will be happy to learn this from you, Andy. @Aernout ;)

Take-offs are hand flown, and then generally pilots engage the autopilot at some stage above 1500ft AGL (could be straight away, could be hand flown for a bit first).

Landings are typically hand flown at least for the last 500ft unless

  1. conditions demand a CATIII autoland, or
  2. the pilots need to do an autoland as part of their regular ongoing training.
    The majority of landings are done manually though.

The majority of the flight is done with the autopilot engaged.


I would be highly surprised to find full landings hand flown. Ap will hold heading, autothrottle controls throttles including in some cases speed off for flare. Tell me which part of this is manual. Many crashes happen on appr because of autopilot/pilot confusion. If I’m wrong I’m wrong.

Ok so there is spot of confusing information out there on the interweb. It appears depending on who you believe that pilots do take over probably on final. But I still dont understand what constitutes a manual landing considering the use of autothrottles and other landing assist equipment. If I use cruise control on my car/lorry I am still driving. But I’m not driving properly. Seemingly is pilot choice. I imagine that its used more than they would admit.

There is no wrong or right, its up to the pilot and company regulations. Myself I disconnect around 7000-8000 feet in airspaces where it’s not so busy and depending on weather, flying into busy airspace I normally wait until established on the ils.

Autolands are only done for certification / cat 2/3 weather, why would you take away the most fun part of the whole flight??


I completely agree. But after doing it four times a day for a week I expect I will end up using auto more.

Negative :)


So now Andy:

That’s just a total untrue response,maybe designed for an argument?

Did I really deserve this comment? When you write on a forum, just think you have a real person in front of you, this helps :)

Happy flying!

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On the other hand, it would be great if the autopilot disengage alarm is added ;the upcoming A320 family comes immediately into my mind :D

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Yes. You definitely deserve it if this is your response after I already admitted I was wrong. My opinion is still not changed, I would imagine a lot of pilots to use an auto in all conditions. But still I think I’m correct in imagining there’s not a full manual land as many modern aircraft have auto throttle, gs and loc capture to control descent rate. So yeah actually pulling the nose up to flare, full hand fly in. Doubt it.

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Difference between the game and real life isn’t it. I love flying it in, at work I use cruise control because it’s less workload. See the point I’m driving at.

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