Autopilot hdg

Just a quick question.

Whenever I land on an airport with ILS it gives you the heading off the runway. So if I set the autopilot to that heading do my aircraft automatically line up with the runway?

No sir A/P will only hold the heading you set it too.


So the feature that I’m thinking is localizer lock? please correct me if I’m wrong.

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The plane will keep the heading you set the A/P to. But that doesn’t line you up with the runway. If you hold the same heading as the runway and you’re not lined up you’ll just fly perfectly parallel to that runway.

You are thinking of VOR LOC. The heading feature on IF is not like that in that it doesn’t capture the localiser or line you up - it just keeps the selected heading. It is akin to HDG SEL mode on a real jet.


With good visibility, you can align your aircraft with the runway manually, and then set the HDG.
This for the approach, remember that at least at 500 ft you should disengage everything and land manually.

Thank you guys for all of your answers this really helps me out a lot

The actual heading of the runway is displayed to help you though - for example, if the wind was in fact 0 knots, once you line the needle up perfectly with the runway (horizontally), theoretically you could have the HDG selector set to the exact runway heading and the aircraft will remain lined up perfectly.

To follow the runway centerline you need to follow a track instead of a heading as the heading is influenced by wind. Fly the heading and if you have a nasty 90 degrees crosswind you will see the runway “flying by”.

Yes, you should follow the RWY Course. HDG is just where the plane is pointing. Track is the actual path you are following.
KSAN RWY 27’s course is 274. That’s your course. So if your track = 274, then you are aligned with the RWY (your HDG can be something else than 274. If there is no wind, then track = heading)

Hi @Aernout, when you said that I need to follow a track instead of a heading. Is it the runway you are referring to? Or is it still a different reference I can follow?

Can you also maybe enlighten me what the bearing and X track is for and how can these instruments help me.

Thank you for the help you’re giving me guys.

The bearing and x track all depends on the wind you have you try and see how a so called “wind correction” will workout. It should keep you on the localizer but you have to keep on adjusting all the time as normally the wind speed decreases closer to the ground.

Its been my experience that almost always you have to realign with the runway manually…however real airliners probably adjust automatically with GPS guidance…

Once the localiser is captured on an ILS approach on a real world airliner no manual heading input is required until the pilot flying decides to go manual.