Autopilot Question

For the past few weeks I have been trying to perfect my landings, especially using autopilot. The past few days I’ve been able to nail perfect landings with autopilot by either adjusting VS and throttles or disengaging all together before the runway and landing manually. Anywho, today I was attempting to land at KLAX and KSAN but my plane could never maintain a constant heading with autopilot engaged. I’m assuming there was a heavy wind that was interfering with my approach. I did disengage the autopilot and the plane definitely flew much smoother, but in reality wouldn’t autopilot maintain more control in harsher weather conditions than an actual pilot? Is there anything I’m missing or would it be normal to take full control in that scenario?

Hi Damian!

From your description of the plane unable to maintain a constant heading upon final approach, I believe you were encountering a combination of a weather, ground effect, and close to stalling. Often when on approach, if your angle of attack is too high with a low IAS, your plane will begin to roll in an attempt to reestablish lift. I don’t know if these physics are completely incorporated into Infinite Flight, however I have studied the science in school.

Pilots typically use the ILS for landing, but there are other instruments and systems used for landing in different scenarios. For the purposes of Infinite Flight, I would recommend not using Autopilot if your goal is to achieve a lifelike landing, rather use the ILS that you can view in cockpit or HUD camera angles. I believe I’ve heard that Infinite Flight is working on an ILS landing mode, but don’t quote me.

Increasing vertical speed on approach can cause a stall in reality, so it’s advised that you increase power, rather than vertical speed. Typically, pilots will idle the engines right above the runway. Always land on the back wheels, which you probably already know. :wink:

So to reiterate, you probably experienced this due to wind (weather), ground effect, and low airspeed.

I’m just a student pilot, so I could be wrong on some of this. If I am incorrect, I welcome helpful criticism. :smiley:

Best,
Joey

Thanks for the insightful response! I don’t think it was a stalling issue because I was pushing between 180-190 knots and my VS for decent was around -800. However, whenever the plane descended or I made a turn it was stable. As soon as I was maintaining a constant heading (or trying to) and altitude thats when I began losing control. As soon as I disengaged autopilot, at least for heading, everything was fine. I’ve only noticed this with the 787, but I don’t think its a bug. Oh well, Ill keep trying :smile:

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Hi Damian,

let me split my answer in two parts: Flying in reality and Flying in IF

Reality:
On modern airliners, you set the ILS frequency in the flight management system. An Autopilot steers an aircraft in lateral and vertical mode.
Lateral is Heading and LNAV (flying to waypoints, NDB, VOR and so on according to a flightplan)
Vertical is Altitude, V/S in ft/min, VNAV.
Then there is Speed in kts.

…and there are modes for approaches to land like LOC (localizer) and APP(approach). Those two can be engaged if the ILS frequency is set on either a FMS (if equipped in the A/C) or on a radio panel on the center pedestal.
If done so, and only in this configuration, the autopilot will -together with the autothrottle- be able to fly you down the ILS (provided you intercepted the ils with the localizer with an appropriate angle first and then the glideslope). Depending on the CAT (visibility category for LVO, low visibility operation, ranges from I to III) Status of the AC you might even be able to perform an autoland.
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Infinite Flight
the autopilot in IF does not have (yet) an LNAV, VNAV feature, nor an LOC intercept or APP function. Thus I would suggest the following, with(!) manual control except for the speed (makes it easier):
Intercept the ILS localizer at 3000 at the beginning of the beam(see map), configure your plane for landing and set the Speed on the autopilot to your final approach speed VREF (on most ac depending on the weight its 120-140).
Intercept the glideslope and fly down the slope with about 600-700 ft (depending on your lateal speed, the faster you fly the higher is the descnt rate).
you can see if you are on the ILS using the instrument Head Up Guidance.

In the middle you will notice the flight path vector symbol. it will show you where you end up if you are continuing flying like you do. Try to allign this symbol with the threshold of the runway, and you ll be fine

At about 1000 ft. check your landing config ( gear down, flaps down, spoiler armed) and if the lateral speed is constant, disengage the speed mode and continue to fly the bird to the runway

At about 30 ft. above the ground, pull back the throttlle to 0 and smoothly lift the nose (called roundout) and then set it down smoothly (flare).

after touchdown set reverse and that s it

Happy Landings

Clipper747PA

P.S.:
See the tutorial section for further info. I will soon write someting on landing techniques and crosswind landings

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Thank you so much! I’ve tried it out and it works! Hopefully they do incorporate an auto land feature into the game!

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This was a really good response!

Yes, that would be fun!!

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There might be some things too it, if the plane is going off course it maybe the winds or your off course, and etc…yes the autopilot can make quicker adjustments in harsh conditions to make the plane more stable