Flying WithOUT Autopilot

Hey IFC,
I was just wondering… how long have you flown a part of a route or how long was the route of which no autopilot was used at all during the flight. If this doesn’t make sense, how long was your long time manually flying your aircraft?


I did around 1-2 hours in the Spitfire during an event some years ago. Don’t remember the route.
And not so long ago I did a flight from EGVN-EGLL in a Spit for Touch and Goes before heading back to EGVN. Around 100 nm. ATC was present and I hand flew vectors.


I fly manually a lot of the time because I exclusively fly the F-22. I only really put the AP during cruise. The other day I flew through Scotland at low level before refuelling from a tanker. Took about an hour.

In the days before the refuelling update the F-22 didn’t have any autopilot, so the entire flight was flown manually from takeoff until landing.

Ive only managed maybe 20/30mins before it feels like my hands are going to fall off - its surprising how hard you grip a phone to keep level flight!

Going to look into Infinite Flight connect and see how it works out with my joystick as i’d love to do more painless manual flying in IF

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Have you ever heard of the flight instrument called a trim? It takes that challenge right away!


I have flown from Sydney to Perth without using autopilot. It was a challenge, but worth it.

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Next step london to perth with no autopilot😂😂


The less you rely on the AP the better the pilot you will become as irl pilots ideally only use it to cruise between airports, and usually prefer to land manually on final below the last 1500 ft, and as for the fighters before global everything was manual so you had to constantly adjust your AOA with your throttle which ultimately was much more beneficial in developing proficiency in the skill of actual aviating !

Excluding patterns of course, it depends on my aircraft / route.
If I am departing a busy airspace, I normally engage the autopilot after the primary climb at around 1,000 feet. If not, I’ll end up flying it up to around 6 or 7 thousand before engaging autopilot.

The longest I’ve flown without it is probably before there was autopilot on fighters, just messing around on casual.

I always just hand fly for pattern work, I’m not sure how long I’ve done that. I flew SWA from KPIT-KBWI, and back full manual, probably somewhere in the 20-30 min ballpark each way, and then anytime I flew fighters before a few months ago was full manual, and still is now since Autopilot doesn’t do great at high speed, starts ocilating a lot above Mach 1…

I am flying mostly with AP, but I have flown to EGLL from EHAM with Spitfire and it was alright

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I have done KLAX-KNUC w/o AP back in the pre global days

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