Hand Flying or Autopilot?

Hello IFC,
I’m very interested in what IFC users think when a golf time to hand fly and when a gold time to turn on autopilot is? For me personally I’ve hand flown anything from 3,000 feet all the way up to FL280. But I’d say my median range is between 5,000 and 8,000 feet. So I’m curious when do you usually turn on the autopilot vs hand flying?


I like to hand fly for a bit. I usually initiate some kind of autopilot about 2 mins after wheels up.


I generally turn on V/S, Airspeed, and LNAV at 10,000.


A golf time to turn on autopilot is about 3000’ and a gold time to turn it off is anywhere from about 2500’ to minimums depending on weather

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I usually turn on autopilot at around 1,000 AGL- 4,000 AGL. I like hand flying, but I can never stay on course🙃


Since 20.1, I’ve really been enjoying hand flying my whole SID. I’ll fetch the charts, input the altitudes, and fly them manually up until the SID ends. Makes the flight a bit satisfying.

Otherwise, I do pretty much what @Asher said; rotate, hand fly for a few minutes, after which I engage autopilot (sometimes just LNAV or just VS).


I usually take off and keep hand flying until I am at about 15000-20000ft and then I turn it off at about 2000 ft


I like that a lot!

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I generally hand-fly or leave the AP partially on, as in certain times I turn on LNAV right away so then I can stay on my flight plan with no worry… or in some instances I leave the VS, though I’ll still have roll control. So yes I’m varied…

I would definitely hand fly it more often if we had a PFD

Personally, after 30-45 seconds after takeoff I engage the AP. However, a lot of times I will hand-fly the aircraft from 15,000 feet to landing, Something about hand-flying an approach is so satisfying.

If i flies with GA sometimes i choose hand fly. Sometimes A/P

After takeoff, soon after gear up, I turn on LNAV, but still control speed and V/S manually until 3,000-10,000 feet AGL.
I hand fly from the moment I hit ILS cone on straight in approach or 3,000 feet AGL on arrival

I usually turn autopilot on at about 10,000ft, after handflying the whole departure. I mean there have been times I’ve felt too tired to hand fly the departure and turn on autopilot at about 5,000.

I’ll usually hand fly until 5000 ft and then turn on speed, altitude, and VS but still hand fly heading until I feel like turning on LNAV and HDG

on approach i turn off AP around 1,000 feet

sometimes if i want to be REALLY realistic, i take it off at minimums

I always use the autopilot after takeoff

Personally if I’m shooting for a par on the 18th hole I’d play the five iron on the…
(just kidding, I’m assuming it was a typo!)

I usually turn on AP above 1000 feet AGL (not MSL) after takeoff, unless I’m flying a really weird departure.
Turning off really depends on what kind of approach I’m flying, I use AP on an ILS just to set myself up properly (if it’s clear), or down to minimums (if it’s hazy). On a visual approach, once I have the airport in sight, I turn it off.

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I don’t trust computers. But in today’s world they are unavoidable, so I had to make compromise. I don’t use autopilot below 3000ft AGL, unless I am confident that the aircraft will keep stable and not make any aggressive maneuvers (which is why I am phasing out using infinite flight’s APPR feature because it really really sucks and it needs a ton of work). I am more confident with some aircraft than others to fly safely and comfortably, but regardless, try to use your airplane’s computers as little as possible.

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I hand fly to about 10,000 AGL, like my friend who is a Delta 757/767 pilot does.