Hand Flying or Autopilot?

Wait, they do that?

For me it depends on the airport, weather, traffic and the type of plane in order to turn left or right more streeper . I usually turn on the autopilot at an altitude between 3000 feet to 6000

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Yup! IRL Most pilots take AP off at minimums


Hmm… Interesting.

Wow, I am surprised to see answers in this thread as I usually engage auto-heading at 400ft AGL 😂

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I’m now hand flying up till 10,000 ft. Before that I’d usually miss the time when I can pick up speed so now I won’t forget

Totally depends on the plane
If I’m flying a Delta A350 on a late night 16 hour transpacific flight, typically it’s autopilot in at 400’, and it comes out at 1000’ for landing.
But if I’m flying the TBM or C130, I sometimes leave it off the entire flight.

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For Heavies its usually handflying it till I get to my climb speed apart from LNAV. So for the A359 its LNAV at 500ft agl then A/T on at 240kts and set to 250 then once the speed it stable in reduce pitch and then I start the VS.

Then on landing I disengage LNAV and HDG to intercept the ILS cone then before I capture glideslope I turn off VNAV then A/T comes off at minimums.

Depends…if I’m heavy - I tend to engage A/P early - if I am light - I have hand-flown to cruise before.

For me it always depends on my mood, the SID (straight line flying isn’t that much fun for me personally) and the workload (ATC, traffic, restrictions on the SID, …).

Can be anything between 1500feet AGL and 15000+ feet AGL.

Similar on arrival as well, but it’s more like 10000 feet to 500feet AGL there where I take over.

I definitely don’t think that’s the case normally. Under poor weather conditions it might be, but not normally.


I usually hand fly until I intercept a heading or track on my departure where I’ll turn on heading/LNAV, but I usually don’t turn on Altitude/VS until I am past 10,000 feet and at a pitch that maintains my final climbing speed, where I then monitor that and change it accordingly up to where I intercept mach speed at FL280, where I’ll turn on speed to maintain the mach speed and then monitor my engine power and reduce pitch accordingly for the final few thousand feet of climb. Then on approach I begin hand flying when I intercept the localizer/glideslope (on which one I disengage it depends on the specific situation), unless the autopilot is having issues maintaining a low altitude with a low speed as it sometimes does, where I’ll maintain the altitude by hand.

I do everything hand flown till 10k. Then while descending I do everything Autopilot till about 1,500 depending on weather. If im flying a Visual ill do it from the handoff from Approach to Tower handflown all the way to the ground. And if its ILS or IFR Conditions depending ill do from 1500ft - 500ft or till I can see the runway at the point of minimums ill disengage for a Manual GO-AROUND

I usually engage between 1000AGL and 1500AGL. I disengage anywhere from 1,000AGL and 158AGL depending on weather. Or I will perform an autoland if weather requires it.

I’ll give you my simple answer:

I hand-fly 90% of my GA flights.

I land and takeoff manually in all planes‘ but I use autopilot for the rest (for planes that aren’t GA 😂). I enable autopilot at about 1,000ft AGL on takeoff. I disable autopilot when I’m lined up with the runway.

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I’ll go from autopilot to handfly once I get in the approach cone. When it comes to takeoffs, I’ll get myself off the runway and in the air before LNAV comes on. That’s also around the time I’m pulling up the flaps and sheathing away my butter devices.

Hmm, sometimes. Not that often though. Depends on company SOPs etc and the type of approach, but usually 1000ft above threshold marks the time to disconnect to be “REALLY realistic”. That said, sometimes pilots will disconnect earlier in the arrival/approach if they feel they need to work on their hand flying for a bit.

Personally I work on the idea of 1000ft: on climb out autopilot goes in once past 1000ft and stays in until 1000ft above the threshold during approach. The exceptions are 1) if I fancy flying a larger section of the approach manually, 2) if the procedure is a visual procedure or 3) if the limitations of Infinite Flight dictate it (e.g. DME arcs).

I like A/P on departure because I always stall while hand flying.

On arrival, i usually hand fly on the entire ILS Cone

Auto land is my thing but sometimes I will do it by hand.

I manually fly the aircraft up to FL10 then put on the autopilot. Some sids have sharp turns. Like the LIFFY5A out of Dublin.

I usually manually fly on departure until the aircraft has rolled out of its first turn after departure and is following the SID. For landing, usually 1000 ft AAL is when I disengage the AP, unless it is not a simple approach, e.g. LOWI (Innsbruck, Austria), then I would fly everything after the STAR by hand (sometimes even including the STAR)!