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Thread: Would you fly IFR without an auto pilot?

  1. #21
    To my way of thinking after many hours in IMC, an autopilot for single pilot IFR flying is indispensable. I feel you are really rolling the dice, especially in situations such as when getting an amended clearance from ATC, having an unruly passage that demands attention and when shooting an approach to minimums. All of these scenarios require either a head down situation or more than just a quick scan off the panel for even a very short time.

  2. #22

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Wausau, WI
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally Posted by Lrrryo View Post
    Gil,

    Need to get your Bonanza back. Nice to see you posting here.

    From FL.....
    Hi, Larry. Can't justify the expense of the Bonanza on my retirement income, and my wife refused to keep paying for the fuel. I sold it in three weeks. I do miss it.

  3. #23
    I've got about a solid 25 hours or so in IMC in my C-150. Never flown with an autopilot. Used one once in a C-172SP. As for IMC in a C-150 -- be careful. The C-150 is not a stable plane and you will get a workout. Stay out of storms and ice.

  4. #24
    Cary's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Fort Collins, CO
    Posts
    150
    Just zipped through this thread. I've been flying IFR occasionally for 42 years, the majority of that time in airplanes that had no autopilot. The 73 Skylane I trained in, although equipped with most other bells and whistles of the time, had no autopilot. Only one of the 4 airplanes I've owned had an autopilot. None of the airplanes I flew on charter or taught instruments in had autopilots. Even in the few I've flown with autopilots, I haven't used the autopilots except as wing levelers while I looked at a chart. I may have done one or two coupled approaches in training, but never for real. So I don't mind hand-flying in IMC, because the alternative most of the time has been that I couldn't have gone. I've had my present airplane for 13 years, no autopilot, and there have been many hours in IMC in it.

    All that as background, I think a light GA pilot who absolutely relies on the autopilot to the extent that it's a go-no go item for flying in IMC should re-evaluate whether to fly in IMC at all. Autopilots are probably the number one glitch item in light GA airplanes. That means that on any trip, the likelihood of the autopilot failing is greater than the failure of any other item. The pilot absolutely must be prepared at any time to take over.

    Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against autopilots or those who use them. There have been times when I would have liked to have one, especially on longer trips. But I'd never advise anyone to rely on them to work 100% of the time.

    Cary
    "I have slipped the surly bonds of earth...,
    put out my hand and touched the face of God." J.G. Magee

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