Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 27

Thread: Would you fly IFR without an auto pilot?

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Posts
    2
    I did all of my IFR training and check ride with the autopilot off. The airplane is really out of rig and as soon as you let it go, it will roll to the left. I did my instrument training in 5 days and took the checkride on the 6th day. Over 7 hours a day and a third of that was IMC, the rest under the hood. It was not fun, but doable. Now that I'm rated, I do use the autopilot IMC but I usually shoot the approaches without it, especially if I'm VMC. I haven't had an autopilot failure yet but I would probably cancel a trip if something was wrong with the plane, especially a long one. I just don't like taking off with something broken.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Posts
    1,464
    Quote Originally Posted by rwhite View Post
    I did all of my IFR training and check ride with the autopilot off. The airplane is really out of rig and as soon as you let it go, it will roll to the left. I did my instrument training in 5 days and took the checkride on the 6th day. Over 7 hours a day and a third of that was IMC, the rest under the hood. It was not fun, but doable. Now that I'm rated, I do use the autopilot IMC but I usually shoot the approaches without it, especially if I'm VMC. I haven't had an autopilot failure yet but I would probably cancel a trip if something was wrong with the plane, especially a long one. I just don't like taking off with something broken.
    IMHO when you flew an out of rig airplane you already broke your number one rule.

    1600vw

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by 1600vw View Post
    IMHO when you flew an out of rig airplane you already broke your number one rule.

    1600vw
    Agreed,

    I could accept no autopilot before an out of rig plane, especially if it rolls to one side with the AP off.

    As for the AP being a required item, no, but there are some trips that I could understand why someone would not go without one. A long trip with lots of stress, weather, no copilot, perhaps other deferred items rapidly gets to be too much.

    My first two planes did not have autopilots and they did fine, and so did I.

    But, I'd value an AP more than a moving map... it's a major contributor to reducing fatigue.

  4. #14
    Jim Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Prairie Cottage Airport, 8KS8, Chapman KS
    Posts
    111
    If you're not comfortable and confident with your abilities to hand fly IFR than you shouldn't launch into IFR just because you have an autopilot to lean on. I had a Baron AP go inop just as we caught the glideslope in heavy snow with WX going down. It was a non incident as the problem was recognized immediately and I hand flew the approach. Do the recurrent training and practice as if the AP will fail at the worst moment, it happens.
    Jim Clark, Chairman National Biplane Fly In, www.nationalbiplaneflyin.com. Currently flying: 1929 Waco CSO, 1939 Waco EGC-8, 1946 Piper J-3, 1955 Piper PA22/20, 1956 Beech G35, 1984 Beech A36 & 2001 Vans RV9.
    You love a lot of things if you live around them, but there isn't any woman and there isn't any horse, nor any before nor any after, that is as lovely as a great airplane, and men who love them are faithful to them even though they leave them for others.
    - Ernest Hemingway

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Clark View Post
    If you're not comfortable and confident with your abilities to hand fly IFR than you shouldn't launch into IFR just because you have an autopilot to lean on. I had a Baron AP go inop just as we caught the glideslope in heavy snow with WX going down. It was a non incident as the problem was recognized immediately and I hand flew the approach. Do the recurrent training and practice as if the AP will fail at the worst moment, it happens.
    Jim,

    True, but even if confident no reason that one can't refuse a trip that doesn't have an operable autopilot. For the most part one can get buy without an AP but there are times that some folks feel that it's necessary... not because they don't have the skills, but because that's a useful tool that may make the trip safer, more tolerable and less stressful.

    If it quits, just like any other piece of equipment... you evaluate the situation and make a decision to divert or continue. Heavy snow is fun, with or with out an autopilot. Now put that on the end of a six hour trip in the weather fighting ice and turbulence, at night after your wife and GF met each other, and the autopilot relieves a lot of stress and work so the approach is a piece of cake. If the AP quit on take off, could be a cancellation for some, and I wouldn't blame them.

    Personally, I like one, not as a crutch for lousy skills, but as a tool that makes it easier. I've flown half way around the world without one, and it was tiring. Without a copilot, it would have not been possible. I've also flown a 300 mile trip that I would have cancelled with one... but still did most of the flying by hand just because it was fun and things were going well, but nice to know I had that backup.

    I don't subscribe to the notion that all approaches should be hand flown like a lot of folks, reasoning to stay proficient. I like a mix... use it if appropriate.
    Last edited by Lrrryo; 09-20-2016 at 01:40 PM.

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Wausau, WI
    Posts
    54
    All of my instrument training was in the Air Force in jets with no autopilot. Then I flew cargo planes where the autopilot was used for almost every flight. Later, I owned a Bonanza with an autopilot that I depended on for single-pilot hard IFR. Now I have Cherokee without an autopilot and it does require a lot of attention because there is rarely a time when you do not have a fuel balance issue, so your attitude can change rapidly. But I still fly it IFR.
    Last edited by Gil; 01-23-2017 at 09:25 AM.

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    30
    Quote Originally Posted by Gil View Post
    All of my instrument training was in the Air Force in jets with no autopilot. Then I flew cargo planes where the autopilot was used for almost every flight. Later, I owned a Bonanza with an autopilot that I depended on for single-pilot hard IFR. No I have Cherokee without an autopilot and it does require a lot of attention because there is rarely a time when you do not have a fuel balance issue, so your attitude can change rapidly. But I still fly it IFR.
    Gil,

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

    From FL.....

  8. #18
    Mayhemxpc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Manassas, Virginia
    Posts
    515
    Had a Warrior I flew IFR far more often than I think Piper ever intended. At least that is the impression I got from the leading edges of the wings and stabilator. Second paint job was much better. Absolutely agree about the fuel imbalance. The plus side of that is it kept me on my toes regarding a good instrument scan. The moment I got distracted I found myself 30 degrees off course with almost as much bank angle. Loved that plane. I was much younger then and I don't think I would do much of that now without an autopilot. I do sometimes. The CAP older round dial 182's and the GA8 don't have AP's and in benign IFR hand flying can be a lot of fun, I just don't make a habit of it. Of course the alternative to no-AP steam gauge set-ups are the NAVIII/G-1000 systems where, almost every time G flies the airplane, there comes a time where both pilots in the front seat ask "what is it doing now?"
    Chris Mayer
    N424AF
    www.o2cricket.com

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    4
    I currently own and fly a 1963 C model Mooney. No autopilot, not even the old wing leveler. I fly in IMC all the time and hand fly approaches. Not often but sometimes to minimums (just the way weather seems to work around here). I often wish I had an autopilot and all the super fancy GPSS and roll steering etc, etc, etc... but I do enjoy hand flying and disagree with folks that say you must have an autopilot to fly single pilot IFR. You just have to constantly keep training and keep your skills up. I don't fly IMC if I am towards the end of 6 month time period getting in my approaches until I do so. I do more than one or 2 IPC's a year with a flight instructor. And of course, as has been said, a well rigged airplane that will fly straight and level hands off is a plus.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    35
    I agree with gellisdds and Gil. An autopilot is not a required item for single pilot IFR but is for sure a nice addition.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •