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      12-05-2020, 12:05 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by Efthreeoh View Post
Right, but pilots are trained to use autopilot. Most crappy drivers who suck at driving in the first place, which is why they want a machine to do it for them, don't understand what the word autopilot means, so they let the car get itself into trouble. Plus, the ATC (and the co-pilot) is going to warn the pilot he is in error. No one is watching a Tesla (or any other autonomous car) driving in autopilot. That's the difference.
Not really, you don't have to be trained on an autopilot to go buy an aircraft with it and fly it into the ground (or have it installed in your plane). There's no training requirement for that. You appear to maybe be talking about commercial passenger service or something, but even then most of what you said doesn't hold true. I'm talking about private operations, like private car drivers. You should follow the equipment manual, which most people do, but for sure some leave the AP on a little longer and get a little closer than they should. A few just let it take them right into the runwayor the side of a mountain. The only time you have to be "trained" on the autopilot is when you take your check-ride in an aircraft already equipped with it. That's not a requirement to get your instrument rating. After you get your rating, you are free to get one installed or go buy another airplane with it and there's no training requirement.

Also, ATC will not warn you if are about to hit the ground from blowing through the DH on autopilot. Their primary responsibility is aircraft separation, in terms of keeping aircraft from running into each other. DH is typically 200' above the runway. In those kinds of conditions, tower won't see the aircraft since visibility is so low. Approach control is the one looking primary at radar, but no one is going to notice anything out of the ordinary as you continue descending 500+ fpm past DH. In some situations, approach control and the tower look at the aircraft's position on the ILS very closely (simultaneous ILS approaches), but they are looking at lateral separation and course deviation, not descent past DH and by all accounts, your descent past DH on autopilot would look perfectly normal. It's only that last 100 feet or so where you do "the thing" to make it so touching the runway doesn't kill you. 500fpm impact is enough to kill you.

And relying on ATC to warn you of the ground when you are not landing works about as well as you think it would. In other words, landmark accidents where commercial airliners plowed into mountains led to more automation systems installed in the aircraft, namely TAWS.

There's no co-pilot when you are flying your bonanza, TBM or King Air.

There is a totally new level "hitting the ground avoidance" that has been designed into some aircraft now, already credited with saving some lives. A friend helped develop this system for the F-16. It's an automated system that will prevent the aircraft from being run into terrain/the ground. It will recover the aircraft if the pilot fails to.
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Last edited by JamesNoBrakes; 12-05-2020 at 12:21 AM..