How much Autopilot do you use?

about 15 min after start and 15 min before landing
if weather, traffic is easy to handle

depends what im doing atm, the AP is just another a tool in the toolbox, if it makes the flight easier or more enjoyable i use it
i fly almost exclusively small aircraft (xcub being my ‘goto’) and unless im like ground level ‘running’ a river or canyon or maybe circling a poi, i probably have the ap on inflight so i can ‘sightsee’ as i fly
it also allows you to navigate and operate other systems safely and comfortably

1 Like

I use autopilot a lot. I only hand fly the take-off and last part of an ILS landing manually, the rest of the flying is done with AP. I also like to use it when sight seeing a new city, using the heading bug to steer the aircraft and altitude hold.

1 Like

If you really want to know how much you use AP. Go into your pilot profile and scroll down to

Total flight time with autopilot engaged
Total flight time without autopilot engaged

1 Like

Okay, I see a LOT of folks use it for various reasons but lets add to this a bit.

Which General aviation planes in MSFS (if there are any) can take you almost all the way down to the runway?

I’ve had the sim since December 2020 and have never used the autopilot. As a non IRL pilot I just assumed the autopilot was for beginners who didn’t know how to fly a plane.

I’ve been flying the Cessna 172 G1000 for the past couple weeks and now you guys have sent me down a rabbit hole! i’m watching Forder Learns To Fly lesson on using AP right now and it’s fascinating. I didn’t know it was such a complex topic! Actually looking forward to trying to it now.

When flying the C172 G1000 or the Bonanza G36, I always use the autopilot for long flights such as KRVS to KGLS. I let the autopilot fly the aircraft all the way to the glideslope on ILS approaches. I hand-fly once I get to final approach. I will hand-fly the aircraft for the entire flight when flying in my local area.

It’s quite the opposite, lol. If you want to focus on aviate, navigate and communicate it’s an amazing tool. The AP is having to work quite hard to maintain altitude and track.

It’s about intelligent workloads. Hand flying over long distances or IFR conditions takes a large amount of focus.

In general, I hand fly when low altitude sight seeing, performing aerobatics, takeoff or on approach. I like to take over earlyish when possible on ILS as taking it down to minimums doesn’t give me enough feel to nail center line.


How much Autopilot do you use?

All of it. Every last bit of it.

There’s a bug with AI auto-rudder, if you use that. The C172 should have left rolling tendencies, not right.

Prior to SU9, the C172 would always fly straight and level with auto-rudder assist on. Now it’s broken.

I divided the first number by the second, which says I had autopilot engaged 43% of the time. (or should I have added the two numbers first, my math is bad. If I do “Total with autopilot engaged” divided by “Total flight time” then I get 30%)

@HethrMasn Thanks for that information. I didn’t realize it was a bug! I remember when that never happened but it took you stating that for it to jog my memory. I also have Auto-rudder on because I don’t have rudder pedals. I’ll probably switch to a different aircraft and see how that works.

Rudder trim makes minute corrections to the rudder (the tail) which controls your yaw (your left to right movement on a fixed plane); the aileron trim controls the ailerons on your wings which control your bank (your left to right tilt).

I use A/P almost all the time after T/O unless there’s a reason I need to cut it off at landing (drifting or something). I typically only fly airliners on IFR plans (currently 100% the PMG 737-700).

1 Like

Really? I read somewhere that while the C172 G1000 in MSFS doesn’t have aileron or rudder trim - try to find those controls in the plane - you can use the keyboard commands nonetheless, but with my Xbox and a keyboard I’ve tried to trim both, but couldn’t see any movement on either surface or any effect on my plane while in flight. I guess I’ll try it again.

On the topic of AP, it depends. I fly the C172 G1000 almost exclusively, and am still learning. I find AP is very helpful when I’m trying to learn other things, like how to lean the mixture or while exploring the menus on the G1000 NXi. I’ve started a trip where I want to land in and takeoff from every U.S. state and Canadian province (not sure how I’ll do Hawaii yet) and each leg of the trip has a few objectives. The objective on my first leg was to fly AP all the way from West Chicago to Mackinac Island, and it worked great, so I imagine I’ll be using it now and again as I cross the country, especially because I find the little joystick on the Xbox controller tedious to use in cruise and quite treacherous on landing. In short, it’s a tool, and I’ll use it as I need it.

1 Like

I fly two aircraft. Icon A5 is for “sightseeing” and no autopilot anyway. TBM is for “travel” and once I get the last ATC message to continue shortly after takeoff, I hit AP and once arrived, I try to ILS all the way in until maybe 1000 feet or so

I like doing VFR in the little GA planes, and not all of them even have an autopilot. :slight_smile: For takeoff, landing, and just sort of poking around it’s a lot of fun to hand-fly, but for longer trips with long straightaways or climbs it’s helpful to use the AP to reach and maintain altitude and keep in a straight line.

For those journeys, I usually stick it on HDG mode and steer based on my charts and what I see out the window. Twisting the HDG knob isn’t as satisfying as the yoke but it gets the job done. :wink:

When I do IFR I’ll run almost everything on autopilot between TO and landing and concentrate on doing the procedures right – but to me that’s not as much fun as freewheeling it. :slight_smile:

Quite the Opposite !!!



Ok, Altitude hold in some situations…

It’s aircraft-dependent. If you’re flying airliners, AP from take off until landing. If it’s a fighter, time to use that flight stick!

I would think most of them. Certainly anything with a G1000, if you’ve got the Working Title NXi installed (and probably even if you don’t but I’ve never tried the default… why would you when the NXi is free?). Just couple up on an ILS and the autopilot will take to to the runway (you’ll have to disconnect to flare of course, only airliners actually autoland.)