Autopilot ! You would have heard about them a lot in the movies and in aviation documentaries. What are they in the real sense? Baffles many. Autopilots, as the name suggests, is basically a system which automates certain critical and time-consuming process that otherwise a pilot has to pay due attention to in real time.
Autopilots were made to ease the stress of long flights by pilots. In the earlier air crafts, the airplanes had limited range and were required to fly for short distances only.
With the growth and development of aeronautics industry new and more sophisticated air crafts with the capability to fly for long distances and times were created.
This required the pilots to pay additional attention to flight systems for a longer period of time hence adding a huge professional toll on the stress levels of the pilots. A system was required that would take some stress off the pilot’s shoulders and make them operationally more efficient. Hence the birth of autopilot was marked.
Earlier autopilots were simple systems which would maintain a fixed level and altitude for the aircraft so that the pilot could pay attention to other flight systems.