Chapter 12—Transition to Multiengine Airplanes
Table of Contents
Terms and Definitions
Operation of Systems
Flight Director / Autopilot
Alternator / Generator
Nose Baggage Compartment
Anti-Icing / Deicing
Performance and Limitations
Weight and Balance
Normal and Crosswind Takeoff and Climb
Level Off and Cruise
Normal Approach and Landing
Crosswind Approach and Landing
Short-Field Takeoff and Climb
Short-Field Approach and Landing
Engine Failure After Lift-Off
Engine Failure During Flight
Engine Inoperative Approach Landing
Engine Inoperative Flight Principles
Power-Off Stalls (Approach and Landing)
Power-On Stalls (Takeoff and Departure)
Engine Inoperative—Loss of Directional Control Demonstration
Multiengine Training Considerations
Flight director/autopilot (FD/AP) systems are common on the better-equipped multiengine airplanes. The system integrates pitch, roll, heading, altitude, and radio navigation signals in a computer. The outputs, called computed commands, are displayed on a flight command indicator, or FCI. The FCI replaces the conventional attitude indicator on the instrument panel. The FCI is occasionally referred to as a flight director indicator (FDI), or as an attitude director indicator (ADI). The entire flight director/autopilot system is sometimes called an integrated flight control system (IFCS) by some manufacturers. Others may use the term “automatic flight control system (AFCS).”
The FD/AP system may be employed at three different levels.
With the system off, the FCI operates as an ordinary attitude indicator. On most FCIs, the command bars are biased out of view when the flight director is off.
The pilot maneuvers the airplane as though the system were not installed.
To maneuver the airplane using the flight director, the pilot enters the desired modes of operation (heading, altitude, nav intercept, and tracking) on the FD/AP mode controller. The computed flight commands are then displayed to the pilot through either a single-cue or dual-cue system in the FCI. On a single-cue system, the commands are indicated by “V” bars. On a dual-cue system, the commands are displayed on two separate command bars, one for pitch and one for roll. To maneuver the airplane using computed commands, the pilot “flies” the symbolic airplane of the FCI to match the steering cues presented.
On most systems, to engage the autopilot the flight director must first be operating. At any time thereafter, the pilot may engage the autopilot through the mode controller. The autopilot then maneuvers the airplane to satisfy the computed commands of the flight director.
Like any computer, the FD/AP system will only do what it is told. The pilot must ensure that it has been properly programmed for the particular phase of flight desired. The armed and/or engaged modes are usually displayed on the mode controller or separate annunciator lights. When the airplane is being hand-flown, if the flight director is not being used at any particular moment, it should be off so that the command bars are pulled from view.
Prior to system engagement, all FD/AP computer and trim checks should be accomplished. Many newer systems cannot be engaged without the completion of a self-test. The pilot must also be very familiar with various methods of disengagement, both normal and emergency. System details, including approvals and limitations, can be found in the supplements section of the AFM/POH. Additionally, many avionics manufacturers can provide informative pilot operating guides upon request.