Note Autopilot functionality can be different between aircraft. Some of the AP functions are not final in the early access version.
You can control the autopilot by two different ways.
The autopilot can stabilize the heading, airspeed, altitude as well as the vertical speed. The autopilot cannot be switched on/off and will disengage when one of the following limits is exceeded:
WINGS LEVEL (ROL)
In this mode the autopilot will attempt to keep the wings level (ROL)
PITCH ALTITUDE HOLD (PIT)
The Pitch Attitude Hold (PIT) mode allows constant attitude climbs and descends.
The airspeed mode / auto-throttle will adjust the engine power to keep the selected airspeed. The target airspeed is shown in magenta at the virtual cockpit and can be changed by individually programmed buttons or keys.
HEADING HOLD (HDG)
The heading hold mode can be activated and deactivated by tapping on the heading indicator. The box around the heading will change its color to green to indicate the heading is controlled by the autopilot. If no heading was selected, the current heading will be selected and shown in magenta. The target heading can be changed by tapping the + / – buttons below the heading indicator. Pressing these buttons repeatedly will change the selected heading by 5 degrees. The target heading can be changed while the heading mode is engaged, the autopilot will then turn the aircraft to the selected heading.
ALTITUDE HOLD (ALT)
Hold a constant altitude. This mode is perfect for cruise flight at a constant altitude. Tap the altitude indicator to activate this mode. When engaged, the autopilot will climb / descend to the target altitude and level off. The vertical speed in this phase can be selected by using the + / – buttons below the vertical speed indicator . When the target altitude is changed by tapping the + / – buttons below the altitude indicator, the autopilot will initiate a climb / descend to the new altitude. The vertical speed for this will be the last selected vertical speed, provided it has the right direction. If a descent would be required to reach the new altitude and the last selected vertical speed was a climb at 1000 ft/min, this would be changed to a default of -1500 ft/min and vice versa.
Vertical speed (V/S)
Climb / descend at a constant rate. When engaged, the autopilot will try to climb / descend at the selected vertical speed. If the aircraft cannot climb at the selected vertical speed, it will loose airspeed until the autopilot descends at minimum speed. This mode can be selected by tapping the vertical speed indicator. The v/s mode will override the altitude mode, so this can be used to leave an altitude that was previously held constant by the autopilot. On the other hand, if the altitude mode is active, the vertical speed mode will disengage 500 ft before reaching the target altitude to allow levelling off and avoid crossing a selected altitude.
Two axis stabilization (ROL + ALT)
The easiest way to use the autopilot is the ROL/ALT mode. The ROL mode will be enabled automatically if you start the autopilot via the (AP) button on the autopilot panel.
After that press the (ALT) button on the panel. Now the aircraft will be stabilized automatically.
Note - Setting up the autopilot in this way will target the preset height and will hold the flight level automatically. At this point you can change the flight level by pressing the “up” or “down”.
Note - You can now add the heading mode by clicking on (HDG) if preferred. You can control the course via the “HDG” select knob and climb rate with the “UP” or “DN” buttons.
This section will be improved but this will provide you with basic information related to the newly introduced advanced autopilot features and functionality seen in the latest Aerofly FS2 update
We want to give a bit of an overview on the current autopilot setup before getting into more detail about what changed. One important aspect is that there are only two autopilot implementations in Aerofly FS2 currently. There is the basic autopilot that is found in the Cessna 172 and Baron B58 and there is an advanced autopilot which has more features and controls all the airliners: Airbus A320, Boeing B737, Boeing B747, C90GTx King Air, Learjet LJ45 and Dash8-Q400. These airliner-autopilots can be split into three groups: Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier autopilots. This autopilot update only affected the autopilot found in the airliners, the basic autopilot wasn't touched at all.
Changes to the autopilot in the A320
The major concept behind the Airbus auto flight system is to reduce the workload for the pilots. There is a lot of automation happening here in the real world and the plan was to improve the typical Airbus flow. All changes made here make it a lot easier to fly from A to B and require less pilot interaction than before.
corrected these lateral modes:
Other additions to the A320
Display changes in the A320
To begin of with, here is a before and after comparison:
primary flight display (PFD)
Changed speed tape:
Changed speed-bug appearance:
Changed attitude indicator:
Changed altitude tape:
Changed vertical speed indicator:
Changed ILS display of localizer and glideslope:
Navigation Display (ND)
Before and after:
Changed N1 display
Changed EGT display
Changed flap display
Here is a short step by step for users getting started with advanced autopilot systems in the A320.
1.Plan your flight; this will be loaded automatically into the A320
2. set the aircraft onto the runway; this will set the cruise altitude and prepare everything for takeoff
3. Advance thrust to TOGA or FLX and lift off
4. After a couple of seconds after lift off engage autopilot
5. when LVR CLB flashes on the PFD move the thrust levers down to CLB detent
6. as speed increases above -S speed retract the flaps
7 when the PFD shows DECELERATE or you see the top of descent on the Map and are close to it, scroll down the selected altitude so the arrival airport elevation + 2000ft or so. Push the altitude button in to begin descending
8. when ILS is received and you're flight plan is about to make the last turn: press the APPR button to arm the ILS localizer and glide slope. Engage second autopilot
9. set flaps 1 and monitor speed. increase flaps when you are below the amber = on the speed scale
10. gear down at about 2000ft radar altitude
11. flaps full prior to reaching 1000ft, set autobrake to MIN, move the spoiler lever all the way forward to arm them (white marking visible)
12. after the fully automatic landing disconnect the autopilot, touch the brakes to disengage them, taxi to gate, raise flaps, disarm spoilers, etc.
Changes to the autopilot in the Boeing 747 and 737
The autopilot of the Boeings is a bit different compared to the Airbus style. It's a bit more hands on and requires more pilot interaction in some cases. Also pilot monitoring in approach is crucial.
Here is a comparison before and after: note that HOLD and V/S are not correct in the first picture, this has been fixed.
Changes to the autopilot in the C90GTx King Air, Learjet 45
These autopilots are again very different to Airbus or Boeing aircraft. They don't have an auto thrust or auto throttle installed and they have a manual navigation source selection. This means you have to give the autopilot a deviation and course that it fly towards. This can either be the localizer deviation, VOR deflection or FMS lateral offset. Depending on the selected source on your PFD or the PFD of the copilot side the aircraft will either fly the route or an ILS or VOR. And this can be used for either navigation receiver or FMS. Also automatic frequency tuning (auto tuning) is not available here. And it can't autoland and therefor disengages at 50ft AGL.
A Few changes here and there but mostly implementing the nav-source selection here. This is still work in progress.