In February, for the first time, a Black Hawk helicopter flew itself around with no humans on board. The self-flying military helo project involved both DARPA and Sikorsky, which makes the UH-60 helicopters.
Meanwhile, in some places, companies like Zipline and Wing are delivering goods by drone. Other companies are working on electric air taxis to transport people or cargo, and of course normal air traffic—commercial flights out of big airports, general aviation airplanes zipping out of others—is flying around, too. Factor in helicopters, hot air balloons, and more, and there can be a lot going on up there.
Do Pilots Land Manually Or With Autopilot?
While automation is available on many airplanes, it is still preferred to land manually on the vast majority of flights. If the weather conditions are favourable, the pilot has a better chance of landing in more dynamic weather than the automated system.
A large number of pilots believe that landing on airplanes is made easier by using an automatic landing system. In reality, pilots prefer to land airplanes manually rather than using the internet. A sophisticated and precise guidance system must be in place to ensure the smooth operation of the autoland feature. Before a pilot can learn how to make an automatic landing, they must first sit in a simulator and review their flight plans. In the case of automatic landing, the plane is more firmly planted than it would have been on its own. Pilot skill must be constantly refined in order to execute the plan on their own. When the weather is terrible, only in extreme cases can pilots rely solely on the auto-landing feature.
The higher end of the spectrum is the G3000 model of Garmin’s GPS system. This one features three touchscreens that span across the entire length of the aircraft. It has just about all of the same features as the G1000. The only real difference between the two is that the GPS map screen sits in the center of the console, leaving both the pilot and co-pilot to have identical screens that display all of the other data (altitude, heading, vertical speed, airspeed, etc.) Unsurprisingly, the G3000 also sports NEXRAD capabilities and synthetic vision.
With this module being so similar to the G1000, a lot of the previously mentioned operations are also similar. If anything, this is the easiest one to learn since the touchscreens deny the use of using knobs and traditional buttons for some operations. The TBM 930 is one of the aircraft that features the G3000 panel. There are two separate screens that are identical to each other (one each for the pilot and co-pilot) that sit below the main screens. They are used to control some of the operations, like the map range, for example, and also to change some of the info that’s displayed on the main screens.
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For a pilot to fly automatic landings, they have to undergo specific training in a flight simulator. Before that, the pilot would need to hold a multi-engine instrument rating.