Quick Tip: Flying with Autopilot in IMC

Quick Tip: Flying with Autopilot in IMC


Flying in solid IMC is something just about every pilot has to deal with, especially in regions known for turbulent weather. No matter where you’re heading or what you’re flying, having a digital autopilot engaged can make the whole experience safer and more enjoyable. With an even bigger focus on safety in 2021, in each issue, we’ll offer a quick tip as to how you can make the most of your autopilot’s safety advantages.

PRO TIP: Be cautious when using vertical speed mode (VS) for climbs.

If you climb using vertical speed mode, the autopilot does its best to maintain the selected foot per minute climb you’ve set. However, if you’re not managing your power correctly, or if you become distracted, the autopilot could allow the aircraft to begin flying dangerously slow as it tries to maintain the vertical speed setting you’ve requested.

To prevent this from happening, a better alternative is to climb in “speed mode.” Speed mode gives you the best rate of climb for the airspeed you’ve selected and introducing a higher power setting will result in a steeper climb.