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Regulations against the manual control of an airliner?

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Hi all, 


In the past, I've heard numerous rumours that some airlines prohibit manual control of an aircraft in normal operations. Some videos I've found indeed show pilots leaving the autopilot engaged until short finals (500 feet or so). 


Is this true, or is it purely to the PIC's liking (meaning they could fly the whole SID/STAR if they felt like it)? 


Thanks in advance. :smile: 

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Officially, I'm sure most US carriers encourage crews to do a little 'hands on' once in a while to remain proficient.


However, most airlines would want the crew to use autopilot whenever practical because it usually saves fuel.


I have a friend that flies for a US airline and he certainly is not prohibited trom taking control when he wants to.

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This is a good question that comes up from time to time.


Where airliners are concerned:  The FAA recommends the most possible use of automation in congested areas.  Flying a climb to cruise, descent and arrivals are pretty mundane and the autopilot allows the flight crew to focus on other items during these phases - and flying those segments/phases wouldn't really produce a lot of handling skill.  When conditions permit, pilots will often hand fly approaches.  Departures are so different that it's really tough to call so the congestion rule applies.


Where departures and approaches are concerned, it's important to remember there are many different types of them. This will also affect the use of autopilot.


I hope this has been of help!

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Thank you both, that answers the question perfectly! :smile: 



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