39. How Often is Autopilot Used?
Don’t freak out, but the chances that a computer is flying your plane are very high. Well, at least for the majority of the trip. According to standard procedure, pilots activate autopilot for about 90% of most commercial flights.
While a human touch is needed for take-off, landing and taxing to the gate, the autopilot system is engaged for most of the cruising period. That doesn’t mean the cockpit crew is sitting around bored, but autopilot frees them to focus on tasks such as navigation and systems and communication operation.