Exploring the Advanced Features of Helicopters: Unveiling the Truth about Autopilot

When it comes to aviation technology, helicopters are often seen as more hands-on, requiring constant control from the pilot. However, the reality is that modern helicopters are equipped with advanced features that can significantly ease the pilot’s workload. One such feature is the autopilot system. While it’s common knowledge that airplanes have autopilot, many are surprised to learn that helicopters do too. This article will delve into the advanced features of helicopters, focusing on the truth about autopilot.

What is Autopilot?

Autopilot is a system used to control the trajectory of an aircraft without constant ‘hands-on’ control by a human operator. Autopilot does not replace a human operator, but assists them in controlling the aircraft, allowing them to focus on broader aspects of operation such as monitoring the weather, systems, and navigation.

Do Helicopters Have Autopilot?

Yes, many modern helicopters have an autopilot system. The complexity and capabilities of the system can vary greatly depending on the type and purpose of the helicopter. Some helicopters have a full-feature autopilot system, while others may only have a basic system that can hold altitude and heading.

How Does Helicopter Autopilot Work?

Helicopter autopilot systems work by using a series of sensors to determine the aircraft’s current flight condition, including its direction, speed, and altitude. The system then uses this information to control the helicopter’s flight controls and maintain a set course and altitude. The pilot can input desired settings into the autopilot system, and the system will then make the necessary adjustments to the helicopter’s controls to achieve these settings.

What are the Benefits of Autopilot in Helicopters?

  • Reduced Pilot Workload: Autopilot systems can handle some of the tasks that would otherwise require the pilot’s constant attention, allowing the pilot to focus on other important aspects of flight.

  • Increased Safety: By maintaining a steady course and altitude, autopilot can help prevent pilot errors that could lead to accidents.

  • Improved Efficiency: Autopilot can fly a helicopter more efficiently than a human pilot, saving fuel and reducing wear and tear on the aircraft.


While the idea of a helicopter flying itself may seem like science fiction, the reality is that autopilot systems have been a part of helicopter technology for years. These systems provide numerous benefits, from reducing the pilot’s workload to increasing safety and efficiency. So, next time you see a helicopter soaring in the sky, remember that there’s a good chance it’s being assisted by an advanced autopilot system.