Recommendation Date
Recipient Name
Ansett NZ
Investigate the practicability of using the FD and autopilot to alleviate the load on the pilot flying during non-precision instrument approaches in IMC.
Reply Text
Ansett New Zealand's policy not to use the Autopilot, or Flight Director has been critically reviewed in the light of this safety recommendation. The characteristics of the systems installed on both aircraft types operated by Ansett New Zealand, are such that the potential hazards of that practise may well outweigh any workload benefit.

In respect of the Dash-8 aircraft, the Auto Flight Control System (AFCS) which incorporates the Autopilot, is only approved for use on CAT 1 Precision Approaches.

Additionally, the Manufacturer's limitations provide for a minimum height for Autopilot use of 1,000 feet AGL, precluding use on approaches where this limitation is likely to be infringed.

Accordingly the use of Autopilots and to a lesser extent Flight Directors, is not considered by Ansett New Zealand to be presently practicable; however, before reaching a final decision on the matter, the Company proposes to continue its investigation and review and to seek advice from both the Manufacturer and other operators. Ansett New Zealand for the reasons expressed above, has not to date adopted the recommendation.
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