autopilot

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autopilot (automatic pilot) Electronic and mechanical control system that ensures an aircraft follows a pre-programmed flight plan. It monitors the course and speed of the aircraft and corrects any deviations from the flight plan. Systems range from simple wing-levellers in light aircraft to computer-operated units consisting of: a gyroscope; an electric servomechanism unit and an accelerometer, which measures the acceleration of the aircraft.

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au·to·pi·lot / ˈôtōˌpīlət/ • n. short for automatic pilot.