Definition of automatic pilot in English:

automatic pilot


  • A device for keeping an aircraft on a set course without the intervention of the pilot.

    • ‘The automatic pilot had been programmed to fly the plane to Athens airport, and it was unclear how or why it had been disengaged, he said.’
    • ‘The speed valves control the rate at which the automatic pilot reacts to bring the airplane back on its course.’
    • ‘As Flight Engineer he must monitor the various manoeuvres, which are performed by automatic pilot, making sure that everything runs smoothly.’
    • ‘Those conditions forced its automatic pilot to change course quickly.’
    • ‘He changed course to starboard and, implementing David's suggestion, set the automatic pilot and went to make himself some coffee, which he wanted badly.’
    • ‘Of course, formation flying was no place for an automatic pilot, but for lead ships in the formation they would have been really handy.’
    • ‘After climbing out and disappearing from sight above the clouds, the pilot switched on the automatic pilot and sat back, the story goes.’
    • ‘In 1965, a British European Airways jet airliner made the first landing by automatic pilot.’
    • ‘Disengage the automatic pilot and contact the control tower for clearance.’
    • ‘The automatic pilot is engaged, but the pilots don't relax until we leave dangerous airspace.’
    • ‘In the Indiana crash, the automatic pilot shut down when the icing became extreme and returned control of the craft to the pilots.’


  • on automatic pilot

    • Acting or functioning without conscious thought, as a result of routine or habit.

      ‘I leapt out of bed and dressed on automatic pilot’
      • ‘They often lead their private lives on automatic pilot, but many of them feel seriously deprived, because they don't have real emotional connections.’
      • ‘If you're unsure of your parenting skills, try taking on one task at a time and doing it regularly - you'll soon be operating on automatic pilot.’
      • ‘She walked on automatic pilot to the tube and changed trains at Embankment without waking up.’
      • ‘It is a sentence written by someone who is writing on automatic pilot, putting down the thoughts pretty much as they popped into her head, and not bothering to arrange them in a sensible order once they were set down on paper.’
      • ‘Sometimes a conductor stands in front of musicians, waves his or her arms, they respond on automatic pilot, and you get serviceable, dull music and the waste of a conductor's fee.’
      • ‘I'm functioning on automatic pilot and am by then well on my way into the second half pint of coffee.’
      • ‘Having seen this quartet perform before, I was alarmed at how tired and bored the violinist looked, almost appearing as if he was playing this glorious first violin part on automatic pilot.’
      distractedly, inattentively, abstractedly, unheedingly, carelessly, absent-mindedly, on automatic pilot
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automatic pilot

/ˈˌɔdəˈmædɪk ˈpaɪlət//ˈˌôdəˈmadik ˈpīlət/