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automatic pilot

Aeronautics. an airborne electronic control system that automatically maintains a preset heading and attitude.
on automatic pilot, functioning in an unthinking or reflexive manner.
Origin of automatic pilot
First recorded in 1915-20 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for automatic pilot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He set the automatic pilot and leaned back in his seat to enjoy the view.

    The Onslaught from Rigel Fletcher Pratt
  • He locked the automatic pilot on the copter and held out his arms.

  • Sherman flattened out, and without paying any attention to direction, snapped in the automatic pilot and reached for his gun.

    The Onslaught from Rigel Fletcher Pratt
  • The pilot took over manual control from the automatic pilot.

    Space Platform Murray Leinster
  • He centered the ship as well as he could on the Dome below and threw it into automatic pilot.

    Postmark Ganymede Robert Silverberg
  • The automatic pilot caused the ship to drift with the rotation of the planet, keeping them in fixed relative position.

    Eight Keys to Eden Mark Irvin Clifton
  • Without orders, without clearance papers, without an automatic pilot check.

    The Long Voyage Carl Richard Jacobi
  • By the exercise of his will he has set his course, and on that course he will stay as if guided by an automatic pilot.

    The Pursuit of God A. W. Tozer
  • He punched down the keys, and sat back to wait for the automatic pilot to carry him out from Earth.

    Starman's Quest Robert Silverberg
British Dictionary definitions for automatic pilot

automatic pilot

Also called autopilot. a device that automatically maintains an aircraft on a preset course
(informal) on automatic pilot, acting without conscious thought because of tiredness, shock, or familiarity with the task being performed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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