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A Conversation with Mike Hawthorne, Candidate for ATCA Board of Directors

Mike Hawthorne, VP at Veracity Engineering discusses the Air Traffic Control Association and aviation challenges and his career in aviation. Veracity-Eng.com AVMGT.COM On autopilot (Wiki via Popular Science, Feb 1930): The first aircraft autopilot was developed by Sperry Corporation in 1912. The autopilot connected a gyroscopic heading indicator and attitude indicator to hydraulically operated elevators and rudder. (Ailerons were not connected as wing dihedral was counted upon to produce the necessary roll stability.) It permitted the aircraft to fly straight and level on a compass course without a pilot's attention, greatly reducing the pilot's workload. Lawrence Sperry (the son of famous inventor Elmer Sperry) demonstrated it in 1914 at an aviation safety contest held in Paris. Sperry demonstrated the credibility of the invention by flying the aircraft with his hands away from the controls and visible to onlookers. Elmer Sperry Jr., the son of Lawrence Sperry, and Capt Shiras continued work on the same autopilot after the war, and in 1930 they tested a more compact and reliable autopilot which kept a US Army Air Corps aircraft on a true heading and altitude for three hours.[


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