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135.93   Autopilot: Minimum altitudes for use.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (e) of this section, no person may use an autopilot at an altitude above the terrain which is less than 500 feet or less than twice the maximum altitude loss specified in the approved Aircraft Flight Manual or equivalent for a malfunction of the autopilot, whichever is higher.

(b) When using an instrument approach facility other than ILS, no person may use an autopilot at an altitude above the terrain that is less than 50 feet below the approved minimum descent altitude for that procedure, or less than twice the maximum loss specified in the approved Airplane Flight Manual or equivalent for a malfunction of the autopilot under approach conditions, whichever is higher.

(c) For ILS approaches, when reported weather conditions are less than the basic weather conditions in 91.155 of this chapter, no person may use an autopilot with an approach coupler at an altitude above the terrain that is less than 50 feet above the terrain, or the maximum altitude loss specified in the approved Airplane Flight Manual or equivalent for the malfunction of the autopilot with approach coupler, whichever is higher.

(d) Without regard to paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of this section, the Administrator may issue operations specifications to allow the use, to touchdown, of an approved flight control guidance system with automatic capability, if

(1) The system does not contain any altitude loss (above zero) specified in the approved Aircraft Flight Manual or equivalent for malfunction of the autopilot with approach coupler; and

(2) The Administrator finds that the use of the system to touchdown will not otherwise adversely affect the safety standards of this section.

(e) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, the Administrator issues operations specifications to allow the use of an approved autopilot system with automatic capability during the takeoff and initial climb phase of flight provided:

(1) The Airplane Flight Manual specifies a minimum altitude engagement certification restriction;

(2) The system is not engaged prior to the minimum engagement certification restriction specified in the Airplane Flight Manual, or an altitude specified by the Administrator, whichever is higher; and

(3) The Administrator finds that the use of the system will not otherwise affect the safety standards required by this section.

(f) This section does not apply to operations conducted in rotorcraft.