Autopilot Control Panel for A-5 Auto Pilot System, Sperry
This artifact resides in our Private Collection, yet we welcome inquiries from restorers, museums, or serious enthusiasts. Please email us with the name of the artifact at Curator@AeroAntique.com.
The A-5 Automatic Pilot was used primarily in WWII-era bomber aircraft of the Air Corps US Army such as the Consolidated B-24 Liberator (see photo showing the location of the panel in the B-24 cockpit). The A-5 system appeared in aircraft manufactured during or before 1943, the year when the Honeywell C-1 system became the standard autopilot system for large multi-engine aircraft. Theoretically, the A-5 system may also have appeared in the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress as well as bomber-trainer aircraft, but we've not yet found documentation to support this assumption. The A-5 was normally paired with the Sperry T-1 Bomb Sight system.
This is the "Control Unit", Sperry part number 644836, one of 15 components of the A-5 system (see diagram of system). The attitude control switch has a metal guard which prevents it from being switched off, so this might have been intended for an installation where this functionality was disabled. All other knobs and switches appear to operate mechanically as intended. Two tags are attached, one is a blue Acceptance tag, noting the module was received from "Ford" (one of several manufacturers of the B-24) 4/18/44 and a yellow Serviceable Part Tag dated 6/1/44. It is in exceptional condition.