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May 3rd 2008 11:49AM Just like to clarify a few points:
Many modern but slightly older aircraft do not have auto-throttles even though have sophisticated autopilots.
Some airlines encouraging use of auto-pilot from 1000ft after takeoff until near landing due to inexperience of crew to minimise work load and risk.
The "hunting" described relating to climb (and descent as well) is generally in turbulence and can be overcome by selecting "Pitch" mode on the autopilot rather than a speed on climb or rate of descent on descent. Works really well and there is no need to hand-fly and passengers get a smoother ride than hand-flying or using other modes on the autopilot.
Aircraft without an autoland can fly an precision instrument approach (ILS) down to 200ft above ground level on auto-pilot.