Pennsylvania-based Innovation Solutions & Support's (IS&S) ThrustSense autothrottle system recently received U.S. FAA supplemental type certification on the King Air B200, Tom Grunbeck, director of autothrottle programs for the company (Booth IS4), announced on Monday. ThrustSense had already been STC’d for the PC-12 and PC-12NG.
“Over 1,000 airplanes have been outfitted with IS&S cockpits,” said Grunbeck. “We’re excited to add the ThrustSense technology to our 4D Next Generation Flight Decks for PC-12 and King Air platforms.”
Consisting of an integrated standby unit (ISU) and linear actuators that control each throttle lever, the ThrustSense autothrottle provides smooth and synchronized power and speed control based on the aircraft’s pilot operating handbook values through takeoff, climb, airspeed hold, landing, go around, and other modes. The system can also instantly recognize an engine-out condition and adjust the throttle setting for the running engine to prevent hazardous yaw.
“In an engine-out condition, even some of the most experienced pilots may be unable to react accurately enough to restore and maintain control,” said IS&S chairman and CEO Geoffrey Hedrick. “By mitigating this dangerous condition, ThrustSense can provide pilots an added layer of protection. We’ve been told by the FAA that what we’re doing here with ThrustSense will save lives.”
The ThrustSense ISU contains an integrated computer, inertial measurement unit, air data system, and flat panel display in a box that directly replaces the existing standby unit in the flight deck. Its ISU computer uses proprietary software to determine the throttle positions needed to prevent over-temp, over-torque, over-speed and hot start conditions for engines that do not already use an electronic control system.
Integrated with ADS-B, the IS&S ThrustSense autothrottle can optionally provide in-trail spacing of two miles plus or minus 200 feet between aircraft.
“The classic case is being instructed to follow a Cessna 172, so you pick up your traffic and lock onto it,” said Hedrick. “If it goes into S-turns, your aircraft follows at exactly that same path within 30 feet laterally and at precisely the same speed.”
ThrustSense can also be used to meet a required time of arrival. “If a required time of arrival is set, on a given operation you can land within 15 seconds [of the set time]. Having flown into [Reagan Washington] National Airport and given a two-minute window, I would have found that very helpful.”