Safe Flight Instrument Corp.’s (Booth No. 2239) AutoPower autothrottle system will be available to Hawker 800 series aircraft within a year, the company announced yesterday. Safe Flight and West Star Aviation will be unveiling the product and taking orders tomorrow afternoon between 4:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Safe Flight exhibit.
Autothrottle systems that control power and airspeed from takeoff to touchdown have been available on larger business jets for years, but this is the first time the system will be installed in a midsize jet, according to Thomas Grunbeck, vice president of sales and marketing at Safe Flight. “This is really revolutionary for a midsize aircraft,” he said.
The AutoPower system will be certified under an FAA supplemental type certificate for the Hawker 800 series by West Star and will be available through West Star Aviation for all currently operating and new Hawker 800 series aircraft. “In the market surveys we did of the Hawker 800XP fleet, there was overwhelming enthusiasm for this addition to the airframe,” said West Star general manager Rick Brainard. He added that the system is “fully retrofitable” and he believes that demand may lead Hawker Beechcraft to eventually offer the product in the factory.
Brainard said there are many advantages to the system. “There’s obviously a performance advantage,” he said. “Adding this system to the airplane offers up to three percent performance savings in fuel costs. That’s why it’s been popular in bigger airplanes. Bigger airplanes burn more fuel, so there’s a bigger return.” In addition, he said pilots can focus on more relevant tasks.