I pulled the Eclipse 550’s throttles back and allowed the jet to slow down. The autopilot and autothrottles were turned off, but as we neared the stall, an audio alert sounded (“STALL”), the autothrottles kicked in and automatically advanced power to maximum continuous thrust and the airspeed climbed back to a safe level as I simultaneously unloaded the wings. After leveling off, I reset the throttles and resumed normal cruise speed.
Gulfstream Aerospace issued a maintenance and operations letter on Monday to all Gulfstream operators stressing that the “freedom of flight control movement is the ultimate indicator the gust lock is fully released for all Gulfstream models.” The letter, MOL-14-0024, is a follow-on to another sent on June 13 in the wake of the May 31 GIV-SP accident near Boston, reminding “operators of the importance of adhering to Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) procedures to
Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) delivered the first production PW306D1 engine that will power Cessna’s new midsize Latitude twinjet, which is expected to achieve certification and commence deliveries in mid-2015. The PW306D1, a development of the PW306C/D engines that have powered the airframer’s Sovereign and Sovereign+ jets since 2004, is rated at a maximum takeoff thrust of 5,907 pounds and, according to P&WC, delivers the best thrust-to-weight ratio in its class, as well as higher thrust to climb and better overall specific fuel consumption than previous engines in the PW306 series.
While Asiana Airlines acknowledged the culpability of its pilots in the loss of airspeed that ultimately caused the July 6 crash of one of the carrier’s Boeing 777-200ERs on approach to San Francisco International Airport, it also blamed the design of the airplane itself, describing as “inadequate” the warning system to alert the flight crew that the autothrottle had stopped maintaining airspeed.
The FAA proposed an airworthiness directive last week on the autothrottle computers installed on the Boeing 737-600/700/700C/800/900 to correct a glitch that in 2009 allowed a faulty radar altimeter aboard a Turkish Airlines 737 to tell the autothrottles to revert to idle thrust while the aircraft was still on final approach. The aircraft crashed in Amsterdam, killing nine people and injuring 117.
France’s BEA air accident investigation agency has released its serious incident report into the loss of control of an Air France Boeing 777 on November 11 while it was flying a Category III approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. During a go-around, the aircraft came within 63 feet of the ground before it established a positive climbout. The BEA said the pilot flying–the 14,370-hour captain–failed to execute the go-around according to Boeing procedures.
Eclipse Aerospace received a supplementary type certificate from the FAA on February 10 covering the autothrottle and anti-skid braking (ASB) systems on the new Eclipse 550. “The [550’s] is the only ASB in general aviation that does not require a complex aircraft hydraulic system and it can be retrofitted to most earlier Eclipse 500s,” the company said.
Once you’ve watched a professional flight crew fly a business jet equipped with Safe Flight’s AutoPower autothrottle system, you’ll wonder why autothrottles aren’t standard on more airplanes. While they offer efficiency and passenger comfort benefits, it’s the safety aspects that make autothrottles well worthwhile.
Cessna has successfully completed certification flight tests of Safe Flight Instrument’s automatic throttle system for the Citation X. FAA STC approval of the autothrottle system for the Mach 0.92 jet is expected within the next month, according to Safe Flight. By controlling speed and thrust, the Cessna Citation X autothrottles will result in increased situational awareness, reduced crew workload, greater passenger comfort and extended range/payload potential, Safe Flight said.
Safe Flight Instrument’s AutoPower autothrottle system has made its way onto the Gulfstream G150 (and via retrofit the G200). The STCed system, available as a factory-new option or via retrofit from authorized Gulfstream service centers, can extend the aircraft’s range or payload with its fuel savings. “You can take one extra passenger and his bags on a flight because of the fuel savings from the AutoPower system,” said sales manager Ken Bannon.
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