The FAA has issued a supplemental type certificate to Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) for its ThrustSense Autothrottle system in King Air B200 turboprops. The ThrustSense system automatically controls power settings of the King Air’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A engines, matching power to the selected airspeed but also protecting against exceeding torque and temperature limits. IS&S’s first autothrottle STC was for the Pilatus PC-12, and the next in line is the King Air 300.
Pilots can use ThrustSense in all phases of flight, including go-arounds. The system also provides automatic protections, according to IS&S, “regardless of autopilot engagement state in an attempt to keep airspeed, torque, and temperature from exceeding pre-defined targets.”
Autothrottles help lower pilot workload during arrivals and help pilots fly stabilized approaches by controlling speed during descents, while also preventing over-torque and over-temp of the engines.
Installation of the ThrustSense Autothrottle system takes about four days, the company said, with no structural modifications to the existing throttle quadrant. The installation includes the controller for the autothrottle and its interface, in an Autothrottle Control Panel.
IS&S plans to offer a software upgrade this year for King Air Vmca (minimum controllable airspeed) mitigation. According to IS&S, “ThrustSense will continually monitor multiple engine parameters and will detect the loss of an engine, then computes the amount of rudder-authority loss due to the reduction of airflow over the rudder. It uses this to calculate the reduction in thrust from the remaining engine to prevent hazardous yaw. Real-time monitoring of yaw provides additional safety in engine-out conditions.”
The ThrustSense Autothrottle retails for $68,000 for Pro Line 21-equipped King Airs. The price include the complete installation kit.