The ThrustSense autothrottle system from Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) has achieved an FAA STC for the King Air. Photo: IS&S
ThrustSense, the Innovative Solutions & Support (IS&S) autothrottle technology that brings a full authority digital engine control (FADEC)-like navigation to non-FADEC aircraft, has achieved an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) for the Beech King Air B200.
IS&S first detailed progress on bringing ThrustSense from the PC-12 to the King Air at the 2018 National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA) 2018 annual conference and exhibition. When engaged, a torque and temperature guidance system helps the autothrottle system adjust throttles and hold the pilot’s selected airspeed and automatically controls the power setting of the engine.
ThrustSense uses an automatic take-off and go-around mode that can take the engine up to max power in a few short seconds. When pilots move the throttle in a position that would under-speed the airplane or over-speed the engine, it shakes the throttle handle like a stick shake, so the pilot can move the throttle up and get a tactical feedback of the position and operating speed. This allows the pilot to always have manual control of the aircraft.
Specifically, the system monitors “multiple engine parameters and will detect the loss of an engine then computes the amount of rudder authority loss due to the reduction of air flow over the rudder,” according to IS&S.
“It uses this to calculate the reduction in thrust from the remaining engine to prevent hazardous yaw,” IS&S said.
A software upgrade to enable the use of minimum controllable velocity (Vmc) mitigation is also planned for release later in the year. The upgrade would give ThrustSense the ability to prevent excessive yaw if the aircraft loses an engine by calculating where the remaining thrust needs to be applied using a vertical stabilizer.
Installation time required for the ThrustSense modification takes four days, according to IS&S, and requires no structural modifications to the B200’s throttle quadrant. The upgrade is enabled by installing an autothrottle control panel that creates a new user interface for King Air pilots. Available as a standalone installation for $68,000 or as part of a package with the company's flight deck with displays, certification is also expected for the King Air 350 later this year.