Continuing on its path to develop significant safety upgrades for the turbine and turboprop markets, Innovative Solutions & Support [NASDAQ: ISSC] announced today that it has gained FAA approval under a supplemental type certificate (STC) for its ThrustSense autothrottle for Beechcraft King Air 200 and 300 models equipped with the Garmin G1000 standard and NXi integrated flight deck.
The ThrustSense autothrottle serves as an active co-pilot through most of the phases of flight, beginning with the takeoff roll. Using a FADEC-style full regime engine control system, the ThrustSense stays with the pilot, monitoring, calculating, and adjusting engine inputs to ensure airspeed and envelope protection from takeoff to touchdown, and including the go-around phase.
The ThrustSense system earned a FLYING Editors Choice Award in 2021. A previous version can be installed in King Airs equipped with the Collins Pro Line 21 or Pro Line Fusion flight deck.
“We’re seeing continued acceptance and growth of ThrustSense’s safety and performance by King Air operators throughout the world,” said Tom Grunbeck, IS&S director of autothrottle programs. “With the aircraft’s broad range of mission capabilities, many aircraft operators are focused on further enhancing the King Air’s utility and value by reducing crew workload in their flight operations. ThrustSense is a great example of IS&S’s capabilities as a key player in providing technology to deliver next-level cockpit automation.”
How It Works
FLYING interviewed Grunbeck for a recent compilation of key upgrades for turboprops like the King Air and Pilatus PC-12. More than 30 PC-12s have seen the retrofit system, paving the way for its implementation in the King Air. We flew with the ThrustSense during its market survey testing phase, and the support it gives—especially when operating single pilot—is a big workload saver.
The autothrottle registers the airplane’s current state to provide an exact power setting for that flight phase. Where it truly acts as a safety improvement is in an engine power-loss scenario, providing protection so that the airspeed does not approach VMC and managing the dissimilar power levels through the emergency situation to maintain direction control.
The kit for the King Air includes a standby control unit, two actuators in series with engine control cables, and two circuit breakers to the breaker panel.