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.
Safe Flight Instrument introduced its AutoPower Citation X autothrottle system during the NBAA Convention. The system can operate in speed dominate or power dominate mode. It also has a retard mode for landing. “Passenger comfort is just one of the advantages of this system,” said Ken Bannon, manager of corporate marketing for the company. “The system reduces crew workload, stabilizes approaches, limits airspeed overshoots and contributes to fuel savings.”
Safe Flight Instrument announced last month that its AutoPower autothrottle has been approved as an STC by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for installation on the Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 900, 850, 800 and 750 jets. AutoPower will also be STCed for Cessna’s Citation X this summer by the Cessna Wichita Citation Service Center and will be offered as a retrofit on all Citation Xs.
Flight management systems are coming for the Eclipse 500 very light jet and other aircraft, thanks to a new program from Innovative Solutions & Support (IS& S). IS&S (Booth No. 4443) and Eclipse Aerospace (Booth No. 6667) have announced that the avionics manufacturer will provide Eclipse 500 operators with the new AvioNG FMS system.
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