Automatic Flight Control Systems and Their Effects

Have you ever wondered about what exactly autothrottles do? Most people probably hadn’t, since until a few years ago fully integrated automatic flight control systems (AFCS) with autothrottles were reserved for transporters and heavy iron business jets. However, recently they are being included on single-engine turboprops and will also be included on piston aircraft. So for those who are curious, here is a bit of an explanation of what an AFCS with autothrottle is, and why it’s beneficial.

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Some people are hesitant about automation, claiming that it reduces the amount of control you have over the craft in question. Whether it be cars, aircraft, or boats. The reality is that the main purpose of cockpit automation s to reduce the physical workload of the pilot and improve the safety of flight. It assists with actions already being performed and helps the pilot remain relaxed. The autothrottle reduces the need for so many controllers and integrates naturally onto the controls. The system makes it very clear what’s going on, but requires less micromanagement from the pilot.

While there are many modes to choose from when using flight director or autopilot, autothrottle usually only features two modes- speed and power, and occasionally features hold mode. It can also be limited by what is determined by the director of the flight, and you can’t use autothrottle and autopilot at the same time.

There are many other aspects to consider when utilizing autothrottle, such as how it handles takeoffs and whether autopilot mode is selected. Also, how it handles the initial climb, and how autothrottle will utilize climb power. Cruise, descent, and landing are also handled differently, with their own unique conditionals from switching between autopilot, airspeed, and autothrottle. In case something goes wrong as well, compared to autopilot, most autothrottles have simple override clutches that can be used without disengaging, and when the pilot wants to return to using the system, it will revert back to its previous state.

There are many automatic flight control systems with autothrottle out there that have minor use-case differences, so be on the lookout and research what would be best for your piloting style. Out of everything in avionics, autothrottle requires the least amount of study to understand it. While looking into that, make sure that you also investigate the best aircraft to go along with your automated flight control system and autothrottle here with Miami Jet! Have something in mind already? Or maybe you’re looking to sell or customize instead? Give us a call, or contact us, and we will help you ease your way into soaring to new heights!

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