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Autothrottle Computer Amplifier

Technical Information

Catalogue No: C0202
Category: Engine Control
Object Type: Signal/Data Processor
Object Name: Autothrottle Computer Amplifier
Part No: 5048-A-1
Serial No: 001/66
Manufacturer: Elliott Bros (London) Ltd
Division: Unknown
Platform(s): BAC 1-11
Year of Manufacture: 1966
Dimensions: Width (mm): 91
Height (mm): 209
Depth (mm): 355
Weight (g): 4,900
Location: Rack RAA01 [Main Store]

Autothrottle Computer Amplifier
Type No. 5048-A-1
Ref No.
Ser No. 001/66
[Mod Status] A
Flight Test Only


The Autothrottle Computer Amplifier is a 3/8 ATR Short box containing the electronics necessary for computing autothrottle demands. The Autothrottle system operates the pilot’s throttle levers to control thrust according to Indicated Airspeed or Mach Number. An alternative control to Angle of Attack command was possible. At the time the Autothrottle Computer Amplifier was made in the Transport Aircraft Controls Division of Elliott Bros.

An autothrottle (automatic throttle, also known as autothrust, A/T) is a system that allows a pilot to control the power setting of an aircraft's engines by specifying a desired flight characteristic, rather than manually controlling the fuel flow. The autothrottle can greatly reduce the pilots' workload and help conserve fuel and extend engine life by metering the precise amount of fuel required to attain a specific target indicated air speed, or the assigned power for different phases of flight. Autothrottle and AFDS (Auto Flight Director Systems) can work together to fulfill the whole flight plan.

There are two parameters that an Autothrottle can maintain or try to attain: speed and thrust.

In speed mode the throttle is positioned to attain a set target speed. This mode controls aircraft speed within safe operating margins. For example, if the pilot selects a target speed which is slower than stall speed, or a speed faster than maximum speed, the autothrottle system will maintain a speed closest to the target speed that is within the range of safe speeds.

In the thrust mode the engine is maintained at a fixed power setting according to the different flight phases. For example, during takeoff, the Autothrottle maintains constant takeoff power until takeoff mode is finished. During climb, the Autothrottle maintains constant climb power; in descent, the A/T reduces the setting to the idle position, and so on. When the Autothrottle is working in thrust mode, speed is controlled by pitch (or the control column), and not by the Autothrottle. A radar altimeter feeds data to the Autothrottle mostly in this mode.

The BAC 1-11 AFCS, like that in the VC10, was based on the well proven Bendix PB-20 Autopilot and was designated the Series 2000 AFCS. New features over the PB-20 system include separate pitch and azimuth control computers, a modular Air Data Sensor and a range of units specifically designed for autoflare and autolanding.

Each unit in the BAC 1-11 AFCS is built to a common configuration with circuit modules arranged in stacks either side of the chassis. The stacks are connected by plugs to a mother board and are physically separated into ‘command’ and ‘monitor’ functions to preclude common failures. The computers are entirely solid state and there is a high degree of built-in-test. Self-monitoring techniques and multiple channel redundancy are used to give automatic failure survival in approach and cruise flight.

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