TBM 940 Autothrottle – A Game Changer

By Steve Davis, Executive Sales Director for Elliott Jets

With over 900 airplanes delivered, the TBM series of aircraft are one of the most popular business aircraft on the market today. Known for its incredible 1,700+ NM range, excellent short-field performance, Garmin G3000 avionics, 330 KTS cruise speed, and fast climb, the TBM 940 is one of the most pilot-friendly airplanes on the market. The 940 has several major improvements over the 930, including automatic ice detection, more advanced radar, and most notably, Garmin’s HomeSafe™ autoland. In addition to these improvements, the TBM 940 features autothrottle, which from a pilot’s perspective is a game-changer. 

What Does it Do?

Once only found in larger jets and airline  aircraft, autothrottle provides a far more precise and efficient way of flying an aircraft. Much like using the cruise control in an automobile, the autothrottle function on the TBM 940 allows for the exact control of the aircraft’s speed, protects from engine and airframe exceedances, and allows the pilot to choose the speed of the airplane. The autothrottle function on a TBM 940 works with or without autopilot, and works seamlessly with Electronic Stability Protection (ESP), Over Speed Protection (OSP), Under Speed Protection (USP) and Emergency Descent Mode (EDM). It is a great tool to use with the included Angle of Attack (AOA) for more perfect landings.

How Do You Use It?

The TBM 940 autothrottle can be set either automatically or manually and can be selected at any segment of the flight. You simply set the speed on the autothrottle and the airplane flies at that exact speed. In automatic mode, you preprogram the speeds that you want for each segment of the flight. In manual mode, you turn a speed control knob to make the change. When used in conjunction with the autopilot, it works with TO .GA, FLC, SPD, VS, VNAV or ALT modes of the autopilot and you can fly a complete approach all the way down to where you shut off the autopilot. You can also hand fly the pattern with autothrottle on and the autopilot off and it will hold the speed that you select.

The autothrottle also works with ESP, OSP, and USP. If the envelope protection activates, the autothrottle will activate as well. If the airplane approaches a stall, the USP will activate, pitch down, and the throttle will increase to maintain and hold altitude. If the airplane is pitched too low, the autopilot will engage and pull the nose up and the throttle will  adjust to control speed.

If the emergency descent mode is activated, the autothrottle will decrease to lower trust and control speed. If the airplane is above 15,000 ft. with the autopilot engaged and the cabin goes above 10,500 ft., it automatically engages descent mode to a pressure altitude of 15,000 ft.

When used with the AOA, you can have more perfect landings. AOA is a tool that will let the pilot know what speed is 1.3 VSO for a given weight. With the AOA on the panel of the TBM 940, you can see how close and when the aircraft is at 1.3 VSO and dial that speed into the autothrottle. With the autothrottle and autopilot engaged on final approach, the aircraft will trim itself to the final approach speed. When you disconnect to land, the aircraft  will hand over to you a perfectly trimmed airplane for an easy nose high flare and landing.

The Benefits

As pilots, we typically plan on  speeds that we are either used to, or are taught would be safe speeds with less  consideration for performance. The autothrottle can be programmed to automatically adjust to max power for takeoff mode, climb speed, and cruise speed. This makes for a faster and more efficient trip with no exceedances, making a far lower workload for the pilot. It creates stabilized approaches and will advance automatically in automatic go around mode. It makes landings easy when the approach is stabilized and the airplane is perfectly trimmed. It also makes it so you cannot stall the airplane. 

Wrap Up

Autothrottle will change the way you fly. It will create a safer and more efficient flight and decrease pilot workload. It can be used with or without autopilot and in conjunction with many other features like ESP, OSP, USP, EDM, and AOA. Elliott Jets has been selling new TBM’s since 2005. Our parent company, Elliott Aviation, is an authorized service center for all models of TBM. We are a new TBM 910 and 940 dealer for Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska. You can find more information about the TBM 910 and 940 here.

About Steve Davis

Steve Davis is based in Des Moines, Iowa. He joined Elliott Aviation in November 2005 and is currently an Executive Sales Director for new Daher TBM turbo prop aircraft and pre-owned jet and turboprop aircraft. His resume includes 46 years of sales and marketing experience in positions as Avionics Regional Sales Manager, National Sales Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing as well as a small business owner. He is married with two grown sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren.

Davis’s extreme passion for airplanes began at age 16. He now has more than 18,000 hours of flight time. He holds commercial, single and multi-engine, instrument flight and ground instructor ratings, is an active pilot, instructor and aircraft owner.