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Autobrake Systems

Modern Hydro-Aire Automatic Braking (Autobrake) systems provide two modes of operation:

1. Landing Mode
2. Refused Take-Off (RTO) Mode


Autobrake Selector Switch An Autobrake Selector Switch (in the cockpit) allows the pilot to arm the RTO feature prior to takeoff or to select from several deceleration levels for landing. The autobrake system generally consists of the following:


  • Cockpit-mounted selector switch
  • Hydraulic manifolds containing a solenoid and a servo valve (certain systems have a dual, two manifold arrangement)
  • Control electronics, which in many cases, is included in the brake system control unit


Landing Mode

In Landing Mode, metered pressure is automatically applied to the brakes after touchdown independent of the pilots brake pedals. The system regulates brake pressure to compensate for the effects of aircraft drag, thrust reversers, and spoilers to maintain the selected deceleration level. Aircraft manufactures usually request a system with three levels of deceleration:


1. MIN
2. MED
3. MAX


Although five levels (1, 2, 3, 4, and MAX) can be provided, the lower settings produce moderate braking levels from 2 to 8 ft/sec. The maximum settings are more aggressive and can be arranged to use all the available runway friction provided by the antiskid system. In some applications, different deceleration levels can be selected by an external wiring configuration to permit differing deceleration levels for airlines with unique operational requirements. The pilot can select a different deceleration level during landing roll-out if so desired.


During the roll out, application of pedal braking transfers control back to the pilot. An advanced feature is available that compensates for pilot braking technique and makes the transfer exceptionally smooth. A Landing Autobrake System has significant advantages compared with standard pedal brakes. The smooth and steady application of brakes symmetrically across the aircraft improves lateral stability and ensures a constant deceleration rate.


This greatly enhances passenger ride comfort during the landing. The brakes are always applied at the same point in the touchdown sequence and the deceleration rate is constant which makes stopping distances consistent and predictable. The pilot can pre-select a runway turnoff with a high degree of confidence. Operation under Cat IIIb auto-land conditions is enabled.


Some studies suggest that brake life can be extended by the use of autobrakes.


Takeoff Mode

RTO autobrakes have been certified as the primary means of stopping the aircraft during a rejected take-off. With the system armed during takeoff, movement of the thrust levers back to the fully retarded position or operation of the thrust reversers will trigger full brake application. This automatic feature reduces crew workload during an emergency and frees resources for dealing with the cause of the rejected take-off.


The prompt, sustained application of full system pressure to the brakes minimizes stopping distance and reduces the probability of runway excursion. As with the Landing Mode, application of pedal braking transfers control back to the pilot.