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Simulator Training for strong crosswind landings

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Simulator Training for strong crosswind landings

Old 11th Jun 2014, 23:36
  #61 (permalink)  
ZFT
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AirRabbit

Too busy traveling to contribute to this interesting thread at present but a small correction. The Air Florida B737 you refer to had 150 X 40 degree optics not 50. (I was heavily involved with the 1st FAA Phase 3 at PSA that followed this device and that had identical optics).
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Old 12th Jun 2014, 00:11
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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Angry

Hi ZFT!

Oops!!!! Of course it was 150 X 40, what you read was an embarrassing demonstration of my pathetic LACK of typing skills and my often committed error of NOT proof reading what I typed!! Thanks for the subtile reminder - and I was quite familiar with the machine you guys had as well.
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Old 12th Jun 2014, 07:47
  #63 (permalink)  
 
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Hi AirRabbit,
Anyone not located at either of those pilot positions ... may, at times, find that their inner ear (subject to the motion cues provided by the motion system) may not be completely “in-sync” with what images are transmitted from the eyes to that portion of the brain that is processing those external cues .... nonetheless, quite rare that a person occupying either of the pilot seats will experience any such anomaly...
There is very limited rotation of the simulator cabin in the horizontal plane (constant heading). During any taxiing where the visual and instruments show we've just completed say a 180 degree turn, even with a latency well within 100 ms, my inner ear tells me we have not turned and I feel nauseous.

Am I really "quite rare" or are there a lot more of us out there.
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Old 12th Jun 2014, 17:50
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Hi rudderrudderrat:

I’m sure there are folks out there who “know” you’re “quite rare” – but I don’t think that is what you were referencing. With respect to the nausea (more to your point), while there are some who note this kind of circumstance, they are not so numerous that I would think it to be commonplace – and even those who do, at times, experience such phenomena, would likely say that they are not subject to such feelings each and every time they do that particular something in the simulator. The reason for this is that simulators really are only capable of inducing what is known as “on-set” cueing; in the case you describe, through motion of the simulator cab initially. Once that motion is initiated, it is perceived by the simulator occupants – and as the motion system begins to approach its physical limits, it slows and begins to “reset” back to the neutral position – but it slows, stops, and reverses at a rate that is normally well below what is detectable by the human senses. This is particularly true if the person doesn’t specifically focus on the differences between what is presented and what is known. In the meantime, the other human senses – sight and sound primarily – are left the responsibility to confirm and reinforce what was originally “sensed.” The visual scene continues to move, as do the appropriate flight instruments. If there is an external sound present (like another airplane in proximity with engines running) the sound from that source is also used to confirm the continued movement. Normally, this is sufficient to allow the brain to process what is available, confirm the movement, and prevent any degree of nausea. Of course, there are some folks who, at least initially, are, or were, absolutely committed to “test” the capabilities of such subtle manipulation of the senses – like me for example. But it IS possible to convince even the most obstinate skeptic that the human senses CAN be fooled. Of course, each case is somewhat different and it sometimes takes rather substantial efforts to do that. However, as you would easily recognize, taking those extraordinary steps to convince every, and any, person who has doubts would be appropriately time consuming and expensive. Particularly, since a good portion of the believability or acceptability of any particular simulator provided cue can be simply believed or accepted by the individual if they simply relax and “go with the flow.” And by that I mean not focusing on the very limited and specific cue involved, but rather continue interacting with what is presented and performing the tasks that you know are necessary to be accomplished. In all sincerity, this works some of the time, maybe even a majority of the time, but, truthfully, not always.

This may or may not give you any peace about what you have experienced in simulators – but, to answer your specific question – I’ve never done a person-by-person interview to know for sure how “rare” an individual might be who has experienced, or still experiences, what you’ve described … so, truthfully, I’m stuck with my own beliefs and my own experiences with the simulators and the numbers of persons I’ve seen using those simulators – and that number is quite substantial. So, in my not-so-humble opinion – yes – you are, indeed, “quite rare” ... not alone, but quite rare nonetheless.
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Old 13th Jun 2014, 20:12
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Originally Posted by Natstrackalpha
Thank you all for your good wishes - Jameson 18 vintage - did the trick, I finished the bottle very quickly so it wouldn't go off.)
I never feel sick in the sim - never have!
Why did y`all have to go and say the word sick?

by the way Air Rabbit. You are my hero, you should write a book. I love learning from you.
(you `could` get a jealous hit, after that comment but just `turn and burn` - everyone seems very nice on this thread - it would be nice to fly with them - its a bit like the real world actually
Hi Natstrackalpha:

Thanks much for the very kind comments – and I happen to agree with you about the participants on this forum – and I believe that these participants represent the depth and breadth of the attitudes and personalities seen in the cockpits of airplanes around the globe – and that is a good thing – and is what I would suspect that John T and his moderator colleagues have been striving to achieve and maintain. They have succeeded, quite successfully, I think and in that success, it would be darn near impossible to have every point be completely agreed to by every participant all the time … and that impossibility is exactly what makes this forum the best available … and particularly so when those participants read what is posted and then have an opportunity to think about, analyze, argue with, agree with, become convinced (either “for” or “against”) whatever points are being discussed and opinions presented. THAT is where the concept of “learning” is based. One does not have to agree with every aspect of every post to actually learn something “new” or “different” about the subject being bantered about. I believe that it is the anonymity provided – through the faceless and nameless position provided – that allows the participants here to forego the concerns they might have had about jeopardizing their own personal “reputations” by stating what they believe, or by asking the questions that they might not ask in a more traditional training environment. This more complete and more frank exchange of ideas also provides the ability for participants to better understand a point that might not have otherwise been given or given so bluntly or completely, or to hear “the other side of the story” as clearly and as pointedly as is provided here. Sure, sometimes feelings may get a bit “bruised,” but it’s certainly not serious nor long-lasting – and philosophically immaterial when considering what may have been learned or examined from a different perspective.

I suspect that sometime in the future I just may write some kind of opinion-influenced position paper or something similar, although I doubt that anything like a “book” would result, certainly not a very successful book … but I do appreciate the vote of confidence. Also, I think that your personal choice of options/actions from which you were able to choose as your preferences dictated, was certainly an excellent choice …. and I am more than a little envious of your continued ability to venture down that road, because, unfortunately, as more and more pages of the wall calendar have come and gone, my physical ability, not to even address my fiscal ability, to enjoy the use of Jamesons (18), Glenmorangie (18), or Aberfeldy (21) has waned significantly … much to my disappointment. So, at any appropriate time of your choosing, please, when you next splash some of that golden liquid over an ice cube or several, think of me as you do!
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Old 14th Jun 2014, 01:00
  #66 (permalink)  
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An interesting thread that started off on crosswinds and ‘drifted’ or evolved into visual and general FSTD issues and to a degree, human perceptions with some good historical information.

Whilst I agree with much of what has been posted, I tend to see things somewhat different to AirRabbit mainly I suspect because we operate under different regulatory regimes.

The FAA (unless they have changes significantly from my albeit not recent experience) are quite rigid about objective matching of data and the QTG results are critical to a successful initial and recurrent qualification of an FSTD, irrespective of whether it be Level D or a lower level device and FAA approved devices performance and handling qualities tends to be very close to the approved data.

EASA whilst requiring the same standard of objective matching do now recognize the basically ridiculous situation that the airframe manufacturers perform flight tests and data gathering on non-production standard aircraft which almost always results in totally inaccurate or incorrect data (then used within the MQTG) especially in the areas of sound and vibrations, which of course are the unique areas that differentiate a Level D FSTD! (Almost without fail, every simulator that we have qualified these past few years had initially excessive sounds, typically aero and excessive buffets when perfectly matching so called approved data).
With a rationale and supporting data (not necessarily flight test) EASA will allow the operator to deviate from approved data and subjectively ‘adjust’ these areas to better match the real aircraft.

So what has this got to do with Xwind landings? Actually everything. Our internal process for checking a new FSTD from the OEM is once the QTGs are 100% complete is to expose it to as many experienced TREs, Engineering Test Pilots, Aircraft Acceptance Pilots etc. as practical and to get them to check its suitability for training as they deem fit. Again without fail, Xwind landings typically on contaminated runways are high on their list of areas that needs improvement. For such a critical area, the amount of test data and testing is actually quite poor. (This is also the time we get consensus on sounds and buffets across all areas).

Now life gets interesting because the industry ‘get out of jail card’ gets played by the simulator OEM and often the airframe OEM – “It meets approved data”. This issue is in many ways what holds back the fidelity of modern FSTDs. Strictly speaking the simulator OEMs position is correct as they are contracted to manufacture an FSTD to a defined regulatory standard (EASA, FAA, and ICAO) to a specific aircraft data pack standard (e.g. Airbus A320 Standard 1.9) and the aircraft OEM is not prepared to spend any (additional) money unless it really has to, especially on a mature aircraft.

If this FSTD was offered for approval now, unbelievably it would be qualified level D even though experienced trainers and test pilots have all stated that certain critical areas are non-representative of the actual aircraft. All the regulatory authorities could do is possibly to write up these areas within their subjective evaluation which could be subsequently cleared without any corrective action as “It meets approved data”. This is why the stranger, wangus, jwscud, FullWings and other posters all experience such appalling and totally unnecessary negative training.

Who’s to blame for this? Everyone. We the operators if we accept this, certainly the regulators for failing to ensure that FSTDs are suitable for training, not just meet the applicable standards and every TRE/TRI/SFE/SFI who fails to write up ANY deficiency EVERY time they operate an FSTD. (We implore our trainers to write up everything as this is the only way that we can improve the training experience).

As operators we have the ultimate responsibility not to put any device into training until we are totally satisfied that it meets all the training requirements and believe me, it is possible. On an FSTD that is now just over 2 years old, we forced the OEM to dramatically improve the Xwind model (and other areas of concern) away from data (which we accepted full responsibility for). We did receive some limited supplementary data from the airframe OEM and the net result is during these past 2 years, not a single handling related criticism or write up!! Yes, this incurred delays before it entered service and of course owners and shareholders were not pleased but IMHO it was worth it.

Of course it is essential that the highest quality visual systems are used as visual cuing, especially peripheral is an important element and wider and higher FOV displays which are now available seem to be of benefit. Better scene content, runway surface, runway markings, runway contaminations, edge lighting stalks, signage and marker boards correctly positions around the touchdown zone all seem to help with subconscious cuing.

Simulation is nothing but one big con job but apart from the obvious there is one other massive benefit. It is the perfect and only environment to do things wrong, either unintentionally and hopefully learn from it or deliberately just to see the result (we have a FSTD with very accurate post stall modelling and every trainee experiences a deep tail stall and recovery) but of course, the FSTD must be as accurate as it can be else the FSTD is always wrong, not the trainee!


It is important we do not lose sight of the prime purpose of flight simulation. It is to prepare, train and test crews for the safe operation of their aircraft to the required standard under all circumstances. This can only be achieved if every link in the chain is sound. Quality trainees, quality trainers, quality training programs supported by quality FSTDs result in safe operations. Lose quality anywhere and someone will be headline news.
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Old 14th Jun 2014, 20:42
  #67 (permalink)  
 
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In this thread there has been a rather wide range of comments, where I believe that at least some of the opinions expressed are formulated more from rationalizing observed actions, and then compartmentalizing those actions into a predetermined set of “cause-effect” results, from which is postulated the “reason” behind the particular action or behavior recognized during training – often thought to be an inadequacy of the simulator itself. The danger in doing this is that it completely by-passes the 2 most significant factors present in any training scenario … those are:
1) the instructor’s talent, ability, and his/her knowledge of the simulation used; AND
2) the student’s repertoire of previously learned cause-effect functions, and any “cheat-sheet” functions the student believes might provide a better performance in “today’s” simulator session (I’ll likely have more to say on this subject later).

My education, training, and experience tends to question the accuracy of establishing neatly compartmentalized behaviors that are not easy to measure, technically or otherwise, and which, in turn, are not likely to be as definitive as imagined. Of course there are simulators that have shortcomings of all sizes, shapes, and descriptions – most stemming from the obvious fact that the simulator is NOT the airplane. As I’ve said multiple times in this forum and elsewhere, a simulator is a tool – albeit a very sophisticated tool – but a tool, nonetheless. A chalk board and chalk was/is a tool that was, and continues to be, at least to some degree, a successfully used tool in the training of pilots. We, as instructors are not in the business of teaching pilots to fly the simulator … our goal should be to teach pilots to fly the airplane. I probably need not remind anyone here that simulators have come an exceptionally long way since their initial use a long time ago. But, and as I pointed out in a recent post, while there are older simulators still in operation, most of which have been modernized and subsequently upgraded to meet more current standards (some of which are qualified today at Level C or Level D), perhaps the oldest simulator in the FAA inventory still qualified at Level A, a Lockheed JetStar, L-1329-23A simulator, is still regularly used to teach and test pilots on that airplane. Obviously, that is NOT the only training mechanism that is used to teach Jetstar pilots, but that specific simulator, as used by the assigned instructing staff, does the job it was intended to provide – day in and day out. My point here is that regardless of how accurate a particular simulator may or may not be, there are likely to be some, perhaps many, areas where any particular simulator does not perform, handle, respond … in general, “fly,” just exactly like the airplane being simulated. It has always been the goal of airplane manufacturers, simulator manufacturers, training organizations, airlines, and regulatory authorities to maximize the benefits of the use of properly designed, constructed, developed, equipped, and used flight simulators to train pilots to operate the simulated airplane. This is only part of the reason that regulatory authorities (specifically the US FAA) has, over time, developed the currently existing regulatory structure that defines the requirements for putting an airplane flight simulator into service to assist in the training of pilots in the US.

My colleague, ZFT has pointed out that his experience has included “…every simulator that we have qualified these past few years had initially excessive sounds, typically aero and excessive buffets when perfectly matching so called approved data.” Additionally, he is of the opinion that there is a “basically ridiculous situation that the airframe manufacturers perform flight tests and data gathering on non-production standard aircraft which almost always results in totally inaccurate or incorrect data (then used within the MQTG) especially in the areas of sound and vibrations, which of course are the unique areas that differentiate a Level D FSTD!” I suspect that even he might have at least some “second thoughts” about the accuracy of, and his choice of descriptors used, in describing his experience with simulation data and its sources – although, admittedly, it does communicate the level of anguish he feels over inaccurate simulator programming. Additionally, I share every bit of the same anguish – simply because anyone would desire perfection or at least a much closer approximation, even though it is well-understood that absolute accuracy is exceedingly difficult, and perhaps impossible, to achieve. However, rather than focusing all of my emotions and efforts on criticizing the way data is gathered, reduced, developed, and incorporated into a flight simulator, and insisting that I, or anyone else, be allowed the authorization to “adjust” that data to fit what I believe to be “more accurate,” I prefer to focus on ensuring that the instructors and evaluators who would use whatever level of such data gathering, reduction, development, and incorporation makes it into an operational simulator, are competently and completely trained on that particular simulator, including its short comings and its accuracies – with a view toward the intent of ensuring they will be fully equipped to use that simulator to its maximum capabilities to assist in training pilots to fly the airplane being simulated. I do this while ensuring that the data provider(s) is/are aware of the concerns that I and those with whom I work have noted the reasoning behind any “uncomfortable” aspect of the data as it exists as part of the simulator and leave those professionals to their respective professional capabilities to review, and, if appropriate, make any necessary, competent, and verifiable corrections to that data.

Everyone should understand that the US has moved from inspecting, evaluating, and qualifying flight simulation equipment through an “advisory” document describing the desired accuracies, to a regulatory requirement for the level of accuracy desired at each level of Flight Simulation Training Device. During the development of that regulation, the major airplane manufacturers, the major simulator manufacturers, many airline management representatives, several pilot organizations, and several airplane flight testing organizations directly participated in that development process – and the FAA managed to keep other regulatory authorities fully aware of the direction that the discussions were taking. Despite the regulatory aspect of the simulator data requirements, within those regulations, there are provisions for simulator manufacturers and airline/training organizations sponsoring FSTDs, to use data from sources separate from, and independent of, airplane manufacturers, as long as these organizations are able to provide a description of their processes for gathering, downloading, reducing, and developing such data into useable programming for the simulator.

Additionally, the recently published ICAO document for simulators was developed by a consortium of the same participants joined by several country’s regulatory authorities, all fully and quite successfully representing their own interests and being able to see, hear, and “feel,” the concerns of others who would be integrally involved in the development and use of such a document. Of course, with the degree of accuracy attempted and the range of operational environments in which the simulator will be operated, the amount and the subsequent accuracy of any data gathered is most challenging – and when the variable factors are introduced, i.e., structural expansions, contractions, squeaks, and groans; the altitudes, pressures, associated temperature ranges; the airspeed, gross weight, and airplane configuration differences, through which each simulator will be expected to provide accurate simulations – it certainly should be understood that providing precision in data accuracy is most assuredly attempted, and to a very great extent, achieved – knowing that corrections and variances are likely to be necessary – the overall process cannot help but be admired and respected by us all.

Last edited by AirRabbit; 14th Jun 2014 at 22:17.
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Old 15th Jun 2014, 00:13
  #68 (permalink)  
 
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AirRabbit

Interesting posts. In your opinion, what has the effect on the US simulator standards been by the change from AC120-40C and FAR Part 60? What has the effect been on having most if not all of the inspectors based out of one city, instead of all over the country?
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Old 15th Jun 2014, 14:33
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All sims are not equal, even if they are of the same spec, manufacturer and owner airline. My employer has numerous Level D sims and they all behave differently, some more realistically than others. However, all make me feel quite drunk for the first hour, presumably because of the limits of the movement simulation and their apparent slight lack of synchronisation with the visuals and instruments. However, all of them have been much harder to fly by hand than the real aircraft , of which I have flown a few hundred individual airframes - even the oldest, most abused and twisted "Friday afternoon" airframe was easier to handle than the best sim. I have been told that several EU authorities insist on "destabilising" them to ensure that the checking guarantees we can fly the aircraft even on a bad day, but whether that is true or not I don't know.

Simulator cross-wind training is currently being undertaken at my employer - I did it on my last RST and they want to increase the cross-wind limits, so we did 35kts wet t/o and ldg. It wasn't especially difficult, but despite the sim's steady and smooth wind, which is in itself unrealistic, it was much harder than real life. We more experinced folk have all landed in very high x-winds where ATC have reported the lower winds (before the averaging systems appeared in towers to stop them cheating) because they were trying to keep things moving and thought they were helping us out. Those conditions, even with the gusts and bumps were far easier than the sim.

You have to learn somewhere, and these unrealistic simulations are better than nothing. I think my employer's restriction on new cadets being restricted to 15kts x-wind is pretty good, but instead of an arbitrary 500hr rule to derestrict them, they should have to do the sim training module and then be checked in real x-winds to be allowed to operate to the aircraft limits. I also think the current wet and dry limits on the 73 are too restrictive (not so the contaminated limits, though), but that's another issue...
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Old 15th Jun 2014, 17:33
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I respectfully, partially, disagree - the simulators I have used vary so much in their manual flight characteristics that they are almost incomparable. I'm finding them harder to fly of late, though it could be any factor (or combination) of age, increase in experience of the real aircraft, poorer quality simulation (these are not the most expensive models available) or wear and tear on the sims themselves. I fly a fair bit manually, liking to practice raw IFR and plenty of visual approaches and circuits, so am not especially rusty at hand flying. But I am finding more and more that sims are ok at procedural training but hopeless for handling training.
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Old 15th Jun 2014, 21:47
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Originally Posted by mnttech
AirRabbit

Interesting posts. In your opinion, what has the effect on the US simulator standards been by the change from AC120-40C and FAR Part 60? What has the effect been on having most if not all of the inspectors based out of one city, instead of all over the country?
Hi mnttech
With respect to your first question (In your opinion, what has the effect on the US simulator standards been by the change from AC120-40C and FAR Part 60?) It was just about 18-20 months ago that I was involved in a seminar where the participants were from a substantial representation of airplane manufacturers, simulator manufacturers, airlines, pilot organizations, training organizations, and training providers, as well as regulatory authorities – and during one of the session breaks, the 15 or 20 delegates who gathered around the podium were discussing what they each believed was the most significant advancement in simulation in the past decade. The rather surprising majority agreed that it was likely the publication of the US FAA’s Part 60 regulation. Some cited the fact that the document represented a regulatory requirement but that it also was full of explanations and example references. Others who cited the explanatory nature of the document also described the fact that it covered simulators and training devices for both airplanes and for helicopters, at all the appropriate levels for each; and still others felt that the manner in which the document was developed – the wide ranging participation of all interested parties – made it the most significant advancement in the use of simulators. Additionally, you might be interested to know that, actually, the Advisory Circular 120-40C was never completed and published (although there were some authorizations granted, I understand, for a few organizations to use “Draft -40C” for some applications, as there appeared to be some significant commitment and funding that might have been otherwise lost – attesting to the agreeability of the FAA to recognize the “real world” rather than maintaining a “cold, disinterested look at individuals” … and, the part 60 document did, in fact, pick up on a lot of the major differences from AC 120-40B on which -40C was to be focused. I know that the FAA cited the motivation to provide as much of the references and standards that were regularly used and relied upon as references to be contained in a single document (the Pt 60 regulation) as was possible to prevent individuals from having to continually reference 5 or 6 other documents to find the answer to a single question or determine a single requirement. I suspicion that this was not completed to the extent that some had desired, but it did provide for a wider range of answers to questions that previously required researching multiple documents.

With respect to your second question (What has the effect been on having most if not all of the inspectors based out of one city, instead of all over the country?) … The FAA organization charged with the responsibility and the authority to conduct inspections and issue qualifications was originally composed of a small staff headquartered in Washington DC, was named the National Simulator Evaluation Team (NSET), and was moved to Atlanta. This was to mirror the agency’s goal of having each of the 9 regions in the US, i.e., New England, Eastern, Southern, Central, Southwestern, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountain, Western, and Nortwestern (later an Alaskan region was established as well) be the Region-of-Responsibility for one of the major FAA functions. The Southern Region, with headquarters in Atlanta, was designated as having the responsibility of Simulator Evaluation and Qualification. But, this “team” remained organized the same way – and each of the 9 regions designated one inspector, domiciled in that region, to be that region’s representative. This structure was maintained for the first 20 years or so of its operation. However, as anyone who deals with remotely cited operations would probably recognize, the level of standardization and the understanding of directives, orders, agreements, etc., can easily become potential focal points for misinterpretation and non-standard actions. Part of the justification was that there were insufficient funds to move each NSET member to Atlanta, and leaving those inspectors in their present location would allow the simulators in their location to be regularly evaluated without incurring travel costs. However, this presented two other issues: first, only one NSET member would likely evaluate those specific simulators; and second, with any specific entity as wholly dependent on technology as are simulators, having these entities critically examined by only one individual, this could easily result in perceived or actual compromises that would not be possible and not expected or suspicioned if every simulator was at least periodically inspected by other members of the NSET. Additionally, this regional assignment of NSET members required that twice a year all inspectors would travel to Atlanta for a week-long standardization meeting, and that meant that for at least twice a year for a 2-week period (allowing time for travel) no simulators, anywhere, would be evaluated – AND there was the expense of having to have such meetings. Starting in the 1990s, the NSET first changed its identity, preferring to be known as the NSP (changing the designation from an “evaluation team” to a more broadly functioning “program”). With this change there was also an examination of the level of standardization achieved with inspectors having to attend standardization meetings twice a year – essentially suspending evaluation schedules for 2 weeks at a time twice a year – with a potential of moving all inspectors into Atlanta, where formalized week-long standardization meetings could be replaced with regular conversations on a much more regular basis … even as often as every morning for those who were present for coffee conversations, or periodic water-cooler meetings throughout the day, and/or one-on-one meetings with whomever was in the offices at the time a question needed some field experience to answer competently, and do so more easily and more regularly, without interrupting evaluation travel requirements.

As I understand the NSP functioning, this arrangement has benefitted a majority of the simulator sponsors and most of the NSP staff. However, change is preeminently on the horizon, and the NSP is not insulated from change, I am sure. Also, I am aware of several NSP inspectors who needed to be in locations other than Atlanta for personal (family or medical) reasons and in some cases, these few individuals have been authorized to permanently move their home to other locations. I do not know the numbers nor do I know the corporate attitude with respect to these few examples. Perhaps there will be additional moves in the future – perhaps not. But I am of the opinion that the central mission of this organization has been and will likely continue to be devoted to the competent structure of simulation standards and the competent and effective evaluation of such devices on a basis that can result in the assurance that those devices remain in a condition to perform the functions for which each was designed, qualified, and approved. And, as an example of that has been the dedication of the NSP toward the development, incorporation, and functioning of a reasonable and efficient Quality Management System (QMS) located at each simulator sponsor’s location. I have been told that the reason for this is the fact that the numbers of US qualified and regularly evaluated simulation devices continues to grow … but the US government is reluctant to increase the size of the NSP staff. Knowing these obviously diametrical opposed circumstances, it is easy to understand why the NSP is seeking to develop and incorporate a professionally constructed and dependable QMS.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 07:47
  #72 (permalink)  
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they should have to do the sim training module and then be checked in real x-winds to be allowed to operate to the aircraft limits.
"Checked in real X-winds" Pity the unfortunate passengers and crew down the back if that happens. Passengers are entitled to have a safe no drama flight and not be an unwilling captive audience to some newbie in the RH seat trying his luck without interference from the captain, at 30 knots or more across the runway. If the sim fidelity is doubtful for crosswind landings at AFM limits then the regulator should demand first officer crosswind training be conducted in the real aircraft with no passengers or cabin crew aboard. Fat chance of that happening of course.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 07:54
  #73 (permalink)  
 
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I fly a fair bit manually, liking to practice raw IFR and plenty of visual approaches and circuits,
Ooh, wash your mouth out.. In many companies that would be a serious no-no and dead against SOP's. You are indeed fortunate not to be hauled in for tea and bikkies for daring to fly manually, especially raw data.

Last edited by A37575; 16th Jun 2014 at 08:33.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 17:39
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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AirRabbit:
Additionally, you might be interested to know that, actually, the Advisory Circular 120-40C was never completed and published (although there were some authorizations granted, I understand, for a few organizations to use “Draft -40C” for some applications…
Yes sir, several of the simulators I maintained had 120-40C draft as the approval basis on the FAA NSP approval line. As all of us aircraft maintenance types know, an AC is a means, but not the sole means.

Thanks for some of the history of the NSET/NSP. I was aware of some of it, but not all. The current personnel list shows about 6 inspectors outside of Atlanta, the rest of the team there.

Knowing these obviously diametrical opposed circumstances, it is easy to understand why the NSP is seeking to develop and incorporate a professionally constructed and dependable QMS.
You might want to re-think this one, I authored the 3rd approved SQMS, and I’m pretty sure I’m not necessary a professional writer…

In somewhat line with this thread, the NSP has issued a new Guidance bulletin on full stall training maneuvers, and I have heard that the next FSTD Directive might involve crosswind landing data.

For those outside of the US, it takes about 5 years to update any FAR. The idea around FSTD Directive(s) was to short cut that time span, making simulators more like the aircraft faster. To date, the NSP has only issued one FSTD, on visual models.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 20:57
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AirRabbit
Knowing these obviously diametrical opposed circumstances, it is easy to understand why the NSP is seeking to develop and incorporate a professionally constructed and dependable QMS.
You might want to re-think this one, I authored the 3rd approved SQMS, and I’m pretty sure I’m not necessary a professional writer…

In somewhat line with this thread, the NSP has issued a new Guidance bulletin on full stall training maneuvers, and I have heard that the next FSTD Directive might involve crosswind landing data.

For those outside of the US, it takes about 5 years to update any FAR. The idea around FSTD Directive(s) was to short cut that time span, making simulators more like the aircraft faster. To date, the NSP has only issued one FSTD, on visual models.
Hi mnttech

Well … I don’t think it’s necessary to rethink my statement … I know about the level of “professionalism” that had to go into the description and the discussions relative to the development of a satisfactory QMS program described by the NSP … and … if you got paid for your job functions, and part of your function was to actually describe how your company would develop, employ, and manage a company QMS program … I’d say that qualifies as a piece of professional work … and as long as you can continue to have a say in those areas, I wouldn’t hesitate to include that as part of your professional resume.

In addition to the guidance bulletin, I know that the NSP is currently working on a revision to Part 60 – and at least a portion of that revision I understand was intended to address several new aspects of airplane operation – among them are likely to be full stalls, gusting and crosswind conditions (for takeoff and landing), as well as bounced landing recoveries. These issues were relatively high on the NSP “things-to-do” list and had been discussed to one degree or another for some time, each time getting closer to finalization. And, judging from the bureaucratic preferences that inevitably creep into governmental functions and usually manage to “elbow” their way to the surface, the NSP getting this Part 60 revision completed might well have been delayed by that bureaucracy … the most notable delay very probably being what was originally the development of a complete overhaul of Part 121 training requirements that was just short of conclusion, when the outflow of publicity generated by the friends and family members of the Colgan crash victims very publically demonstrating and demanding things specifically of the US Congress and dominating the Washington, DC local news. As a result, I understand that the multi-year effort to reconstruct those training requirements, was essentially gutted and dramatically reduced in favor of dealing directly, and only, with the issues brought to the surface through the Colgan accident publicity. For whatever its worth, the NSP revisions, some aspects of which would be seen in revised regulatory requirements and authorizations, and others would be reflected in the form of an FSTD Directive (mostly due to the fact that a majority of these combined revisions touched either directly or indirectly on some of the issues that the Colgan publicity included) it is likely that the Part 60 rule update and the FSTD Directive will proceed, but it’s not likely that either will do so with much publicity or fanfare.

And, you are also correct that the concept of FSTD Directives was the specific process that both made sense and was capable of becoming effective in a far shorter time frame to address appropriate and necessary modifications, additions, or deletions of simulation standards or qualification requirements – all structured to take the best advantage of simulation advancements as quickly as possible when simulation operation is governed under a bureaucratic regulatory process.
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Old 16th Jun 2014, 23:41
  #76 (permalink)  
 
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After reading the post by OK465 (above) my mind immediately flashed back to my first airline employment where we all referred to the equipment we used as “the used airplane lot,” or other similar references, some not so suited for mixed audiences. All the airplanes were the same make, model, and series, but were acquired from a whole litany of differing sources. There may have been a couple of airframes that could be recognized as being somewhat similar in handling or operating characteristics to another airframe on the lot … but I wouldn’t bet anything of value that any more than a very few of the more experienced pilots would have been able to make such a comparison. OK465, sir, you hit the nail squarely on the head – and I’m actually somewhat embarrassed that I didn’t make exactly the same connection – particularly after being a part of the rather regular “hanger flying” sessions that many of my fellow aviators had at almost any gathering of any more than a couple of the line pilots. Different airframes had very distinct characteristics that were unlike any other airplane, in our fleet at least. Whether it was the necessity to sneak some speed brakes out for a couple of seconds after leveling off at say 3000 feet during descent approaching to land, so that one could get the speed down to extend the first increment of flaps … to the necessity of having to add power to keep the airspeed from plummeting too quickly after leveling off at 3000 to keep the airspeed from decreasing below the desired airspeed for the flap setting desired. Other times, there was a clear necessity to make an adjustment on short final (either from “high” to “on-slope” or from “low” to “on-slope”) that required dramatically different power and trim adjustments once the desired flight path was achieved. There was even an attempt by a small group of line pilots to categorize particular tail numbers to provide an individual memory jog for the new guys joining the group, ostensibly designed to “make their life easier.” That was stopped when one of the check airmen recognized a similar action from two of the relatively new FO’s he was paired with on one 3-day trip.

The point here is that often there are differing qualities of performance or handling characteristics that are quite obvious from airframe to airframe – and those differences are, or at least “can be,” every bit as “different,” and more so in some cases, as some of the “differences” between the simulator and the airplane. We used several different simulator sources for our training and checking – and the differences were clearly evident. Also, those differences were the topic of a lot of discussion when notifications of individual recurrent training or checks were noted when schedules were published. The ONLY similarity that absolutely must exist is the knowledge of what to do and how to do it, and then use the skill-set developed to see to it that the airplane performed the way it had to perform to get through the task at hand. The same thing holds true for operating a simulator that has shown some signs of not handling or performing the way the airplane performs or handles – and that is the same application of what to do and how to do it … the knowledge acquired and the knowledge of how to manipulate the controls available to get through the task at hand. It may sound trite – but it’s absolutely true. And it is at this point where the competence of the simulator instructor simply has to take up any slack … and with my experience with all kinds of airplanes and all kinds of simulators representing each airplane type … it is the knowledge, the competence, and the ability of the instructor in a simulator to be sure that the right “knowledge” is recognized and the “correct” manipulation of the controls of the airplane (as simulated) are exhibited and then ensures that there are no questions and no misunderstandings. I am fearful that far too many instructors leave the “instructing” to the simulator itself - and yes, I am fully aware of what that means. This kind of error is probably the most egregious error that can be made in the operation of a flight simulator. Typically, when flight training is conducted in an airplane, the instructor must stay “on top” of what circumstances exist and are or may be developing, and cannot afford to let a student get the airplane into a set of circumstances from which that instructor cannot recover. One of the oft-heard comments from the students I had was voiced almost immediately after I took control of the airplane away from that student. Their comment was “…I was just going to …” and then they would finish with what they either knew or what they saw that I had done with the airplane. Well, maybe I should have let them go just another second or two or three. To see if they really ‘would have’ done what I did. In the simulator there is no such requirement. In the simulator, an instructor can allow the student to actually DO what they intend to do – or NOT do what they should have done. There is no “…I was just going to…” However, and more often than one might realize, the intervention of the instructor may be quite a bit more subtle than physically taking control. And that comes from a failure to recognize difficulties or hesitancies with respect to the either the control application or control application sequence they observe, or fail to recognize, or fail to correct, in response to an existing or developing set of handling or performance parameters. Allowing a student to do what they think is correct, and then do it over and over and over … that student almost has the right to understand that what he/she has done was the correct and proper response. Instructors need to be aware of what that student is doing and what that student is thinking. It is true at least some of the time is that what the student has done was not necessarily based on what he/she was thinking – but very well may have been based on what that student was looking at when he/she actually did something. The more the instructor “allows” the student to do something, anything, over and over, without correction or comment, the more that student is going to believe that the action taken is what the instructor wanted to see – when the truth may be entirely different. Instructing should be a very integral and very involved process – otherwise instructing wouldn’t be as important as it is. This is why I keep harping on the fact that instructors must be trained completely and competently on each and every simulator they are going to use to teach pilots what they need to know, what they need to do, and how they are expected to put those two aspects together. Anything less will result in less – and I don’t believe we can accept less ... in fact, we should be expecting more. I've also advocated an effort to revisit instructor training - both in the larger scope of things - and in the minute, nitty gritty kinds of things that if overlooked could lead to an improper learning or reinforcement of something not intended and not wanted. I would prefer this to be international in scope and attended by both instructors (and potential instructors) and those persons to whom the instructors are to report. If its correct, there is no such thing as "too much" instruction.
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Old 18th Jun 2014, 09:30
  #77 (permalink)  
ZFT
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AirRabbit,

Some very interesting and constructive comments and varying points of view are being raised. I think there are 3 issues that maybe need to be debated independently because maybe one size doesn’t fit all. These are the fidelity of FSTDs, their use and who uses/operates them.

The user/operator is very pertinent because whilst I totally concur with your view on the importance of “the instructor’s talent, ability, and his/her knowledge of the simulation used” the last element of this i.e. the knowledge of the simulation used can generally be available only to those operations that utilise their own dedicated FSTD trainers, typically training their own trainees on their own FSTDs and probably small fleet operators only requiring minimal FSTDs to support their training needs. With large fleets (requiring multiple FSTDs) or 3rd party training or with training organisations that have a high level of dry lease of their FSTDs, the ability to gather the knowledge of the simulation used is reduced significantly, sometimes down to zero with a TRI/SFI from a new or infrequent user possibly having no experience of a specific FSTD. Therefore the ability to brief trainees on the nuances of an FSTD is just not there. (Again I wonder whether differing regulatory cultures have a bearing as whilst under your regulations trainers and testers are appointed by their respective organisations, under EASA SFI/TRI are licenced and can train and test anywhere on any EASA approved FSTD of the type they are licenced on).

As a result, the only (realistic) mechanism of briefing non company instructional staff on the FSTD is via a deferred defects procedure at the briefing stage to allow them to ‘work around’ an issue or decline the FSTD as they wish.

The use of higher level FSTDs may be, I would suggest somewhat different across the regulatory/cultural divide, possibly more so now since the 1500 hrs requirement? Regulations already seem to accept that lower fidelity is acceptable for higher (on type) experience as a Level B FFS is perfectly fine for recurrency training and checking (Mechtronix even successfully persuaded some regulatory authorities to approve their FFT product without a motion system for recurrency credits I believe), whereas a Level C/D is required for a Type Rating.

An experienced (on type) trainee might/will recognise and accept FSTD fidelity issues, the less experienced may not and as some posters have indicated, this does cause them concerns. I would suggest that if it is possible to remove these fidelity issues as opposed to briefing the trainees on them, this is a far preferable solution. Certainly within the area we operate, (too) many of the trainees are lacking in the experience to differentiate and whilst there is no substitute for experience, quality training can at least offset this to a degree.

This lead us back into the fidelity issue. As much as you advocate expecting more from the instuctors, I advocate expecting more from his training tools too. Better and more intuitive IOS stations to allow him/her to concentrate on training, not operating. More desire from the airframe and FSTD OEMs to actually replicate the aircraft (where possible and within the obvious limitations, lack of sustained G etc) and a greater desire by the operators to correct (not adjust!) obvious deficiencies within existing data and not just to accept it as “meets approved data”.

There is a requirement on an initial EASA evaluation for the operator’s evaluation team to sign and submit an attestation to EASA that confirms that, amongst other items the FFS flying qualities represents the aeroplane being simulated (GM1 ORA.FSTD.115 Part C). Admittedly ‘represents’ is a broad term but our evaluation pilots will not sign their names to a devise that has obvious fidelity issues within the normal envelope that just shouldn’t exist and some of the items I cited before, namely sound and vibs are in our opinion, too basic to be briefed away when with effort they can be corrected.

You state there is no such thing as "too much" instruction. I understand your view and I would also state that you cannot have "too much" fidelity supporting those well trained instructors. Simulation has come a long way since the very first Zero Flight Time (ZFT) training success when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed at Tranquility Base, a procedure they had repeatedly performed on a simulator at NASA but their success was based upon the same requirements as today - quality trainees, quality trainers, quality training programs and quality training tools.
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Old 18th Jun 2014, 20:01
  #78 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Hi ZFT

First, let me say that there is nothing you’ve said in your post (above) that I would disagree with – in fact there are some things you said with which I would agree, and others with which I would stand-up, IN the chair, punching the air, in agreement.

Of course you are correct with respect to a contracting user of a simulator belonging to someone else – and having that contracting user be able to find out ALL of the “nitty gritty” nastiness that may be found in the bowels of a particular simulator … very likely to NOT happen.

Please understand, I would advocate the very best of fidelity and the most accurate replication of the airplane in any simulator. And after the US regulations were initially written and there was a concerted effort to prescribe a more detailed and accurate replication of a simulated airplane there was the elephant in the room. That elephant was the already qualified, approved, and long-used simulators that wouldn’t have a prayer of meeting the newly developed requirements, without substantial expenditure of additional funds. It seemed illogical to conclude that simply because a device was more than a few years old, it no longer would be accepted the way it had been accepted. However, I think it is necessary to understand that the logic was not so much addressing those older devices as it was the precedence that would likely be set with such a determination. If the older simulators were to be relegated to some lesser capability (say, something like a “procedure trainer”) who would be able to say that the newly modern simulators bursting onto the scene with the newly developed 6-axis motion systems, stereophonic surround-sound, computer generated visuals with back-projected, front reflective view through (now) up to well over 180 degrees of uninterrupted view, might someday, be relegated to the same “procedure trainer” future when the next advancement in simulation becomes apparent? That was the potential facing the older 3-axis motion, CRT visual, and (well, mediocre) sound systems equipped simulators that were “new” a couple of years, perhaps a decade, earlier. So, the problem that had to be faced was how a regulatory requirement could be used to govern simulation standards and be found to be worthless at some unnamed time in the future … and perhaps a not-distant future. Who would want to invest – particularly invest the cost of one of these new devices – when there was even a possibility that in the some-time future, it might become essentially worthless? How does an industry encourage the expenditure of significant amounts of money when there is no guarantee that those funds will soon be seen to have been essentially lost? The solution – perhaps not the best solution – but the only solution deemed capable of making sense – was to “grandfather” existing simulators – allowing those devices to continue to meet the existing standards and continue to enjoy their currently authorized use. The fact that these now older simulators were not “zero flight time” simulators made this not only a logical premise, but one that would not compromise the expanded capabilities that these newly described simulators were capable of meeting. The historically “modern” simulators, originally known as “visual simulators” became what is now known as Level A or Level B. But it should be noted that to be designated a Level B simulator, that simulator had to be modified with additional landing data, gathered from airplane flight testing conducted well within ground effect and use modified computer programming for that new data. The Level A would be allowed to satisfy recurrent proficiency checks, as long as a check airman was to observe a landing on the line within an established time frame of the simulator check. The Level B, with the addition of the landing data, could be used to satisfy the recurrent proficiency check, including the landings required. The other two levels of simulator, Level C and Level D, each had requirements that included the advanced 6-axis motion systems, visual systems with wider fields-of-view, and additional sound requirements. The requirements for the Level C were not as specific nor quite as advanced as the Level D simulator, but Level C was authorized for “zero flight time training” only for those individuals who had rather extensive experience – and that experience was specifically outlined in the newly published regulations.

So … the concerns that you described are quite real – but it was at least attempted to be addressed in what requirements had to be met for each of the newly described 4 levels of full flight simulator. Of course, there remains a lot of issues that we all would like to see have a method of addressing. Not the least of which are individual issues with some (really any) individual simulator. Any user not employed by the owner/operator of the simulator may not be made knowledgeable of the specific short-comings of any particular device. The only way I know to deal with those kinds of problems is to have the instructor using that simulator be as knowledgeable about the simulator as is allowed by the owner/operator AND to be sure that the instructor has substantial experience in the airplane (being represented by the simulator) so that if the simulator demonstrates an anomaly not present in the airplane, the instructor will be knowledgeable as to the following: 1) whether or not that anomaly should be written up in the simulator log – and whether or not that log entry should include information about the known airplane response; and 2) whether or not it would be necessary or appropriate to point out that anomaly to the student being trained, and if it were appropriate, to know how to describe both that simulator anomaly and the correct airplane response, leading to instruction as to how the student would be expected to address that airplane response.

I think that regulatory authorities have a responsibility to ensure that the parameters of simulator operation are appropriate and fairly applied. But by the same measure, those authorities should not necessarily see a requirement to “move the goal” simply because technology improves. There is nothing wrong with expanding the technical capabilities of existing simulators, and most regulatory authorities do have methodologies in place to ensure the competence of pilots licensed by that authority, and when or if it becomes appropriate those authorities should use the existing process to alter the training requirements for pilots to ensure their individual competence … and if that means adjusting simulator qualification criteria, at least that process would ensure fair and equitable requirements are levied on both the pilots and the training mechanisms used to meet those requirements.
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Old 19th Jun 2014, 04:09
  #79 (permalink)  
ZFT
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AirRabbit,

I have no issues with Grandfather Rights. The pragmatic approach taken globally by the regulatory authorities was the correct decision for the reasons you state and the qualification certificate clearly indicates this status to the user. Likewise I would never underrate the importance of the person occupying the middle seat both for training and feedback.

I will disagree with you somewhat about “moving the goal”. I believe that the regulatory authorities do have the responsibility to do just that to ensure the FSTDs being designed today do take advantage of the latest technologies and take into account the current training needs. Sensible and realistic implementation times should alleviate any pain and already qualified devices should either be exempt or given very realistic timeframes to comply.

This chances of this ever happening are of course quite remote so the onus is back on to the operator to drive the FSTD manufacturers by means of tech spec requirements etc to keep moving forward.

Interestingly CASA (Singapore) unilaterally moved their regulatory goal posts and the industry was somewhat caught out initially.

OK465

EASA too no longer require glareshield ambient lighting for any FSTD qualified under CS-FSTD(A).

(A little bit of history, they came about because of a certain FAA inspector by the name of Sam Van Dyke and the original requirement for a certain level of reflected light from a face).
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Old 19th Jun 2014, 05:57
  #80 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Originally Posted by ZFT
I will disagree with you somewhat about “moving the goal”. I believe that the regulatory authorities do have the responsibility to do just that to ensure the FSTDs being designed today do take advantage of the latest technologies and take into account the current training needs. Sensible and realistic implementation times should alleviate any pain and already qualified devices should either be exempt or given very realistic timeframes to comply.
Once again, I agree with your statements – and to clarify, I do not believe that taking advantage of newer and better technology is necessarily moving the goal.

My statement had to do with establishing criteria after having discussed it thoroughly and after it becomes a part of a particular simulator saying that because newer or better technology has become available, the regulatory authority will no longer accept that now “older” technology to do what it was designed to do – and does. To make it a requirement to acquire and use the new technology, I believe it would have to provide significantly better understanding, significantly better, hands-on training, or both, to require that technology be incorporated. It’s been my experience that when newer technology makes headway into simulation, it allows new tasks, tasks that up to then could not be accomplished, or accomplished only to allow an entry into an accomplishment checklist, to now be adequately addressed. That’s not moving the goal.

For example, we’ve been discussing the current development process of software that can better use existing or yet to be gathered flight test data that is supposed to more realistically be able to represent a flight simulator in the post-aerodynamic-stall portion of flight (…presuming, of course, one would or could consider post-stall to still be flying …) In this particular example of technology providing something that had not been available previously, it’s not something to make what we already do quite well, just a slight bit better … what this appears to be providing is to allow a whole new adventure into actually taking a flight simulator into and past the aerodynamic stall – and have the simulated airplane realistically perform and handle just as the airplane would under similar circumstances.

With the number of “upset/stall” or “inattention-induced stall” scenarios apparently being seen to have caused some very serious compromises to safety – and doing so on an increasing level – and, now, with this newly developed capability, if we can effectively train pilots to be better able to determine the insidious nature of stall onsets in some cases, and how to take the proper action to prevent that circumstance from developing into a stall … or if the flight crew were to surprisingly find themselves in a nose high, buffeting descent, they will be able to recognize what is happening and know what to do in order to correctly recover the airplane to normal flight … would, certainly in my opinion, and I would think in the opinions of many other aviation professionals, be worth changing the existing requirements to ensure these serious compromises to safety can be adequately addressed – and hopefully permanently eliminated.

Again, in my not-so-humble-opinion, that’s not moving the goal … that would be finally establishing a goal that now can be met in an environment that is safe and almost without any significant degree of danger. In this particular case, a rule change – requiring each pilot to be trained on the recognition of and recovery from both approaches to stall and fully developed stalls would likely not find any significant objection and would provide a level of safety that the previous requirements were thought to have provided … but did not.

Originally Posted by ZFT
A little bit of history, they came about because of a certain FAA inspector by the name of Sam Van Dyke and the original requirement for a certain level of reflected light from a face.
I cannot let an old friend’s name go by without acknowledging it … I knew Sam quite well and still think of him regularly … in fact, his wife, Thelma, and I continue to exchange Christmas cards each and every year. Thanks for noting him. And for those of you who did not have the good fortune to know Sam … the light reflected from a person’s face was an issue that long dogged the development and incorporation of daylight visual scenes and the resulting amount of light that fills the airplane cockpit during the daylight hours – as it was difficult to achieve that amount of light in the darkened environment of a simulator cockpit.

You see, Sam’s skin color was black ... and the reflected light from Sam’s face was often the subject of this somewhat controversial "discussion" - as it was always good for a "reflective review" of the requirements (pun intended). However, the thing that was, without a doubt, THE most telling color of Sam’s personality was that he had a heart of pure, very shiny, GOLD!

Last edited by AirRabbit; 20th Jun 2014 at 20:47. Reason: readability -- suggested by Judd ... see below
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