Flight Simulation Training Devices
Responding to questions from AeroSafety World during editorial research and to the article “Brave New World” ( ASW, 7–8/16, p. 29) about flight simulation training devices, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sent the following statement.
After years of research and collaboration with aviation industry experts, the FAA published these new rules and guidance. The FAA is further emphasizing the expectations of the regulations through the training of inspectors and working directly with stakeholders as they develop their programs. Implementation will be progressive from now until 2019, as the FAA has begun to evaluate simulators and training programs put forth by early adopters. FAA guidance in the form of Advisory Circular (AC) 120-109A [“Stall Prevention and Recovery Training”] and AC 120-111 [“Upset Prevention and Recovery Training”] describe in detail the requirements that are set forth in the FAA regulations and the expectations for delivery of stall and upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT). The regulations for 2019 require that instructors must be satisfactorily trained to teach UPRT, and FAA guidance is explicit on what must be covered in that training.
Adoption of International Civil Aviation Organization [ICAO] Doc 9625 [Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulation Training Devices, Edition 3 and Edition 4] should not be used as an indicator of implementation of UPRT, as its focus is simulator evaluation standards, not training standards. The FAA is pleased to see so many U.S. airlines that are both developing their training programs and updating their full flight simulators before they are required to do so. That is the best indicator. Before the required 2019 start of UPRT in the United States, the FAA has witnessed wholesale changes in stall prevention training, which is important, as stall is the No. 1 cause of loss of control fatalities.
Those changes include better prevention strategies, recoveries from stall warnings at cruise altitudes, and the new focus on reducing the angle-of-attack to recover from a stall warning. Many U.S. airlines also perform upset recovery training now from non-stalled conditions and are paying closer attention to the challenges of delivering that training. These are a couple of key examples of how the training is changing. The FAA will begin measuring mastery of the issues involved in loss of control when the required training begins in 2019. As far as concern about sufficient qualified UPRT instructors, the FAA will remain vigilant, but it is encouraged by the steps being taken by many of the operators now to train their trainers.
The draft ICATEE Research and Technology Report [by the International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes] served as a useful foundation for the development of FAA rules and guidance. This draft was approved by the Royal Aeronautical Society for publication in 2014. Then, on reflection, it was decided that it would be best to take advantage of what was learned with respect to UPRT in the creation of both Edition 4 of ICAO Doc 9625 and [U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations] Part 60 [Flight Simulation Training Device Qualification Standards for Extended Envelope and Adverse Weather Event Training Tasks]. Legally, it was not possible to do that until the March 2016 publication of Part 60. Now it is possible to make those refinements to the ICATEE document for consistency prior to its publication.
As research is ongoing on airplane state awareness and related technological advances, it is too early to tell what value the results may have. The FAA is hopeful that the results can tangibly reduce the loss of control accident rate even further beyond the full stall and upset training it is requiring in 2019.
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration