Reminder! Tony LeVier Flight Test Safety Award - Nominations Due 29 March

 

The Flight Test Safety Committee is soliciting nominations for the Tony LeVier Flight Test Safety Award. 

Criteria and nomination information can be found HERE. 

The deadline to submit a nomination is 29 March 2019.

There I Was - Flight Test Safety Fact 19-03

In what we can only describe as "serendipity", Flight Test Safety Committee chairman Tom Huff ran into Col Doug "Beaker" Wickert at a safety workshop in California, hosted by Northrop Grumman Corporation.  That meeting set off a series of conversations and emails that led to this month's column from Beaker himself. 

There's an analogy in there about random collisions...about how the collision of atoms can create an enormous amount of energy.  I won't belabor the point, but conversations and differing opinions and dialogue are exactly the outcomes that we intend to create by these short newsletters.  One editorial reviewer said, "Now I want to find out more about STPA."  That's exactly the kind of response for which I had hoped.

There are others letters coming in, and we will print them as soon as we can.  This month features the memories of a pilot who watched the accidental first flight of the YF-16 as the Supervisor of Flying (SOF).  He shares a story from an earlier time, when airplanes had variable sweep wings, and helmets had variable sweep visors.

Finally, you can find out about the FTSW dinner keynote speaker--register now and get the chance to hear a legend.

Sincerely,

Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

For convenience and security, you can download this edition of the newsletter here.

Flight Test Safety Database Update

Flight Test Safety Database Update:   The database has been essentially offline to everyone but myself as NASA has been fixing some cybersecurity shortfalls.  Initial remedies fell short and a date of availability has been eluding myself and the responsible managers at NASA.  If you need to search from the database,  I am willing to perform that for you.  Just email me with the specified parameters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please share this info with your coworkers.  We apologize for the extended downtime and will attempt to inform registered users and members of the test community as we approach website reinstatement.

Accidental First Flights Make Headlines - Flight Test Safety Fact 19-02

January 20th was the 45th anniversary of the accidental first flight of the YF-16.  This phenomenon is not new, but it seems like "some of us" have not learned our lesson yet, with accidental first flights recurring in the closing months of 2018.  Read more in this month's edition of the Flight Test Safety Fact, and then if you know either pilot, send them a copy of this newsletter as we continue to try to *reach everyone.*

This edition also documents more innovations and experiments in flight test safety with a report on STPA--if you don't know what this acronym means, you'll have to read "It Didn't Work", the second feature column in this month's edition. 

Finally, we share some of the great feedback we received from the first edition and the questions they raised.  Please continue to send feedback, suggestions, and requests for future newsletter topics to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

For added convenience and security, you can download the newsletter pdf here.

Tony LeVier Flight Test Safety Award - Nominations Due 29 March

 

The Flight Test Safety Committee is soliciting nominations for the Tony LeVier Flight Test Safety Award. 

Criteria and nomination information can be found HERE. 

The deadline to submit a nomination is 29 March 2019.

New Guidance Document Added Under the Recommended Practices Tab

Fellow flight test professionals, on behalf of your Flight Test Safety Committee (FTSC), I wanted to direct your attention to a new guidance document added to the FTSC web site under the Recommended Practices tab (http://flighttestsafety.org/recommended-practices).

This guidance document details recommended practices related to the use of recorders during flight test and was prompted by a NTSB Recommendation following the fatal Bell 525 flight test mishap of July 2016. This guidance accommodates the spectrum of flight test operations and the advantages of recorders to enhance flight test safety and execution (underpinned as a test data capture requirement, not just accident/incident causation tools).  The FTSC highly encourages the adoption of the recommended practices within test organization and/or program SOPs and policies.  We welcome any feedback on this guidance at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In your service,

Tom Huff
Chairman
Flight Test Safety Committee

Flight Test Safety Database - Unavailable for Updates

I wish to thank you all for your support of the Flight Test Safety Database.  The database website will be unavailable after Friday, 25 May 2018 until further notice for some needed updates.  I will still have access to the database and if you have a data need please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and I will try to satisfy your need. SETP or SFTE staff will notify you when the database is available.  I apologize for this interruption in service and greatly appreciate your patience in this matter.

Respectfully, 

Bart Henwood
FTSD Manager

New Flight Test Safety Committee Chairman Announced

At the conclusion of the Flight Test Safety Workshop in May, Mr. Jerry Whites announced that after five years of service, he would be stepping down as Committee Chairman. Whites will remain on the Committee and has "passed the stick" onto Mr. Tom Huff.

FTSC Jerry Tom 2017

(L-R) Jerry Whites and New FTSC Chairman Tom Huff

Checklists to Enhance Safety Article

Please click here to read an article by our recent 2017 Flight Test Safety Workshop Tutorial presenters, William Higgins and Daniel Boorman.

Or you may download the full detailed article here.

 

High Altitude Testing

Many, if not most, FAA Part 25 (Transport) aircraft want to get certified for high altitude airport operations. These operations put challenges on the aircraft in various ways that need to be tested and certified. This includes mainly pressurization systems and engine operations (starting and thermal issues). The FAA allows for 3000’ extrapolation of flight test data. The highest commercial airport is approximately 14,500’ so testing is desired at 11,500 or above. A commonly used major airport test location is at La Paz, Bolivia (13,325’). Testing at high altitudes presents some unique safety issues, mainly physiological, that I will discuss below.

FTSC's response to NTSB's report

In 2012 the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published its final report on the Gulfstream G-650 accident.   The Flight Test Safety Committee (FTSC) was requested to respond to the NTSB’s recommendations from that report.  Here is the response from the FTSC.