Flight Test Safety Fact 20-03

Have you subscribed to the Flight Test Safety Podcast? You can find instructions inside this month's newsletter.  We'd like your feedback on the podcast as well as suggestions for future episodes.

Also this month, Ben Luther and Jeff Canclini share a conversation they've been having, back and forth, for almost a full year about complexity and chaos, risk and flight test safety.  The authors introduce another paper about these topics you should read: The author, Bob Barham, allowed us to share that paper with you, and you can find it as an attachment inside this month's newsletter, as pictured here.

Finally, remember that there's less than a month until nominations for the Levier Award are due, and you can find out how to inside this issue.

Please share this with someone who may not receive it, and send any feedback to us. (Don't confuse those two.)

Sincerely,

Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

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

Flight Test Safety Committee Podcast Channel - Third Episode Out!

 

New Episode!

Flight Test Safety Fact highlights, upcoming event reminders and an interview with the President and CEO of the National Safety Council Lorraine Martin (Full Bio) for the monthly Specialty topic.

Learn more about the National Safety Council:  http://www.nsc.org

Click the links below to listen to the Third Episode of the Flight Test Safety Channel!

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Flight Test Safety Fact 20-02

Have you submitted your presentation proposal for the Flight Test Safety Workshop? The deadline is closer than you think--you can read the call for papers inside this edition of the Flight Test Safety Fact.  You will also find details about the workshop in the Chairman's column, and the Committee requests your nominations for the Tony LeVier Flight Test Safety Award.

Flight Test Safety Committee Board member John Hed writes this month's feature column, and in a separate piece, he also explains how to join the FTSC LinkedIn group. 

I'd also like to welcome members of the AIAA Flight Test Committee--many of whom have just been added to our email distribution.  Thanks Starr Ginn for making that happen!

Many people are writing, giving feedback, and submitting articles. Thank you, and keep them coming.  I hope to see you in Niceville on the 21st for the combined AIAA/SFTE/SETP Southeast Symposium

Sincerely,
Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

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

Flight Test Safety Committee Podcast Channel - Second Episode Out!

The Flight Test Safety Committee has begun producing a monthly podcast to share valuable, relevant, and helpful information across our audience of SETP, SFTE and AIAA members and anyone who is interested in safety. Each podcasts will contain information from the latest issue of our digital publication, the Flight Test Safety Fact, and include a special topic of the month. These Specialty topics will include presentations from recent Symposia, interviews, panel discussions and much more.

Click the links below to listen to the Second Episode of the Flight Test Safety Channel!

Listen on iTunes

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Listen on Spotify

Listen on Podbean

Flight Test Safety Fact 20-01

Welcome back! The new year brings a new format and a new podcast, both of which you can see inside this issue.

Turning the page on the calendar gives us another important opportunity: the chance to reflect.  Stop and think about how long you've been in this profession.  Then think about the new test pilots, FTEs, and project managers that are entering the profession with bright eyes and lots of energy.  When you see them, congratulate them.  Think about your first day on the job. 

This profession is a journey with lots of starts and stops, with many stages.  Take a minute to read the reflections herein and think about how to apply them in your life, whether you are welcoming someone new to the team or you are new to team. 

Sincerely,
Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

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

The Flight Test Safety Committee has a Podcast Channel Now!

 

The Flight Test Safety Committee has begun producing a monthly podcast to share valuable, relevant, and helpful information across our audience of SETP, SFTE and AIAA members and anyone who is interested in safety. Each podcasts will contain information from the latest issue of our digital publication the Flight Test Safety Fact and include a special topic of the month. These Specialty topics will include presentations from recent Symposia, interviews, panel discussions and much more. Click the links below to listen and follow our channel!

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Podbean

Listen on Spotify

 Listen on Google Play Music

Flight Test Safety Fact 19-12

 

Did you know that there are almost 200 people in our Societies that do not have email?! (At least we know they did not provide their email address to their Society.) I found that out while counting how many "new" people have received this newsletter over the past year.  In this issue we report to you on the progress towards our goal, as the end of 2019 looms large and the new year approaches.  

In 2020, we will, almost certainly, hear more news about self-driving cars and urban air mobility (UAM) together with the autonomous air taxis needed to make UAM a reality.  This issue introduces the topic of Artificial Intelligence and Flight Test by sharing presentations from those flight test professionals who work with it and sharing news that gets beyond marketing hype and includes technical details.  At least one of these presentations will truly surprise you.

Self-driving cars also made safety headlines, and Chairman Tom Huff addresses this topic head on. He also applies the lessons learned to the safety culture in our organizations.

Finally, we share a great safety resource from SFTE that will help you as you continue to cultivate your safety culture.

As we head to next year, I'd like to hear from you on any and every one of the topic above.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your articles and technical papers, your suggestions, and your Reach Everyone reports.

 

Sincerely,

Mark Jones Jr.
Editor, Flight Test Safety Fact

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

Flight Test Safety Fact 19-11

It’s been over a month since SETP’s Annual Symposium, so I’ve had time to dig through the program, papers, and slides.  Unfortunately, the news cycle doesn’t stop, so I’ve split my time between corresponding with those who presented at and attended the symposium and watching the headlines.  You will find samples from both of these domains in this month’s newsletter.  

The Chairman introduces the Joint Authorities Technical Review (JATR) and encourages you to read it, but he also applies some of its findings to our field, raising some poignant questions.  Additionally, you’ll read the observations from one of our newsletter’s past subjects; he attended the Symposium for the first time. The last section is a paper presented at the Symposium, but before I introduce it, let me explain why I selected it. 

While reading some research about crew resource management, I came across this finding:
“No differences were found between the severity of the errors made by effective and ineffective crews; rather, it was the ability of the effective crews to communicate that kept their errors from snowballing into undesirable outcomes” [1].
This finding is simply astounding.

Our words have the power of life and death.  I think you have heard me say that before, but the topic of communication will continue to appear in these pages often.  That’s on purpose. In this newsletter, we’ve published a paper that not only addresses an important technical test but also illuminates the communication challenges encountered by the test team.  Communication is hard, and getting it right is worth the effort. That’s why you will find Roger Hehr’s paper included in this newsletter. An excerpt is reprinted herein, and the entire paper is *attached* inside the newsletter together with the Chairman’s Annual Flight Test Safety Committee report.  You can find both of these by selecting the paper-clip icon inside your pdf reader.

As a reminder, a future issue of the FTSF will address the topic of AI, so send your questions, suggestions, links and papers about the topic to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to the Chairman.

Sincerely,
Mark Jones Jr.

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

Reference:
1. J. Bryan Sexton and Robert L. Helmreich, “Analyzing Cockpit Communication: The Links Between Language, Performance, Error, and Workload.”

Flight Test Safety Database Update

The Flight Test Safety Database is once again available to everyone (registered and non-registered users alike) at http://ftsdb.grc.nasa.gov/. If you have any difficulties with any database function do not hesitate to send Bart Henwood an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at (661) 276-5746.

Please pass this info on to your colleagues and friends within the flight test community. In the months to come the database will be relocating to a different server and may have a new URL. Bart Henwood will send emails indicating any changes before that transition occurs and the Flight Test Safety Committee will provide updates here on the homepage.

Thank you all for your patience and support for the Flight Test Safety Database.

Flight Test Safety Fact 19-10

Thirty years ago, my high school still offered a typing class.  At the time, I convinced the principal of my small school to let me drop the class and add an elective math class.  His great concern was that I learn how to type.  I told him that I would install a "typing tutor" application on my computer with its 386 processor.  The software was "smart" enough to know what letters I could type and provide me additional exercises for those I had not mastered.  I mention this anecdote because it marked a transition in the way people learned knowledge and acquired skills.

As flight test professionals, we are at a similar crossroad.  Our ability to teach and train flight test and its related safety and risk management disciplines must adapt to the time we have available and accommodate the technology.  In 1989, software did not include machine learning or artificial intelligence--this is a topic I hope to address in the December issue, so if you would like to contribute, please contact the Flight Test Safety Committee, the Chairman, or the Editor, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

This month, however, we present a broad survey of the ways that flight test education and training are changing, spreading, and ultimately adapting.  The articles herein are a snapshot of where we are today. They complement past issues that presented a more in depth look at specific innovations.  Ultimately, I hope they will inform the reader of the possibilities and inspire us to take advantage of the potential that lies before us.

Sincerely,
Mark Jones Jr.

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

 

Flight Test Safety Fact 19-09

In 1999, Greg Lewis presented a paper to the Flight Test Society of Australia, "Flight Test Safety in Civil Certification," in which he describes unique risks and incidents that occurred during civil certification flight test with government test pilots.  One of the interesting facts in the paper is the first known reference (I think)--in a technical paper--to the FAA's Order 4040.26.  For some of us, it seems like the order always existed, but this paper reminds us that FAA's test safety guidance is relatively young, at least in its current form.  The other thing the paper describes is several flight test aircraft incidents.  The ability to recall incidents like this is important for flight test professionals, because it informs our intuition about the likelihood of the hazards we are assessing. It gives us data by which to assess the confidence of our probability estimates.  Or does it?

That is the question addressed herein -- how confident are we? 

The question may cause some to sweat, bringing memories of Comprehensive Oral exams at TPS or flashback of basic stats class from college, but the heuristics proposed herein should reduce the anxiety of the reader.  These rules will enable us, as a flight test community, to communicate about uncertainty even as we face more it in the years to come.

One last thing about Greg's paper: it's an excellent resource, and the FTSA recently generously shared it with members of our community. So get your hands on a copy and thank your colleagues down under

Finally, please continue to share this newsletter.  Let us know when you do, because we want to Reach Everyone (117%).  Send questions and comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or any FTSC member.

Sincerely,
Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

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

Flight Test Safety Fact 19-07

It has been almost two months since the Flight Test Safety Workshop, and you can now find video presentations from the workshop posted on the website: http://www.flighttestsafety.org/2019-charleston-sc.  As you may recall, the Workshop provided our community with a chance to discuss "Data to Assure Success."  As I began to watch the videos, I encountered an amusing interchange:

Person A: "Your slide said SMS requires no oversight..."

You could almost hear the confusion in his voice.

Person B: "Excuse me...my apologies. I speak Australian. What I meant was when you skip a step, you say it must have been an oversight, and we don't want any oversights.  With SMS, because we use methodical procedures, we won't overlook specific things."

As we can see, miscommunication happens even in the most mundane settings.  When we begin to discuss complexity and uncertainty, the risk of miscommunication increases.

To address this challenge, we reach back into the archive to revisit an old idea that we can apply to new problems.  The story contained herein illustrates a scenario where traditional statistical methods failed, and it lays the foundation for a future, more in-depth, discussion on "communicating uncertainty in flight test," an attempt to define heuristics for our community, to discuss both uncertainty and complexity in the days and years ahead.

Sincerely,
Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

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

Flight Test Safety Fact 19-06

 

In just a few short weeks the videos from the Flight Test Safety Workshop will be posted on the website.  Until that time you can read a message from the Chairman about the Workshop, give feedback, or find out who won the best paper.

You can also find some thoughtful analysis on our use of the 2D Risk Matrix in this month's edition of the Flight Test Safety Fact.

As always, please share it with others as we attempt to Reach Everyone, and send questions or feedback to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sincerely,
Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

For your convenience, you can download the newsletter here.

 

Flight Test Safety Fact 19-05: Almost Time For The Annual Flight Test Safety Workshop

It's almost time for the annual Flight Test Safety Workshop, and this issue highlights what's in store. It also includes suggestions for making the most of your visit in Charleston with specific dining recommendations.  

If you are receiving this email, you have a great opportunity to meet people who are not SETP or SFTE members at the workshop and share this resource with them.  This edition also highlights many of the features of the FTSC website and how they complement the Workshop. Additionally, it includes a request from me, your editor, for feedback on the Workshop.

The final column solicits input for a future newsletter topic.  As this newsletter was going to print, I received a note from an editorial reviewer. His comment corrects a statement I made herein, but it also highlights the necessity of the research topic proposed. Here's what he said: "I personally wrote the SMS for the test wing at Pax back in 2008 (hard to believe it was that long ago). That was before it was required for operational and training units in the Navy and Marine Corps… Thank Tom Roberts who convinced me that the FAA AC 120-92 was worthy of consideration. What I don’t know is where SMS stands in our military establishment and in particular, in test and evaluation. I just don’t want us to misspeak if there is in fact some SMS activity out there." I hope you his read his comments and provide your input for this important research too.

As always, we would be delighted to hear from you, whether that's a request to be included on future mailings or even a complaint.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

Mark Jones Jr.
Editor

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