Is your training centre facing the Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD) qualification (also known as certification)? Not sure how to prepare for one? SimHelp share its know-how with you.
BEFORE THE CERTIFICATION
To start with, let’s define the Full Flight Simulator or any other training device qualification types. They are:
♦ Initial, when your FSTD is qualified for the first time before using it for trainings;
♦ Recurrent, which follows initial one. This audit is compulsory and is generally performed each year;
♦ Special, one that is obligatory after major modifications done to the device (like a Visual Upgrade).
All these qualifications are covered by EASA’s CS FSTD (A) regulation, as well by FAA by Advisory Circular AC 120-40B regulation. Certification of a device proves that FSTD meets the full operation of real aircraft requirements.
Certification typically will take 1 – 2 days. Auditing is a complex process done by selected Authority inspectors, Simulator Operator Quality Manager and representative engineer who maintain the device. At least one engineer (leader of engineers) should be completed relevant training, be acquainted with the simulator and have experience in performing that line of work.
SimHelp recommends paying attention to the “Aeroplane flight simulator evaluation handbook” where all Qualification Test Guides (QTG) tests are listed, abbreviations and keywords explained and result evaluation indicators outlined. In addition, we also recommend taking Training Technology International’s “Evaluator Course”. It helps to better understand simulator certification procedures.
There are over 100 various QTG tests that every simulator type must pass. According CS FSTD (A) AMC1 FSTD(A).300 Qualification basis, (a) , (9), (ii) the performance of all QTG tests should be run progressively in at least four approximately equal three-monthly blocks on an annual cycle. In practical way this requirement will help engineers to indicate themselves about a potential degradation of specific Simulator system (e.g. degrading results of control wheel oscillations damping QTG will clearly show that Control Loading system should be re-calibrated or even some worn components should be replaced).
While performing QTGs, correct processing (following the requirements) is necessary. Precise record keeping is very important as well. Engineers should not underestimate accuracy of the following legal documentation: FSTD Procedure Manual, Safety Management Manual, Checklists and Forms, FSTD Presentation.
ON THE DAY OF THE CERTIFICATION
On the day of the FSTD evaluation, three types of verifications are performed by the official evaluator: Subjective, Objective and Quality System.
♦ Subjective Verification is what the official evaluator notices at a glance. We strongly recommended performing subjective tests few times per year as well as before the official certification. Next, we do recommend declaring in advance all the failures and misfits to the Official evaluator. Hiding just won’t do you any good.
♦ Objective Verification is performed only depending on the QTG results, should the Evaluator feel it’s necessary.
♦ Quality System describes instructors operations, maintenance procedures of the simulator, fire safety, work safety etc. All these are checked as well.
Apart from the mentioned verifications, engineering reports and procedures are also evaluated. The Official Evaluator additionally checks:
♦ Defect reports and open defects.
♦ Preventive maintenance reports collected during certain scheduled tasks (e.g. daily, weekly, monthly).
♦ Database updates reports. All databases (e.g. airports, GSD and FMS) should be regularly updated to perform correctly.
♦ Statistics recommended by ARINC report 433.
Flight Simulation Training Device Certification is very important for the enterprises organizing own pilot training or selling lease hours for others. No need to say that, it’s best to be prepared all the times to pass the qualification faster and spare engineers the headache.
Qualification is a very important process for flight simulators operators. Should you find yourself struggling with preparations, make a smart move and request an external qualified professional to assist you.