If there is a symbol of success, Matt Jennings’ smile was it yesterday as he presented a briefing at Heli-Expo 2011on the Royal Aeronautical Society’s successful development of new criteria for the classification of civil helicopter flight simulation training devices (FSTDs) and announced that it is now in the hands of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Jennings is co-chairman of the Society’s Helicopter-International Working Group (H-IWG), which has been working on the project since 2005, motivated by a number of factors, not the least of which is safety. He noted the steady increase in helicopter accident rates since 2000.
One of the principal aims of the work is to improve accessibility to synthetic training across the helicopter industry and thus improve safety. It is the first time that helicopter simulation has been exclusively considered as a subject by ICAO.
The group described its efforts as “part of the largest harmonization effort ever attempted in the history of the flight simulation industry.” And it added in a statement to the media, “It is anticipated that achieving an internationally accepted definition of helicopter FSTDs will have significant benefits across the industry.”
Among the benefits are the reduction and simplification of the administration burden by stakeholders, permit a more consistent approach by simulator manufacturers and provide a clear expression of the suitability for using specific FSTDs for training tasks associated with licenses, ratings, checks and so on for training organizations and operators.
The working group’s final draft was presented to ICAO just three days ago. It is hoped by the document’s authors that it will result in publication by ICAO of a new volume, dedicated to helicopters, of the “Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of FSTDs” (Document 9625), and its subsequent adoption as regulation by national civil aviation authorities worldwide.
“Ultimately, [implementation of document’s recommendations] will improve access to flight simulation and thus quality of training and provide a welcome improvement in aviation safety,” concluded the working group in announcing delivery of the document to ICAO.