adopted at the Data Conference, 17th May 1996, London, England

A significant move along the path towards setting international standards for the data required to be used in the manufacture and testing of synthetic training devices was achieved at the Conference held at the RAeS on May 17th 1996. The Society's previous initiative in establishing International Standards for the Approval of Flight Simulators, (known as the IQTG) which was finally adopted as the Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulators by ICAO in 1995, clearly indicated the need to establish the availability, format and affordability of the data. Without some common agreement upon the data issues much of the IQTG effort would be weakened. It was not considered to be part of the Society's IQTG Working Group's mandate to define the data requirements during its deliberations in 1989 -1992 but a subsequent Conference organised in 1993 by the Flight Simulation Group to discuss the problems of data, passed a resolution asking that the Flight Simulator Group seek the authority of the Society to form another Working Group for this purpose.

During 1994 and 1995 such a Working Group was formed under the Chairmanship of Donald Irving, MRAeS, a member of the Society's Flight Simulation Group. Consisting of representatives from the aircraft manufacturers, avionic manufacturers, simulator manufacturers, the regulatory authorities and IATA, a series of meetings was held in Europe, North America and Australia at which six resolutions were formulated. These required that data required in the manufacture and testing of all synthetic training devices must be made available at a publicly listed price, that it shall be the responsibility of the aircraft manufacturer, when contracting with an equipment vendor to install vendor equipment on the aircraft, to ensure that sufficient and satisfactory data is made available, that this data shall meet the requirements specified in the IATA Flight Simulator Design & Performance Data Requirements Document and that the Regulatory Authorities be recommended to adopt this as their standard too. It was further agreed that no vendor manufacturer shall, by withholding or restricting the availability of data, mandate the use of the actual aircraft unit instead of permitting it to be simulated. A further resolution was proposed to permit the restricted use, under strict controls, of engineering data in lieu of flight test data for simple derivative aircraft.

Each of these Resolutions was proposed and debated during the one day conference which was held immediately following the RAeS Flight Simulation Group's 1996 Spring Conference.

  • In introducing Resolution 1 Brian Hampson, FRAeS, (CAE Electronics) explained why some agreement was necessary and the various arguments for and against the need to ensure data availability to an agreed standard.
  • Captain Erik Reed-Mohn, MRAeS, of SAS introduced Resolution 2 addressing the need for a publicly available price list which would enable users to use normal market forces to ensure value for money and after sales support.
  • Captain Paul Eckert MRAeS (Swissair) & Dieter Hass MRAeS (DLH) introduced Resolutions 3, 4 & 5 and explained how, acting upon the request of the Society's Working Group, the International Air Transport Association had revised its Data requirements Document to further define standards for avionic and other vendor data. This work had been compiled by a sub-Committee including data specialists from the various interested parties and a new version of the IATA document would be published shortly.
  • Resolution 6 was introduced by Ray Hartley FRAeS (Thomson Training & Simulation), who gave an overview of the events leading to the establishment of a Task Force at a meeting in Long Beach. The Task Force comprised an internationally representative group of regulators, airframe manufacturers and simulator operators, who proposed that:

    "An internationally accepted policy should be defined that would allow for the use of aircraft manufacturer's engineering simulator data to validate small, well defined changes to the airplane configuration or a system relative previously flight-validated simulation."

    The proposal would enable the establishment of technically acceptable alternatives to costly flight testing , and involved the development of a prototype activity using the forthcoming B737-600/700/800 programme, in parallel with a generic process. The ultimate objective was acceptance of the process by ICAO and all regulators.

The proposal and process was reviewed by the FAA and Transport Canada in Atlanta, the JAA in London, IATA in Zurich and the Asia-Pacific regulators in Melbourne, with a view to achieving consensus. After further updating in Seattle, the proposal was presented by Bob Curnutt, Boeing, on behalf of the Task Force, and supported by papers from Capt Erik Reed Mohn, SAS and Hilton Smith, FAA.

A further discussion was held upon the voting principles because it was noted that many of the 70 plus delegates attending the Conference were representing the same major companies. Accordingly it was decided that each manufacturer or organization would be allowed to nominate only one person to vote on their behalf. This was thought to be very fair even though it gave the smaller organizations as much strength as the major aircraft manufacturers, for example.

When all the presentations had been made each of the resolutions was opened to comments from the floor. Most of these concerned the practicalities of enforcing the new standards and the dangers of Regulatory Authorities and others seeking to use the issue as a way of increasing the number of and scope of the testing leading to the qualification of the simulators or flight training devices. Such fears were dismissed by the Authorities present and if was pointed out that the new IATA document expressly addressed this issue.

Before voting on the Resolutions took place, Brian Hampson was asked to speak as to how the Working Group wished to proceed from this point. He indicated that it would be best to follow the pattern adopted in respect of the IQTG. If the resolutions were adopted, hopefully, by a large majority, they would be considered at the next meeting of the RAeS Flight Simulator Group. They would be tabled with a recommendation that ICAO should be approached to see if it would be possible to find a method of adopting them as some form of standard, similar to the Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of Flight Simulators.

Each Resolution was voted upon in turn and in no case were any votes recorded against any Resolution.