ETC’s Gyrolab has a continuous-G simulator that ensures pilots get the needed physical and physiological stress that might be encountered in flight, not just visuals and limited motion.
Paul Comtois knows why safety is a tough business for some people to comprehend: “Because it’s difficult to prove that what you’ve implemented actually had any effect.” Comtois, a former fighter pilot, is director of advanced pilot training programs at ETC, a Southampton, Pa.-based training company focused on upset prevention and recovery. “We need to change the way we train pilots today for upsets,” he told AIN, in the context of the Colgan 3407, Air France 447 and American 587 accidents resulting from loss of control in flight.“The first reactions of all of those pilots were inappropriate,” Comtois said. “In civil aviation we expect pilots who fly and train within the normal flight envelope 99.9 percent of the time to someday go somewhere [within that flight envelope] they’ve never been before and perform perfectly the first time.” Comtois remembers much different flight training in the military. “I was fortunate, as I was able to try every maneuver in the aircraft.” Comtois believes a contributing factor in accidents is that pilots do not fully understand the simulators they fly. “Consider the AA587 accident,” involving an airline pilot who had been taught wake turbulence recovery in the classroom before performing the same maneuver in the simulator, where it all worked. “The problem was that the airplane really didn’t perform the way the simulator made it appear,” Comtois said. “We need instructors and pilots to fully understand the capabilities and limitations of the simulators they use, especially for upset prevention and recovery.” Additionally, he said a variety of simulators beyond the standard level D (such as ETC’s Gyrolab continuous-G device) should be employed to ensure pilots get the needed physical and physiological stress that might be encountered in flight. Source: AIN, Robert P. Mark
Gravity always wins!
Paul Comtois was the very first pilot to fly with us at our new Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) location here at APS Texas. Paul and I had worked together for several years as part of the ICATEE Training Committee (International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes), which was founded by the Royal Aeronautical Society to reduce Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I) events; the number one cause of fatalities in both commercial and general aviation.
Paul and I had the opportunity to discuss current industry developments in this area of pilot training. Then we got to strap on our APS Extra 300 and show Paul its performance. As I expected, with Paul's extensive military flying background he was immediately at home in the air as we did some area familiarization and aerobatics in what was a new operating area for me.
When we were done flying, Paul and I exchanged lessons learned from our experiences training pilots in upset recovery. Paul and ETC use continuous-G devices while APS uses aircraft (Extra 300 or A-4) or standard Level D simulators. Despite the different platforms used, our experiences and conclusions regarding this field of training were uncannily similar. It was great to get validation that our views on the necessity for this training, and the need for standardization and quality assurance were shared by Paul. He is knowledgeable, dedicated, and is paving the way for the use of continuous-G devices in UPRT. Although our flight was primarily a professional courtesy, it was a great way to begin our flight operations here at APS Texas.
Randy Brooks, http://apstraining.com/texas/