Proposals are emerging suggesting the aviation industry adopt a less prescriptive approach to the use of flight simulation training devices (FSTD), despite ICAO's recent agreement on a set of global standards covering the technology.

The move follows the widespread introduction of competency-based training in the multicrew pilot licence, and evidence-based training in airlines for the recurrent training level. This focuses more on the training outcome in terms of meeting pilot competency levels, not the tools by which that is achieved.

The argument for a less rigid approach was presented at the Royal Aeronautical Society's 5-6 June Improved Training Provision conference in London.

Mark Dransfield, vice-president validation and qualification at Montreal-based simulator manufacturer Mechtronix, says for airlines and training organisations flight simulators are simply a tool for achieving the required level of training. He adds that there is no need to prescribe which device they should use if they can achieve the standards required with a lower-specification, cheaper device.

A simulator may, in future, be classified by the outcomes it delivers rather than the technical specification of the device, he says.

Also at the conference, Peter Tharp, chairman of the International Committee for FSTD Qualification at the RAeS, points out that experience from recent airline accidents and incidents demands that modern simulation extends its capabilities up to and beyond the edges of the flight envelope. This would allow pilots to be trained in simulators for the fully stalled condition and other "upsets".

Simulators should also be able to present realistic "startle" scenarios if crews are to be prepared to cope with rare and unexpected situations, he adds.

Source: Flight International