Panel discussion «Training technologies – flight safety increase».

17.06.2011

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Flight safety increase in civil aviation along with application of new generation aviation battle complexes dictates constant improvement of training methods. Helicopter simulators have a key role in this respect becoming more complex and perfect thus enabling to train flight crews practically all piloting and navigation missions.

Panel discussion time and location:

May,20 at Crocus Expo IEC, from 12.00 to 14.00, in the network of HeliRussia 2011, conference hall №3.

Organized by: Helicopter Industry Association, CC FSUE «TsAGI», CSTS «Dinamika» CJSC, « Transas» CJSC.

Genaral Information Partner: Industry Agency Aviaport (www.aviaport.ru) .

The Panel Discussion was dedicated to the problems of development, certification and operation of modern helicopter simulators.

Main topics:

  • Modern simulation technologies in Russia: the level achieved, problems and prospects of development.;
  • Protection of intellectual property of specialists working for Helicopter Design Bureaus (formation of Data package for simulators’ developers, technical and legal aspects);
  • Examination and certification of helicopter simulators according to new international standards ICAO 9625-N;
  • Training Centers in Russia for helicopter flying crews;
  • Problems of training aviation companies’ flying crews.

Moderator of the forum: Andrew G. Bushgens, professor, chief designer of CSTS «Dinamika»

Results of the panel discussion on training technologies.

On May, 20 exhibition center «Crocus Expo» hosted the panel discussion «Training technologies – flight safety increase» as part of Helirussia 2011. It was given special attention by the specialists working for simulation industry. More than 130 specialists and mass media representatives gathered to listen to the speakers of the panel discussion including representatives of government bodies, CC FSUE «TsAGI», leading Russian manufactures of simulators, and simulators’ operators. Such keen interest can be explained by a big number of flight accidents and crashes that happened to helicopters of civil and military aviation. Thus according to official information within the last 5 years there have been 21 crashes with 107 victims of commercial civil aviation, that makes 64% of all helicopter accidents for this period of time. By different statistics from 60% to 80% of aviation accidents and catastrophes are caused by human factor and particularly by the quality of flight crews’ ground training. Incidentally, the problem refers not only to Russian helicopter industry. Rotary-wing accident rate remains high across the globe.

Till present days Russia has no legislative norms and regulation for certification of aviation simulators and flight crews’ training. This fact negatively influences the development of Russian simulation market. Solution of this issue is topical for Russia in terms of integrating into world market of aviation transportation and is connected with the questions of international certification of training facilities for both brand-new and widely operated aviation techniques.

Russian aviation simulation industry survived wild 90s and the market welcomed new companies that are trying to cover the way their western colleagues have already went through. However it’s always hard to catch up with the leaders as there is still a gap in a range of basic simulation technologies. First of all it concerns motion systems, wide-angled collimation visual systems, as well as Data package necessary for developing dynamic math models for the aircraft.

It’s worth mentioning that impressive and interesting speeches were delivered by representatives of Training Centers for Russian helicopter operators: UTair and Gazpromavia. So in the end the consumer reveals problems of modeling and training markets. There turned out to be two key problems closely related to each other: the first is the absence of regulatoions such as norms and standards legislated by the state, the second problem dwells upon the quality of simulators that lags behind world standards due to the absence of regulatoions as well. It should be appreciated that significant work has been done within the last 2 years aimed at adopting national standards to agree with ICAO recommended documents, the efforts of CC FSUE «TsAGI» to be mentioned especially. However the process should be speeded up, with manufacturers of training facilities for flight crews and maintenance staff to be guided by existing international standards.

As regards speeches of representatives of manufacturers they were obviously informative and commercial. It’s not bad under circumstances of rather close Russian simulation market as such speeches from the first persons are very useful.

The head of the Center of Certification of Flight Simulation Training Devices FSUE TsAGI Vladimir Shibaev devoted his speech to the problems of rating and certification of simulators in Russia. For the first time specialists of the area have been introduced with a new approach in the rating of rotary wing simulators that is recommended by ICAO 9625-Н first published at the end of 2010. According to Vladimir Shibaev development of helicopters in Russia is impeded by the absence of regulatory documents that could define criteria for their rating. At present CC FSTD is accomplishing the project on domestic standard for helicopter rating that is called “Standards of worthiness of helicopter simulators for training flight crews”. This standard is fully harmonized with the latest version of ICAO 9625 H.

However another problem is that approving of necessary regulatory documents and their further introduction to the Russian simulation market is deterred by a great number of existing unrated training facilities of different levels. Most of them can’t be classified according to any of the five levels suggested by ICAO 9625 Н. That’s why the main goal of CC FSTD is to develop analysis methods for simulators’ components on the basis of comparing with ICAO standards. This could extend operation for many existing training facilities thus using them for training of flight crews according to international standards.

CSTS Dinamika CEO Alexander Litvinenko touched upon the question of a dramatic lack of flight personnel to come to Russian airlines in the nearest 5-10 years. He pointed that even multiple increase of productivity of higher schools won’t help to solve the problem in the next several years. One of the possible solutions is developing commercial training centers with HTP Ostrava – a joint project of CSTS Dinamika and Czech colleagues – as an example. HTP Ostrava training center for the Mi-171 crews started operating in 2010. Today the center is on demand not only in Eastern Europe but beyond the borders as well. At present this unique experience serves to realize development of training centers in other places including Zhukovsky near Moscow.

Alexander Godunov, CEO of aviation area of Transas told about the development and adoption of training facilities for maintenance staff. The company has a vast experience in manufacturing simulators of high degree of complexity with motion systems. Gradually the company has more glass cockpits on order that refer to different configurations of modern aircraft. High demand on CBT (computer-based training) made the company develop a new unit to satisfy these requirements of the training market. Today the company tries to sell simulators along with the systems that evaluate psychophysiological state of the operator or a pilot. It helps to define the state of the test person during this or that mission. Unlike western countries Russia underestimates such systems as there are no standards for them. The focus of the company is to provide the customer with long-time and safe operation of the simulator. In case of commercial enterprises it’s necessary to secure operation of the simulator for at least 23 hours a day, six days a week. This is approximately the level Transas provides to its clientele in the network of 3-years guarantee and post-guarantee service.

Vladimir Demkin, deputy flight director of UTair Airlines, referred all the participants back to the main topic of the panel discussion – the link between flight crews’ simulation training and flight safety, and standards that should be the basis for training centers. «Today we speak about ICAO standards but for no reason don’t we mention our own documents that define pilots’ training in Russia. The problem is we can’t name a single document that controls this activity. Such documents used to have a unified approach to the sphere of flight training. Today they only contradict each other in both training programs’ development and operation evaluation. Unfortunately we face the situation when operators, scientists and officials follow different directions. As the result the operator who is mostly responsible for training has to solve all the coming problems alone. Large airlines can do it easier as they have more possibilities to do it according to certain standards. As for small airlines they lack both financial and human resources and have to deal with the problems on their own. That’s why flight training and flight safety suffer that much»…

The main idea expressed by Alexander Smyatkin, the head of Gazpromavia training center, was that the quality of simulators should be defined by standards. Gazpromavia is one of the largest Russian helicopter operators that works in the interests of agriculture area. The training center occupies the building with the area more than 6700 square meters. It can easily accommodate ten simulators – 6 FMS with motion system and 4 part-task motionless simulators. «As operator of simulators we face the problems of flight training one-to-one. The government, aviation authorities, and manufacturers – they all spoke about their success. But at the same time we have to admit that simulation industry as an independent sector is at the beginning of its way. Wild 90s influenced it a lot. Old enterprises were closed, other lost their best human resources and technologies being unable to adopt new ones. New enterprises that appeared in the last ten years don’t have this fundamental experience of development and manufacturing of flight simulators. They get down to work without necessary manufacturing technologies for high-level simulators. As the result the simulators don’t correspond to existing standards. Statistics shows that without certain work in this area in one or two years Russia will lack simulators drastically with the quality and the number of the existing ones not satisfying the needs. In other words civil aviation will lose flight training devices for flight crews».

«Flight safety should be provided on the ground. It’s recognized world-wide that qualifying mark for pilots is formed on the basis of simulator tests. That’s why Russia is in urgent need for effective system of simulators’ qualification that is compulsory at all stages of development starting with the building, technical projects and ending with the ready product», - said A. Smyatkin

Unfortunately two hours of Panel Discussion were not enough for discussion as the time of such events in the network of exhibition is strictly limited. So the speakers had to continue discussing the questions in the lobby. It’s not surprising due to the vast spectrum of areas for discussion that well deserve a separate conference.

This time the problem of Data package wasn’t covered at all. Meanwhile it also includes problems of intellectual property, technical and commercial aspects. At the same time representatives of the leading design bureaus are not ready for such discussion. The reason why bureaus don’t have their own opinion on all the questions is the fact that in Russian practice there were no experience of interaction between aircraft developers and simulators manufacturers. But their presence at Panel Discussion means that in the future such problems will be not only open to discussion but solved as well. If not, approving of national standards is useless as Data package absence rules out the possibility of rating simulators according to ICAO 9625.

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