The Flight Simulation Group took a vow to look forward: Industry, government and academia would come together to further delineate the problem, and develop a strategy for the definition of structured, standardized and validated Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT). In fact, at the onset, we added the word “prevention” as allegiance to the most important training result.
The ICATEE Approach to Effective UPRT
ICATEE has concluded that the only way to defining training solutions is to first clearly delineate the training needs, which can be defined as the difference between the current capabilities of an individual, and the desired performance objective. By adopting this approach, it became clear that there exist certain shortcomings with today’s training; The inflow of pilots with exposure to an all-attitude, all envelope flight environment is rapidly declining as the availability of airmen with prior military exposure or similar civilian experience decreases. Experience with high angles-of-attack, high g-loading, rapid maneuvering and situations that could induce spatial disorientation can be of benefit when the training is validly focused and correlated, when recognizing, avoiding and recovering from potential upsets in transport-category aircraft.
The main challenge is to provide realistic training that can be retained by the flight crew. Response to upset conditions demand immediate and correct response by the flight crew, and sometimes this reaction may be counter-intuitive. For instance, the airplane’s response to a stall may be worsened by applying power or continuing to try to maintain altitude (as often prescribed by pilot examination criteria). Training this knowledge, it is said, requires both an academic knowledge, as well as developing the ability to manage the aircraft state through the correct execution of skill-based behaviour. Part of this can be trained in the classroom, and part could be trained in the flight simulator. However, if their response is based on inadequate or incomplete data, simulators may provide a negative training environment.
The Startle Factor
Re-creating the startle factor in flight simulators, in other words the impact of such events that cause a pilot to react in a primal, self-defending manner, is also a significant challenge. In a high-stress situation, a pilot may call upon basic skills more than cognitive and adaptive thinking to resolve the situation, and training these skills is considered essential in preventing LOC-I.
Training in a Realistic Environment
Also, it is difficult to provide the abruptness of accelerations or sustained forces in flight simulators. Alternatives include in-flight training on aerobatic-capable aircraft, or the use of continuous-g simulation devices. Clearly, all of these need to be carefully considered in order that the skill sets are properly developed, and the training remains cost-effective and relevant.
Therefore, ICATEE is preparing a strategy that involves a graduated approach to introducing these training requirements.
- First of all, the current Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aid document will be revised. This landmark report, published several years ago through an industry working group, has been of benefit to many airline pilots who choose to read it. It does not, however, cover aircraft below 100 passengers, and is limited to swept-wing jets. Additionally, it is not mandated.
- Secondly, ICATEE will provide recommendations for enhancing and making better use of current-technology full flight simulators. Enhancements will include data, instructor station feedback and motion cueing. New tools using modern media will also be recommended, to enhance the knowledge-based skill-sets of pilots.
- Finally, the use of aerobatic-capable aircraft will be discussed and considerations given to this type of training as well. Through its liaison with Supra, ICATEE will also investigate the relevance of continuous-g training platforms.