Flight Simulator Qualification/ Certification – FTD Consulting and Prosim Aviation Research…

ByAlexander Schaffler

Flight Simulator Qualification/ Certification – FTD Consulting and Prosim Aviation Research…

Flight Simulator Qualification by Prosim AR & FTD Consulting

Dutch-based company Prosim Aviation Research and German-based FTD Consulting are collaborating over the last years in the development of their Products for Airbus A320 and Boeing B737NG products. Originally, intended as software in use for Entertainment Simulators, Prosim AR has made huge steps into the world of

professional flight simulation in the last 2 years. Thus, Prosim is now a company permanently present on the major Aviation Training Events.

Their current software suites (“ProsimA320” & “Prosim737“) do not only provide the complete A320 or B737NG logics (with a Max suite just having been released in 2020) with replication of all systems including failures, but also  a software tool to complete the so-called “QTG-Tests”. The latter is required to complete the objective portion listed by current Certification Specifications (CS-FSTD(A)) under EASA and other regulatory rules. Here, the portions of all performance, static and dynamics tests are being recorded and adequate validation data provided for the acceptance of the competent Civil Aviation Authorities. Ergo, owners of A320 or B737 hardware can look into getting their devices qualified/ certified for pilot training and professionalise their operation.

The software is able to qualify your systems

  • under CS-FSTD(A) issue 2 to FNPTII MCC level as well as FTD1 and FTD2
  • under CFR Part60 to AATD and higher levels to FTD Level 6

when the respective other items necessary (see below) are being met.

Prosim benefitted from Alexander Schafflers´ experience ( FTD Consulting since 2007) in the field of FSTD Qualification/ Certification) for the process of the QTG Software tool development. As a second step FTD Consulting is now supporting the qualification/ certification of Flight Simulators of Prosim customers. Linking all necessary parts together for successful simulator qualification.

So what is needed to achieve a successful FSTD Qualification (certification) process?

One might think that Flight Simulator qualification is quite easy to facilitate, but there is a caveat as this process is dependent on what position you are going to have whether it is a FSTD manufacturer or as FSTD Operator or even the FSTD User. For overview we have added an illustration to help you understanding this problem.

  • The Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD): The Flight Simulator itself must fulfil all requirements as listed in the current Certification Specification. For example, in EASA this is CS-FSTD(A) or for FAA these are the requirements under CFR Part 60 and their Advisory Circulars. Here, all subjective and objective tests need to be recorded and documented in a dedicated document, the so-called Master Qualification Test Guide (MQTG). The tests must be validated by an adequate set of validation data which is mostly the actual Airbus or Boeing data Pack and License or for generic simulators a unique set of data of different origin. Last but not least all safety features of the simulator needs to be in place.
  • The Training Organisation/ FSTD Operator: Just one quick comment in advance, a training center approval does not automatically put you in the position to be a FSTD Operator. Under EASA, there are approval for training centers (the ATO approvals) and the FSTD operators (FSTD Operator approval). This might differ in the US for example were you have other requirements and school types such as the FAR141 and FAR142 schools and simulator qualification levels are treated differently. Don´t underestimate, there are currently almost 30 different regulatory rules in use around the world and all of them may have special requirements when it comes to FSTDs. Anyway, most of the time you would need to put adequate personnel in place which is acceptable to the Civil Aviation Authority and which has been trained in the regulatory rule, the FSTD Operation and maintenance as well as compliance. The personnel is running the Management System of the operator which is also to be put in place with adequate manuals to operate the FSTD. Training Syllabi are mostly needed by the FSTD User but it is vital to have differences lists in place as to ensure every FSTD User can train accordingly.
  • The Facility: The facility requirements are also directly linked to the certification specifications and regulatory requirements when it comes to safety installations, but foremost the major guidance is given my the FSTD manufacturer.

Only if these three major items are satisfactorily completed, then the device is accepted as qualified and ready for training. FTD Consulting has been monitoring simulator qualifications since 2007 and ensures that Prosim customers get the devices qualified.

What is needed from the FSTD hardware/ software perspective to get a simulator qualified?

In the following, we have established a short listing of items which are under the responsibility of the operator of the device who might need to ensure, that a manufacturer or hardware provider if you are a typical operator of a A320/B737 hardware system or you plan to buy in hardware from the major providers in the market. Note: this is a rough first indication but not limited to…

  • FSTD Safety Installations as per certification specification and regulatory rule
  • Subjective behaviour as per certification specification
  • Objective behaviour as per certification specification
  • Control Loading System for force feedback simulation
  • A ways and means to measure FSTD latency
  • A Visual System as per certification specification
  • An instructor station providing all training elements necessary

Services we can assist you with

Phase 1 Introduction to FSTD Qualification for manufacturers & operators

  • Audit to assess current projects and products
  • Initial FSTD Qualification
  • Introduction to EASA/FAA Regulations with Focus to FSTD Qualification
  • Introduction to qualification processes
  • Basic FSTD Architecture and typical problems
  • Tailoring of an engineering roadmap for the simulator

Phase 2 Support for project and supervision

  • System tests (Sample testing) in production process
  • FTDC as consultant for urgent questions and problems
  • Tailoring the Master QTG (EASA)/QAG (FAA) Document and coordination with testing and flight dynamics.
  • Information Control Loading/ Force-Feedback, visual system and Transport Delay
  • Support with flight dynamics modelling and providing a tailored model (on request)
  • Aerodynamics Specialist support for in-house modelling and flight testing (on request)

Phase 3 Application process with CAA, FTDC as link between FSTD Operator and manufacturer

  • Support for final subjective and objective testing of the simulator as integrated system and implementation of MQTGs/ QAG
  • Support during application for qualification of the operator, Compilation and implementation of all documentation including Management System (OMM, FSTD PM, Dossier), FSTD documents not included (such as user manual, maintenance manual, etc.)
  • Audit of the safety relevant parts of the facility for FSTD operation.
  • Training of the operator for FSTD regulations and Compliance check of personnel

Phase 4 FSTD Qualification/ CAA Audit for the Operator

  • Support and preparation of CAA audit
  • Evaluation of Findings and Discussion with CAA for realistic evaluation
  • Handover to After Sales for recurrent

FTD Consulting and Prosim have done this process in various qualifications and have solutions at hand and can provide guidance adding these elements should you not have ways and means to achieve it. Don´t hesitate to contact.

About the author

Alexander Schaffler

Mr Alexander Schaffler started his aviation related career in 2007 with Diamond Aircraft Industries, where he was first taking over the FSTD production line, delivery, installation and qualification process as a Project Manager of the Business Unit Simulation. He left the company as Director Marketing and Sales and launched his own consulting company for professional flight simulation in 2010 (FTD Consulting) which later cofounded the platform Flight Simulator Trader in 2013, trading independently new and used FSTDs accompanied by sophisticated services. To this date FST has sold over 75 Simulators and taken on manifold consulting assignments for simulation organisations as well as regulatory approvals of aviation organizations (AOC, ATO, FSTD, CAMO, etc.) by introducing solutions to about 140 aviation organisations.