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At the end of 2020, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published its Notice of Proposed Amendment (NPA) 2020-15, Update of the Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTDs) requirements.  The document proposes to change how FSTDs are qualified and used for approved training, testing and checking under Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011.
So what might this change bring, and what it will mean for the FSTD manufacturers and operators?

What does the EASA NPA 2020-15 suggest?

The NPA suggests a training matrix that will define the required fidelity level for each of twelve FSTDs simulation features for any given training or testing and checking task. This will allow operators to tailor their devices to a specific training task or group of tasks. This approach to the device capabilities, referred to as FSTD Capability Signature (FCS), is based on the ICAO doc. 9625 edition 4, Manual of Criteria for the Qualification of FSTD. The proposed change should be applicable for training related to fixed-wing aircraft Part FCL Type Rating only initially.

How is training conducted at present?

At present, the training for type rating is largely conducted solely on Full Flight Simulators (FFS). Other devices such as Flight Training Devices (FTDs) suffer from outdated regulatory qualification standards and confusion over their usage and potential credits towards training. This means that training and testing are sometimes conducted on FSTDs with higher fidelity potential than required, making the training and testing more expensive. At the same time, the full potential of today’s modern sophisticated FTDs is not being utilised.

What are the objectives of the new approach?

The new approach aims to ensure that FSTDs facilitate current and future training needs, as well as reinforcing the level of safety by addressing the minimum FSTD features and fidelity levels required to conduct certain training tasks. The proposed amendments are expected to promote more widely available and more cost-effective training, including enabling the application of new technologies such as Virtual Reality.

What are the implications for training providers?

Training providers will be required to identify the required fidelity level for each simulation feature, FSTD Capability Signature, needed to complete the training objectives. Once the FCS, in terms of FSTD general requirements and objective testing (Qualification Test Guide), is accepted and qualified by the competent authority, it will  be defined on the FSTD Qualification Certificate (QC) in addition to the FSTD Type and Qualification Level and thus provide a direct link to approved training task capability in Part FCL.

FSTD Capability Signature training

If you are unsure what the proposed changes will mean for you and your organisation, we have introduced a 3-day FSTD Capability Signature virtual training course to introduce the philosophy of ICAO doc. 9625, which has been adopted in EASA NPA 2020-15. The course provides an overview of the proposed updates to the Aircrew Regulation related to the FSTD Capability Signature. For more information about the proposed changes or this training course, please contact our training team: training@caainternational.com.

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