VLJ Upset Recovery Training Discussion


VLJ UPSET RECOVERY TRAINING: DISCUSSION & FEEDBACK
“Many view the very light jet (VLJ) as a personal transportation innovation; while others see it as merely an extension of current product lines. Most seem to agree, however, that it will open turbine operations to a large group of general aviation pilots who operate independently. At what point and with what training will they become competent in a particular class of aircraft? And, how can their personal learning experiences be continued year after year? Eclipse tried an innovative training approach for its customers but that company is now in bankruptcy. Will other manufacturers follow its lead or continue to train to the regulatory minimum requirements which many describe as out-dated? We’ve seen both training failures and successes but what have we learned?”
Robert Barnes
Moderator – VLJ Training Stakeholders’ Discussion Group
Robert B Barnes Associates Inc.
Aviation Safety and Training Specialists
SECTION 1: QUESTIONS BY THE VLJ GROUP ON UPSET RECOVERY TRAINING
Can VLJ training be safely completed without any upset recovery training?
2. Can VLJ upset training be safely conducted only with a classroom focus?
3. Can VLJ upset training be safely conducted only with classroom training AND AN FTD (i.e. no full-motion simulator) training module?
4. Should upset training ONLY be a component of primary training in a non-acrobatic piston aircraft and not be addressed at all during the VLJ phase?
5. As per 4 above, will some upset recovery classroom and flights, along with classroom study of the difference between GA single-engine piston a/c and turbine a/c (VLJ), be sufficient to safely and adequately prepare the pilot?
Responses to VLJ Group Questionnaire below were provided by:
Paul BJ Ransbury
President & Chief Flight Instructor (Professional Pilot Experience)
APS Emergency Maneuver Training

VLJ UPSET RECOVERY RESPONSES: APS TRAINING

Can VLJ training be safely completed without any upset recovery training?
Yes and No.
Yes, VLJ training can be completed safely assuming it will be assessed by the same standards and philosophies of training that have been used for aircraft/type conversion for decades. These historic jet training methods typically include some attention to mild unusual attitude training less than 30 degrees of pitch and 60 degrees of bank (usually less), and often no stall training whatsoever in favor of pre-stall training exclusively (ie. light, horn or “at the shaker” recoveries). Unfortunately, those same philosophies and standards have established Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) as “the” leading cause of fatalities and a leading cause of hull losses in commercial aviation worldwide over the past 10 years (1).
No, the industry needs to be taking affirmative action to address Loss of Control In-Flight through the implementation of training programs to develop both knowledge and fundamental all-attitude recovery skill in VLJ pilots. In consideration of the commercial-operation-like role the VLJ fleet of aircraft will be capable of performing, in combination with the relatively low-level of GA piloting experience associated with the general VLJ demographic of pilots, it will not be surprising to find that LOC-I will continue to dominate the accident statistics for VLJ operators, only in greater magnitude and frequency than commercial fleet operations. This projection is supportable in consideration of the 2006 Nall Report, indicating business use of GA aircraft resulted in just 2.5% of all fatal accidents in 2005, whereas GA personal use resulted in 70.7% of the total accidents. Whether VLJ training requirements are developed around commercial or private use of this class of aircraft, “proven-effective” methods of upset recovery training being included in these requirements may offer the most significant training-related safety enhancement aviation regulatory agencies can make to save lives and reduce hull losses through the mitigation of the LOC-I threat.
References:
(1) Aviation Safety – Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Statistical Summary
of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents – Worldwide Operations 1959 –
2007, The Boeing Company, 23, (Jul. 31, 2008).
(2) 2006 Nall Report—Accident Trends and Factors for 2005
2. Can VLJ upset training be safely conducted only with a classroom focus?
There is value to academic-only training. Unfortunately, academic training on its own is marginal in preparing pilots to be capable of solving an actual upset situation beyond the pilot’s normal experience envelope. However, a big part of the challenge associated with the industry’s understanding of the need for upset recovery training is awareness of the issues. Academic-only training can accomplish three important educational objectives in the aviation marketplace:
a) Increase understanding of the lethality of Loss of Control In-Flight,
b) Introduce fundamental aerodynamics and techniques of how to recover an aircraft from all-attitude situations not normally addressed during typical jet training, and
c) Prepare participants for practical experience in a training device.
Academics are an excellent first step (assuming the content is standardized to meet industry needs) but should not be considered a stand-alone solution in developing piloting skills to deal with upset scenarios. Practical experience and procedures must be developed in a training device. Ideally, a combination of professionally administered upset recovery training (not the same as aerobatic training) in an aerobatics-certified aircraft complimented by type-specific full flight simulator training yields the best results.
3. Can VLJ upset training be safely conducted only with classroom training AND AN FTD (i.e. no full-motion simulator) training module?
Yes, it can certainly be safely conducted using classroom and FTD training but I believe the real question is whether or not this would be effective. Classroom plus FTD training can offer a marginal level of effectiveness and is certainly much better than doing nothing at all. However, the industry needs to decide if they are looking for an actual solution to addressing the Loss of Control In-Flight risk or if they are simply seeking a method to present to insurance companies to give the impression effective training is being accomplished. The classroom plus FTD training should be considered the absolute minimum possible effort that can be made to address the need for upset recovery training in the industry.
4. Should upset training ONLY be a component of primary training in a non-acrobatic piston aircraft and not be addressed at all during the VLJ phase?
Mild unusual attitude training using non-aerobatic aircraft as part of primary training (and during recurrent simulator training for commercial operators) is what has been done in the past and continues to be the extent of “upset training” offered to pilots around the world. It is important to note, this philosophy is a significant contributing factor to establishing Loss of Control In-Flight as the leading cause of fatalities in commercial aviation worldwide. Statistics support commercial aviation being the safest form of air travel in the industry, yet Loss of Control In-Flight dominates its accident-related fatalities. In consideration of the 2006 Nall Report highlighting the dramatically increased accident rate for personal-use GA operations in comparison to commercial-use GA operations, the industry should not be surprised if Loss of Control claims more lives than any other causal factor in future VLJ fleet operations (see citations referenced in Question 1 above).
5. As per 4 above, will some upset recovery classroom and flights, along with classroom study of the difference between GA single-engine piston a/c and turbine a/c (VLJ), be sufficient to safely and adequately prepare the pilot?
I was somewhat mislead by this question. If the question is asking if primary non-aerobatic “upset training” combined with a Turbine/Piston differences study will be sufficient then my answer is a clear and definite “no”. Please refer to my answer to question 4 above.
If aerobatic real-aircraft or all-attitude full flight simulator training replaced the the “primary non-aerobatic” statement in the sentence above then that’s a totally different question with lots of potential. If so, then this really depends on what is being taught to the pilots in the classroom and during the upset recovery flights. There is a “huge” disparity within the marketplace on the fundamental concept of what upset recovery training is, what should be taught and how it should be taught. A critical issue that is rarely considered is “who should be teaching it”. I know from first-hand experience that a proven-effective integrated solution exists that enhances historic methods. This integrated solution has real potential to mitigate the Loss of Control In-Flight threat and save lives. The core limitation of effective implementation for any combination of efforts being made towards a valid solution will come down to what is being taught, by who, to what standard and how.
Responses to the above VLJ Group Questionnaire below were provided by:
Paul BJ Ransbury
President & Chief Flight Instructor (Professional Pilot Experience)
APS Emergency Maneuver Training
 
 

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