Flight Safety Foundation Functional Check Flight Safety Conference CA Delvin Young Chief Pilot Flight Test American Airlines
242 MD80 152 B737 73 B767 47 B777 124 B757
American Airlines Fleet Aircraft • Boeing (MD) Super 80 242 • Boeing 737-800* 152 • Boeing 757 124 • Boeing 767 – 200ER 15 • Boeing 767 – 300ER 58 • Boeing 777 47 • Total Aircraft = 638 * Currently purchasing additional aircraft
Current Flight Operations • North America • Caribbean • South and Central America • Pacific • Japan and Asia • Europe
American Airlines Operations Employees • Total • Approx 68,000 • Pilots • Approx 7,900 • 172 Check Airmen • 43 Management • 12 Flight Test Pilots includes Chief Pilot. • Average age 51.8 (700 over age 60 by y/e 2011) • Average seniority 19.9 • Non Pilot Flight • 540 Management, Instructor and Support
“When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going, Any Road Will Get You There” (Alice in Wonderland) American Airlines Flight Test Organization & Operation
Flight Test Pilots • Total = 12 pilots: • 1 Chief Pilot • 11 Flight Test Pilots. • 8 Captains • 3 First Officers • 2 of the Captains are also ODA pilots. • Flight Test Pilots are part of the pilot unionized workforce and retain line pilot seniority number with all line pilot benefits.
AA Maintenance Checks • AA maintenance performed by AA employees. • Heavy C-Check: 115 annually. All conducted by AA Flight Test Pilots. • Light C-Check: 265 annually. Flight Test will fly a portion of the light C-Checks. • Prototype modification: < 3 annually. All conducted by AA Flight Test Pilots. • Special Visit (modification): ~ 580 annually. Depending on the modification, Flight Test will fly a small percentage of these aircraft.
Flight Test Pilots - continued • All Flight Test Pilots are domiciled in Tulsa, Oklahoma (AA’s primary maintenance base). • Not required to live in Tulsa but must be reasonably available on work days. • Flight Test Pilots are qualified on 2 aircraft types - - maximum of 3. • Max 3 due to maintaining Part 121 AQP qualification on each aircraft type. (train every 9 months).
Flight Test Pilots - continued • Train FAA FAR Part 121 AQP. • AA provides own training. • Flight Test utilizes FAA FAR Part 121 dispatch procedures to the maximum extent possible but conducts operations under FAA FAR Part 91.
A look back at how AA Flight Test began AA Flight Test The pursuit of safe operations and excellence.
AA Flight Test History • AA decided to have a specific Flight Test group several decades ago. • FAA FAR Part 91 was primary guidance for operations. • Updated Flight Test program when FAA FSAT 02-04A was published in 2002. • FAA FSAT 02-04A defined “Non-Routine Flight Operations” (NRFO) • Group 1: Operation of the aircraft in accordance with normal procedures of the flight manual. • Group 2: Procedures listed in emergency, abnormal, or alternate procedures. Flights which any system is de-powered to confirm back-up system is functional.
AA Flight Test History • Further updated when FAA InFO 08032 superseded FSAT 02-04A in 2008. • FAA InFO 08032 retained NRFO Group 1 & Group 2 definitions.
Type of Flying Specific to AA Flight Test • Post maintenance heavy checks. • Line aircraft NRFO Group 2. • Some NRFO Group 1 functions as well. • Ferry from storage to maintenance base. • New aircraft acceptance. • Lease return aircraft. • R & D, and Experimental.
Flight Test Training American Airlines Flight Academy DFW Texas
Qual Course Footprint* All Courses Total 22 Days 12 Days Ground Training Followed By ... 10 Days Flight Training in All Fleets *Typical
AA Flight Test Initial Training • Initial Qualification • Basic aircraft qualification through FAA Part 121 AQP. • Pilot required to accomplish aircraft consolidation - - 100 hrs in 120 days prior to return to Flight Test. • NRFO Group 2 Qualification: must be finished with basic aircraft qualification requirements: specific NRFO Group 2 requirements: • Ground Training • 3 x 4 hr simulator periods • NRFO Group 2 observations • FO = 3 x aircraft flights • CA = 7 x aircraft flights • NRFO Group 2 aircraft checkride
AA Flight Test Continuing Qualification Training • Continuing Qualification • All Flight Test pilots maintain Part 121 AQP qualification. • Train every 9 months for each aircraft qualified. • 2-3 days ground school • 2 x 4 hr simulator periods • Simulator checkride every 18 months • Aircraft Part 121 line check annually. • NRFO Group 2 Continuing Qualification: • Additional 4 hr simulator each 9 months for each type aircraft to concentrate on NRFO Group 2 events. • NRFO Group 2 checkride every 18 months.
AA Flight Test Continuing Qualification Training - continued Other Flight Test Items • Standardization & Safety meetings • Scheduled quarterly for each Flight Test Pilot. • Required to attend 2 minimum annually. • Individual fleet standardization & safety meetings scheduled in between quarterly meetings. • Also participate when opportunity exists: • Fleet Check Airman standardization meetings. • Maintenance Product Team meeting.
Policies Training Regulations Procedures Flight Test Qualification Bringingit alltogether to manage FCF Risk!
Reasons for FCFs • FCFs are part of the Airline Overall Risk Mitigation Strategy • Controlled Environment vs Line Operations • Specialty Trained Crew • Controlled Procedures • AMM Requirements • Quality Assurance • Over life of airplane operators discover system failures that; • cannot be checked on the ground • Maintenance resolution confidence check • Equipment & Systems must work First time Every time • Discovery of latent failures • Engine inflight start vs ground start
Reasons for FCFs - continued • In-Service Aircraft Negative Trends • Data Driven by the Airline Reliability Program • Example: 757 Pack Health Check • In-Service Aircraft Damage & Failures • Major Modifications & Upgrades • Multiple Disturbed Systems
AA FCF Risk Mitigation • Formalized FCF Process & Procedures • Uniquely Trained Crews • Weather • Day VFR • MD80 Electrical Failure • Engineering & Maintenance SMEs • FCF Task Management • Airspace
Issues for Consideration • Lack of industry standards. • Work collectively. • If we don’t manage ourselves, someone else will. • Inability for airlines to get quality Flight Test procedures for checklist development specific to post maintenance production flying. • Litigation & liability relief for manufacturer assistance. • Lack of knowledge, coordination, & cooperation among regulatory agencies. • Need to partner with the airlines vs mandate • Need available resources.
Next Steps?? • Create Industry Standards • Regulatory Agencies • FAA CMO • Airlines • Best Practices from those of us that have successful programs. • Provide legal relief for manufacturers providing Production Flight Test Procedures (PFTP) for checklist baseline and updates. • Industry working group create a document specific to airline post maintenance production flight test of in service aircraft. • Similar to FAA AC 25-7a only specific to airline post maintenance flight checks. • Similar resource example is the Industry Upset Training Aid.
The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed of lost airline luggage.
From American Airlines Flight Test Thank You