Proposal to the National SFTE Organization for the Development and Implementation of anFTE Certification Program Presented by Robert J. Ingerham VP – Programs, NTX Chapter
The Problem • New FTE’s direct from College with no aviation experience or with no experience of any kind. • Many don’t know basic aeronautical terms. (KIAS,TAS, and CAS for example) • Some understand basic aviation, but have no test experience. • Lack of Training within many companies for new employees. • Management of some companies complacent to put Elect. or Mech. Engineers in FTE slots with no training. • FTE’s from different companies talk different languages. • Hiring Personnel have no standard to hold to when hiring an FTE.Only the individuals word that they have the required experience.
The Need • An avenue to train new Flight Test Engineers from the Basics through to the Advanced Concepts of Flight Test Engineering. • A tool to standardize general processes and instruments (or best practices) throughout the flight test industry. • A way to verify knowledge, comprehension, and experience in Aeronautics and Flight Test Engineering.
The Solution • An Internationally recognized Society of Flight Test Engineers Certification Program. • Provides Third Party Verification of Individuals Knowledge and Experience. • Provides an up to date and relevant source of training for new FTE’s. • Provides, by fruition, standardized concepts and processes for the benefit of all participants.
Program Briefing Outline • Overall Concept, Proposed Levels, and Flow • Execution • Sources for Materials • Barriers • Additional Benefits • How to Proceed • Conclusions
Overall Concept, Proposed Levels, and Flow Test Conductor Certified Aeronautics Certified Flight Test Certified Flight Test Analyst Certified • The proposed concept is a three level certification system utilizing self paced workbooks, performance verification items, subject quizzes, and module exams. • The proposed levels would be: Aeronautics Certified, Flight Test Certified, and Test Conductor Certified (or Flight Test Analyst Certified).
Overall Concept, Proposed Levels, and Flow Next Level Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5 Certification Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Module Exam Performance item 1 Performance item 3 Performance item 2 Module 1 • Each certification level will contain multiple subject modules, with each module containing multiple segments. • Each segment would have segment quizzes and performance items.
Overall Concept, Proposed Levels, and Flow Next Level Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5 Certification Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Module Exam Performance item 1 Performance item 3 Performance item 2 Module 1 • Once all segments of a module are complete, the module would be turned in for review. • After review, if the module is accepted as satisfactory, the applicant would be approved to take the module exam.
Overall Concept, Proposed Levels, and Flow Next Level Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5 Certification Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Module Exam Performance item 1 Performance item 3 Performance item 2 Module 1 • Following the exam, assuming the applicant passed, they would then be allowed to proceed to the next module.
Overall Concept, Proposed Levels, and Flow Next Level Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5 Certification • At the completion of all module exams, the applicant would receive certification at that level and be eligible for the next level of certification.
Execution • Applicants would apply for acceptance within the program. • Acceptance criteria would be any of the following: • Membership in SFTE (non members charged a premium – see cost) • Currently employed in an FTE function • Currently employed within a Flight Test Community (in any role) • Applying as required for employment (application must contain Letter of Request from applicants manager) • Applying with a recommendation from an SFTE executive officer, Senior Member, or Fellow. (Letter of Recommendation to be included and is based on applicants interest in Flight Test) • Once accepted, applicant would request first module and define terms of payment.(Again – See Cost)
Execution • Modules would be distributed as hard copy paperback workbooks containing subject context, segment quizzes, and performance requirements with sign off sheets. • Subject Context: • Each Segment contains material to related to specific facets of that particular Segment which relates to its module. • Segment Quizzes: • Segment Quizzes highlight various facts within the material. • They are numerous enough to adequately cover any of the material that will be on the Module Exam, and do so without reproducing the exact questions on the Module Exam.
Execution • Performance Requirements: • Performance requirements are tasks that require the individual to physically demonstrate their knowledge and ability of some facet of the material being discussed. • They require someone with “signoff authority” (as determined by the certification council) to witness, verify, and endorse that the task was adequately performed in their presence, meeting the standards set down by the performance requirements sign off sheet. • Performance requirements can be located within any segment, after a segment, or as a recommended prerequisite to a segment. • On rare occasions, most likely as a part of higher certification requirements, they can be located within Module Exams.
Execution • Module Exams: • Module Exams would be administered online after the related module had been reviewed and deemed satisfactory. • As they would be online and unsupervised, they would need to be detailed, demanding, and timed to adequately test the individuals knowledge of the material. • Performance requirements within the Exam would either have to be performed in advance of the exam and the signoff mailed in, performed as an adjunct after the exam and signoff mailed after the exam, or performed during the exam and therefore scheduled and coordinated with the “signoff authority” and any required facilities necessary for adequate verification (i.e. control room, ops, etc.). • At the completion of the Module Exam the applicant would request and pay for next module.
Execution • Once all Module Exams, Performance Requirements, and Billing Requirements are satisfied, the individual will be issued a record of certification for the level completed along with an individual certificate and possibly an item of recognition (patch, ring, etc.). • After one level of certification has been completed the individual can apply for the next level. (No additional acceptance criteria required)
Sources for Materials • The program should be inclusive of all aspects of Flight Test Engineering. As such, it will require many different types of inputs from many different sources. Note: Initial criteria for inclusion as a source should be that the organization is directly involved with the Testing or Test Conducting of Aircraft. • Examples of Source Types would be: • Internal Flight Test Engineer Certification Programs • Corporate Programs • Military Programs • Academic Programs • Aeronautical Engineering Programs • Federal Regulations • FAA • JAA • Transport Canada
Sources for Materials • Examples of Sources would be: • Commercial Flight Test Facilities • Airbus • Bell Helicopter • Boeing • Bombardier • Cessna • Embraer • Raytheon • Military Flight Test Organizations • Boeing (St. Louis) • Lockheed Martin (Ft Worth, Marietta, and Palmdale) • Northrop Grumman • Military (Edwards, Pax River) • Academic Organizations • Embry Riddle • University of Texas, Arlington • Wichita State University • Federal Agencies • FAA • JAA • Transport Canada
Sources for Materials Commercial Flight Test Facilities Military Flight Test Organizations TC Cert Aero Cert FT Cert FTA Cert Federal Agencies Academic Aeronautical Engineering Programs
Overcoming Barriers • Cost • Development Cost • Execution Cost • Cost to Customer (FTE or Company) • Acceptance • FTE’s Acceptance • Corporate Acceptance • Validity • Integrity
Overcoming Barriers – Cost • General • Cost of Development and Execution will be passed down to the client. • Proceeds should be used to help fund both local and national organizational programs. (See Additional Benefits Below) • Development Cost • Initial cost will include: • Procurement of content – In order to minimize cost the collection of content should rely mostly on donated material from society members within source organizations and publicly published information and standards. • Development of curriculum – Dependence on a source material should help define curriculum flow thereby reducing the effort required in development. • Publishing of materials – Cost of publishing could be the most expensive portion of Development. Workbooks and worksheets should be hard copy but any and all reference materials could be put on CD. • Setup of Website – The Website should be restricted to application processing, purchase of materials, and administration of Module Exams. One time purchase of COTS Software could be used to accomplish this. • Advertisement – Cost associated with getting the idea out would be related to fliers, emails, selective corporate and/or government briefings, and symposium presentations.
Overcoming Barriers – Cost • Execution Cost • Application Acceptance – Cost associated with application processing could be minimized by requiring use of an online application and an associated database. • Distribution – Physical distribution via lowest cost mail service (i.e. USPS, FedEx, UPS, etc.). Use lowest cost option like 4 day ground unless applicant is willing to pay additional fee for postage and handling (i.e. actual cost of shipping plus an additional handling fee). • Performance Requirements – Verification of performance requirements would be the responsibility of locally authorized “signoff authority” auditors (volunteers) to witness and validate applicants ability to perform. Written verification would then be added to applicant electronic file. Original copies would be kept with applicants workbook records. • Workbook Review – Workbook exercises would be recorded on paper to be mailed in to be reviewed and accepted. Some automations could be put in place to reduce inefficiencies. • Website Administration – Updates and Maintenance of the Website could be automated. Website interaction should also be limited to application processing, ordering of materials, and administration of Module Exams.
Overcoming Barriers – Cost • Cost to Client (FTE or Company) • Client Cost will be derived from development and execution cost plus any fees required. • Keep in mind that cost, if excessive, could be a big deterrent for clients. • In order to reduce the impact of cost, especially during the initial promotional period, the following guidelines should be used: • Average cost should be kept in line to the cost of other professional certification programs. • Lower level modules should be less expensive than upper level ones. • Lower level certification should have more modules than upper levels. • Work with companies to get Certification paid for via training budgets. • Work out payment options for individuals not covered under corporate moneys. • Credit Cards, Monthly Payment options, etc. • Membership has it’s privileges. • Fee Structure should encourage membership in SFTE. • Non member fees applied to each module should be in excess of a membership for a year. • Suggest a minimum $75 non-member fee with each Module. • No “free” yearly membership with order.
Overcoming Barriers – Acceptance • FTE’s Acceptance • Benefit of a Nationally recognized Certification to the FTE • Sets you apart from non-certified individuals. • Your considered a Subject Matter Expert. • Provides you with additional credentials when job hunting. • Gives you leverage for negotiating higher salaries. • Provides additional job security. • Provides training to bring you up to speed, in a short period of time. You gain years of experience in whatever time it takes you to complete the certification. • Self pace style allows you to go as fast or as slow as you want or need to.
Overcoming Barriers – Acceptance • Corporate Acceptance • Benefits of providing or encouraging certification for FTE’s in your organization • Provides standardized and skill diversified training for employees, from aeronautical basics to advanced flight test concepts. • No setup or planning required and minimal expense to company. • Provides verification of employees knowledge, comprehension, and experience in Aeronautics and Flight Test Engineering • Provides built-in benchmarks for companies to use for gauging the qualifications of applicants. • Company gains a more diversified overview of flight test. • Increases employees awareness of safety issues thereby providing for a safer test environment.
Overcoming Barriers – Validity • Integrity • Integrity is a key concern for any certification program. • Removal of individuals, thru automation, from pass/fail criteria. • Workbook modules reviewed only to verify all sections complete. • Testing done online. • Completion of all module requirements plus payment of all moneys due qualifies for certification. • “Signing authority” for any certification requirements also comes with repercussions for misuse. • Fines • Loss of own certification
Additional Benefits • Increase in membership • Answer to the age old question “why join, what does the society have that I want?” • Fee structure encourages membership • Increase in cash flow • Distribution of proceeds • National receives • Majority of tuition paid • All additional fees (i.e. non-member fees, fines, etc.) • Local organizations receive • A percentage of tuition paid for each chapter member. (10-25%**) • A percentage of tuition paid for each local non-member*. (15-30%**) * Local non-member should be defined by predetermined geographical boundaries** Percentages suggested here are for example only
Proposal of How to Proceed • Brief Proposal at Symposium and Vote • Establish Committee or Council and Assign Chair • Solicit members for Source Materials • Develop course outlines for each level • Review • Develop logistical plan from initial deployment thru continued operations. • Start Advertisements (fliers, emails, selective corporate and/or government briefings, and more symposium presentations) • Incorporate subject materials in to course • Final Review • Program Launch
Conclusions • An Internationally recognized SFTE Certification Program will provide: • An increase in membership • Prestige for the members • Greater confidence and self esteem for certified individuals • Increase in opportunities for certified individuals • Increase in cash flow for the organization, providing more options for local and national activities • Improved / more efficient and safer testing for companies • Standardized and skill diversified training package for companies • Verification of employees knowledge, comprehension, and experience in Aeronautics and Flight Test Engineering for companies • A built-in benchmarks for companies to use for gauging the qualifications of applicants