International Committee on Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes


In 2009, IDT president Dr. Sunjoo Advani had the honour to chair a conference at the Royal Aeronautical Society called “Flight Simulation – Towards the Edge of the Envelope”. Due to the growing needs to enhance this type of training, and because of the complexity of creating an effective and affordable change to current training, an international working group was formed. This group, called the International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes, is chaired by Dr. Advani, Mr. Peter Tharp, and Capt. Gordon Woolley (Chairman of the RAeS Flight Simulation Group). All three are members of the FSG.

In order to make ICATEE effective, two streams were created:

  1. Research and Technology, co-chaired by Dr. Jeffrey Schroeder of the FAA
  2. Training & Regulations, co-chaired by Capt. Bryan Burks of ALPA

ICATEE is supported through participation from the aircraft industry, simulator manufacturers, training providers, regulators, researchers and airline customers. Participants include Boeing, Airbus, CAE, Opinicus, ETC, APS Emergency Maneuver Training, the FAA, NTSB, NASA, NLR, DLR, ALPA, IFALPA, KLM Flight Training and many others. In total, there are approximately 75 participants.

ICATEE has introduced the concept of comprehensive Upset Prevention and Recovery Training. Three levels of training are requires: Awareness, Avoidance and Recognition, and, finally, Recovery. To define these, a detailed training matrix is being created through which the hazards, types of training, maintenance of skills, and possible training methods are defined.

More information and the latests news on ICATEE can be found on the dedicated website.

Loss Of Control in Flight

One of IDT’s foremost interests is to contribute to aviation safety.

Currently, the largest threat to aviation safety is the Loss of Control In Flight (LOC-I), and many suggest that this has to do with pilot training. The figure below shows the number of fatalities versus the cause, indicating the significance of LOC-I to aviation safety.

Recent examples include Turkish Airlines Boeing 737 in Amsterdam, Colgan Air Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 in Buffalo, and Air France 447 Airbus A330 over the mid-Atlantic. All of these accidents occurred in 2009.

A screenshot of the NTSB flight recorder data analysis video of the Colgan Air incident on 12 February 2009 is shown below. The aircraft lost airspeed, stalled, and exhibited roll control reversal as the crew continued to try to correct the situation. Seconds later, the aircraft impacted the ground.


Training Challenges

The main challenge is to provide realistic training that can be retained by the flight crew. Response to upset conditions demand immediate and correct response by the flight crew, and sometimes this reaction may be counter-intuitive. For instance, the airplane’s response to a stall may be worsened by applying power or continuing to try to maintain altitude (as often prescribed by pilot examination criteria). Training this knowledge, it is said, requires both an academic knowledge, as well as developing the ability to manage the aircraft state through the correct execution of skill-based behaviour. Part of this can be trained in the classroom, and part could be trained in the flight simulator. However, if their response is based on inadequate or incomplete data, simulators may provide a negative training environment.

The Startle Factor

Re-creating the startle factor in flight simulators, in other words the impact of such events that cause a pilot to react in a primal, self-defending manner, is also a significant challenge. In a high-stress situation, a pilot may call upon basic skills more than cognitive and adaptive thinking to resolve the situation, and training these skills is considered essential in preventing LOC-I.

Training in a Realistic Environment

Also, it is difficult to provide the abruptness of accelerations or sustained forces in flight simulators. Alternatives include in-flight training on aerobatic-capable aircraft, or the use of continuous-g simulation devices. Clearly, all of these need to be carefully considered in order that the skill sets are properly developed, and the training remains cost-effective and relevant.

Graduated Approach

Therefore, ICATEE is preparing a strategy that involves a graduated approach to introducing these training requirements. First of all, the current Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aid document will be revised. This landmark report, published several years ago through an industry working group, has been of benefit to many airline pilots who choose to read it. It does not, however, cover aircraft below 100 passengers, and is limited to swept-wing jets. Additionally, it is not mandated.

Secondly, ICATEE will provide recommendations for enhancing and making better use of current-technology full flight simulators. Enhancements will include data, instructor station feedback and motion cueing.

New tools using modern media will also be recommended, to enhance the knowledge-based skill-sets of pilots.

Finally, the use of aerobatic-capable aircraft will be discussed and considerations given to this type of training as well. Through its liaison with Supra, ICATEE will also investigate the relevance of continuous-g training platforms.


In September 2010, ICATEE provided its first inputs to the FAA/Industry Stall/Stick-Pusher Working Group, recommending how to deal with Startle in simulation, and how to make better use of the instructor station in flight simulator training.

ICATEE’s main output will be through the International Committee for Flight Simulation Training Device Qualification (ICFQ) to ICAO. This is planned for the end of 2011.

The urgency of ICATEE is clear, and IDT is proud to make this contribution to airline safety.



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