The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published its process for “special conditions” for flight simulation training devices using new technologies such as virtual reality or new aircraft types such as electric vertical takeoff and landing ‘air taxis’.
For application of new technologies such as A/M/V/XR, EASA has determined “only the motion, visual, sound system, the representation of the cockpit itself and the interaction/synchronisation of the different systems could be subject to SCs” (special conditions).
“The training device should be assessed by conducting a ‘training evaluation’, EASA states. “The purpose of this evaluation is to investigate the abilities and limitations of using such novel technology to deliver flight training according to the intended training and if the device would meet the requirements for the desired qualification level. This should be done within a test campaign (fly-outs) performed on the FSTD by nominated pilots and instructor pilots from industry and the competent authority”.
In one example, EASA, notes: “If the type of FSTD is an FTD using Virtual Reality (VR) and being equipped with a motion system, the SCs should address the areas:
- Cockpit Replica – alignment tests (cockpit alignment, motion compensation for head mounted display (HMD)), HMD tracking delay, colour representation
- Visual System – display system tests (continuous cross-cockpit visual field of view for HMD display systems, system geometry, vernier resolution, frame rate, colour degradation, black level, chromatic aberration, IPD setting and 3D projection, grating resolution)
- Motion System for VR FSTD – motion envelope (vertical, lateral, longitudinal)
- FSTD Systems – transport delay (visual-/motion-/cockpit instrument responses)
EASA cautioned, “When Special Conditions have been prescribed for a certain FSTD configuration proposed by a certain TDM (training device manufacturer), it cannot be assumed that the same conditions apply to the same new features implemented by other TDMs within another FSTD configuration.”
For “novel types of aircraft”, such as eVTOLs, special conditions “will not be related to FSTD components but will address aircraft performance and handling qualities”.
The agency advises, “The conditions for those tests should be discussed with EASA as soon as the need for those tests is identified.”
“Close coordination and agreement should take place between a designated FSTD expert of the competent authority and the applicant before the issuance of a SC”. Whereas for A/M/V/XR technologies, either EASA or a national aviation authority will become the ‘competent authority’, “EASA is the competent authority in case of novel types of aircraft”.
There could as well be a combination of both new FSTD technologies and FSTD for novel types of aircraft (such as VR used in a training device representing eVTOL aircraft).
The EASA process document can be found at: FSTD Special Conditions development and assessment process published by EASA | EASA (europa.eu)