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Topic Author
Posts: 929
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2003 10:59 am

New Type Certification

Fri Dec 05, 2003 2:32 am

Hello everyone!

I have a question that has been bothering me for a while. I know that whenever pilot wants to qualify for a new aircraft type, he has to go through some training. What about when a new type of aircraft comes out and nobody is certified to fly it. How does that work?

All the answers would be appreciated.
Posts: 7197
Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2000 6:25 am

RE: New Type Certification

Fri Dec 05, 2003 6:23 am

Uhmm, when checking in at some hotels you often have to fill in an endless form with personal details, name, address, credit card number, blood type and God knows what.

And then of course "occupation". I mostly fill in with "test pilot".

When once checking out at a hotel way up in Sweden the lady at the reception desk complained that my credit card had a wrong name. My name in her book was "Chuck Yeager".

I wonder how many certified planes he ever flew.

Happy landing, Preben Norholm
Posts: 9576
Joined: Sun Nov 23, 2003 7:09 am

RE: New Type Certification

Fri Dec 05, 2003 12:22 pm

The factory test pilots who will make the first flight and conduct the flight test program leading to type certification have been in on the design process from the beginning. They have provided input to just about every design group regarding the pilot-system interface.

You have guessed correctly that you can't get a type rating when there is no type. The FAA (here in the USA) recognizes the unique situation: That no one knows how to fly this airplane yet and that the factory pilots are the experts on it. I do not know the exact regulation giving the authority, but the factory pilots are permitted to fly the new design under the umbrella of the factory test program.

The FAA is also present during the creation of a new design. When the test program is successful the design goes from being just a factory project to being a real airplane with a data plate. A big part of the new airplane design is the document package that got FAA acceptance along with the airframe itself. This package would include an approved flight manual, data for performance and for weight & balance, maintenance procedures, minimum equipment list and so on. Along with this comes the extracted material that will become the training program that the rest of us will use to learn to fly this new airplane.

I have seen a factory pilot sign off an FAA inspector on a brand-new subtype. It struck me funny at the time, but it does make perfect sense.
Topic Author
Posts: 929
Joined: Sat Sep 27, 2003 10:59 am

RE: New Type Certification

Mon Dec 08, 2003 9:47 am


Thank you for such a detailed explanation
Posts: 2845
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2003 3:26 pm

RE: New Type Certification

Mon Dec 08, 2003 1:01 pm

Prior to certification, new designs are tested under the experimental rules here in the US. I don't know how they vary but I think all they need to do to fly is prove that they are airworthy. Of course, the FAA is there every step of the way and that is why it takes a long time and a lot of money to certify new designs.

RE: New Type Certification

Mon Dec 08, 2003 3:41 pm

When it comes to the initial type-ratings issued on a given aircraft type, it's not really that big of a deal. I was among the first dozen pilots typed on the Gulfstream G200 / IAI Galaxy three years ago. It was back before the simulator was operational. There were a couple of factory pilots that had been typed, FlightSafety sent one of their instructors to Israel to take a type ride, and the FAA sent one of their inspectors over as well. No one had any experience in the airplane. When our turn came for training, we went out with the FlightSafety instructor, but it was obvious that he was "just a chapter ahead of us in the book", so to speak, so we basically just flew the airplane until we felt comfortable enough in it to pass the FAA checkride. It was actually one of the easiest type ratings I've ever done - there's only so much that an examiner is willing to do to you in a real airplane. Sim checks are a different matter. They've got you for a couple hours and they've got nothing better to do than to see how many of those systems failure buttons that they can push.


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