Thoughts on "Panel Discussion on Flight Test Engineering Certification"

Sept 11, 2006 at SFTE Symposium


Graduate of an approved school gives an automatic level of certification?
Does the credential age with time or require refresher activity?
Maybe use some existing models?
  • Microsoft Certified Software Engineer (MCSE) � training and testing, separate from job, portable with person.
  • Professional Engineering (PE) � testing, and experience, time in profession.
  • A&P community is debating this right now (above and beyond FAA certification).
Progression of �Aero Skills > Flight Test Certification > Test Conductor� is very Ops Oriented. What about peripheral vision of G.Bedke�s �RRATS�? (Professional progression may include research, requirements creation, acquisition, management, sustainment.)
Does a certification serve business and HR departments more than participants?


Paradigm of �we have something you want� creates an environment that may no longer be relevant in today�s society. Reverse the entire paradigm. Consider this constellation of ideas:

  1. Pricing should not be to exclude non-members, but to pull them in. Instead of make price higher for non-members, offer a lower price to people who contribute material, case-studies, example reports, etc. Why not use this to build community and get our society and certification label everywhere? Study and understand what is happening at myspace.com, digg.com, facebook.com.
  2. Instead of charging them to be part of what we are and offer, this is a chance for SFTE to be part of what they are. New processes come from them, not from us. At best, we are distributors of the knowledge. We need to know ourselves. SFTE can learn from participants. Not standards, but peer community.
  3. Receive a participants� time and study and life, and give them back a community.
  4. Solves the problems of diverse day-to-day needs of big company, small company, government, commercial, etc. Instead, feet on the street engineers feed to SFTE what their job consists of and we become the organization that the culture really is.

It�s not clear if this is an issue of Training, Recognition, or Standardization? Okay, maybe all three. But each points toward different paths, and was emphasized by different people.

BACKGROUND (Notes caught during the panel discussion).

Named problems:
  • No experience, for example knowledge of simple things like KIAS, TAS.
  • EE & Mech Engr is not necessarily ready to do flight.
Certification is a crutch for a weak manager.
Establish and Publish standards matching FT needs, but not certify.
Difficult to stand-up using a volunteer organization (SFTE); instead, encourage a university to offer the degree or certification program (~12 hr graduate credit).
Start with a la carte modules, and 3-5 years down the road, let it start becoming a certification.
JSF is a coordination nightmare among many agencies. This could become the same.
NTPS Master's degree, is the first FTE certification program.

Created by brian. Last Modification: Monday 02 of October, 2006 12:31:03 CDT by brian.