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Summary of the 17th SFTE EC Annual Symposium

Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2006-06-12/14)
Written by Henk Jentink

The 17th symposium of the SFTE European Chapter was held at the National Aerospace Laboratory NLR premises in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 12 to 14 June 2006. The participation of 80 persons the symposium was ideal for a good exchange of technical information and for meeting colleagues doing the same job, but at different locations. The Netherlands Association of Aeronautical Engineers NVvL and National Aerospace Laboratory NLR organized the Symposium.

After a welcome and introduction on the 12th by Fred Abbink, the General Director of NLR, the keynote speakers gave their views on flight testing. Lieutenant General de Jong, Commander of the Royal Netherlands Air Force, explained the role of flight testing for operations of the Dutch air forces. Next Fernando Alonso, Vice President Flight Test Division of Airbus enlightened in a very lively manner the many aspects that are tested of the A 380. Presenting the fascinating work took a little more time than foreseen, but the attendance was happy to exchange some of the time for lunch with listening to how testing is performed and seeing videos about it.

In the afternoon of the 12th, on the 13th and in the morning of the 14th technical sessions were held. Presentations had a variety of subjects, but were all very interesting for the flight test engineer, contributing in many ways to the theme of the Symposium;”Innovation in Flight Test Engineering”. Knowledgeable chairmen guided the progress of presentations and questions. During coffee, lunch and tea breaks the participants visited the exhibition of flight test equipment offered by vendors.

Following the final paper on the 12th a reception was organized on a boat. The boat moored in a canal adjacent to the NLR grounds. The ship, built in the 1930s, made an interesting tour through the larger canals to Amsterdam Central Station. The delegates on board enjoyed drinks, some food, perfect weather, nice views and interesting discussions with colleagues.

The session on the 13th was followed by a SFTE (EC) members meeting and in the evening the conference diner was held in the West Indisch Huis in the center of Amsterdam. Trade with the West was organized from this old establishment once, amongst others by assigning Peter Stuyvesant as the governor of New Amsterdam, the present New York. The welcome drink was served on the court-yard, again taking advantage of the very nice weather. The diner was served inside an old hall and after the main course the delegates were entertained with a speech of Rob Ruygrok of NLR about the future of aviation. We may have all our own airplanes as we now have cars. All that can be said against having our own plane can also be said against having our own car, so we can look forward to interesting future Flight Test challenges.

After the morning session of the 14th the best paper was chosen by the jury. Falk Klinge of DLR and Arun Karwal of NLR were ex-equo winners of the best paper award.

In the afternoon of the 14th a part of the delegates participated in the technical tour to Stork Fokker AESP in Papendrecht. Stork Fokker AESP presented their activities, to produce and test parts of different materials for many different aircraft, in a presentation and in a tour through the factory. The Dutch weather showed some rain this afternoon, this could not do any harm to the successful event.

All in all, the SFTE (EC) symposium was a big success with many good papers, enjoyable social events and an interesting technical tour. The large number of participants made a wise choice to come to Amsterdam.