You are here

Summary of the 16th SFTE EC Annual Symposium

Warsaw, Poland (2005-05-09/11)
Written by Roger Detrick

This broad-scope, flight-test symposium was jointly sponsored by NATO’s Research and Technology Organization (RTO), Systems Concepts and Integration Panel (SCI), and the Society of Flight Test Engineers, European Chapter (SFTE(EC)). The SFTE ( is a fraternity of engineers and associates, whose principal professional interest is the flight testing of aircraft, fixed and rotary wing, and missiles.
The objective of the Society is the advancement of flight test engineering throughout the aircraft industry by providing technical and fraternal communication among individuals, both domestic and international, in the allied engineering fields of test operations, analysis, instrumentation and data systems.

The symposium, hosted by the Polish National Delegates of the RTO at the Ministry of Defence Conference Centre, Warsaw, was an unclassified event with participants from 24 countries. This was the first NATO symposium since the formation of RTO to deal comprehensively with aircraft flight test and evaluation (T&E), and the first SCI symposium to be conducted jointly with an organization outside of NATO.
Two previous SCI symposiums included significant aspects of flight test: “Integration of Simulation With Systems Testing,” October ‘01, Toulouse, FR and “Aircraft-Stores Certification Testing,” September ‘98, Chester, UK. The last NATO symposium to broadly review international flight testing was conducted by AGARD in Norway in the mid 90’s.

The symposium was developed and conducted, in partnership with SFTE(EC) and the RTO Research and Technology Agency, by the SCI Panel’s Flight Test Technologies task group (SCI-172, FT3). The FT3 mission (which was well matched to the symposium) is to: (1) disseminate information through publication of AGARDographs on flight test technology derived from best practices which support the development of concepts and systems critical to maintaining NATO’s technological and operational superiority; (2) enable advancements in flight test technologies to be discussed in open forum within the NATO community by identifying and distributing flight test training opportunities, and through proposing and facilitating symposia, short courses, lecture series, etc., and (3) serve as the focal point for flight test subjects and issues with the SCI Panel while ensuring the vitality and continuity of the network of flight test experts within the NATO community.

The symposium objective was the sharing of flight-test related information between the international community with a purpose of improving flight test practices worldwide. Flight testing is the ultimate and most realistic proof of aerospace systems performance. It is an expensive and time-consuming activity with safety implications. Three aspects (safety, time, and cost) imply that there is a high pay-off to NATO aviation in learning from the experience of others, avoiding the repeat of past errors and having access to the best practices of other flight test organizations.

You can read the complete summary in the Technical Evaluation Report from the symposium.