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Summary of the 24th SFTE EC Annual symposium

Braunschweig, Germany (2013-06-11/13)
Written by Ina Niewind

The 24th SFTE-EC Annual Symposium took place from June 11 through 13 at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Braunschweig. The symposium’s motto was Defeating Murphy’s Law in Flight Test and a large number of the presentations held at the symposium covered this topic, including the winner of the best paper award, Jim Fawcett from Airbus, who made an excellent opening of the first technical session with his presentation “Hurry, Worry and What-not:
Minimising the Risks”.

Best Paper Award-Winner Jim Fawcett with Symposium Organizer Ina Niewind

Prof. Peter Hamel was the first keynote speaker and gave a great presentation about flight testing for stability and control with a focus on activities at the DLR Braunschweig including the famous ATTAS variable stability aircraft and the fly-by-light helicopter FHS. The second keynote speech was given by legendary test pilot Horst Philipp who told the audience about the flight test of a very unusual airplane, a replica of the Gustav Whitehead aircraft which may have flown before the Wright Brother’s plane.

Left: Live Demo of the Highly Stable Flight Dynamics of a Zanonia Seed by Prof. Peter Hamel. Right: Horst Philipp (and the GW 21 in the Background)

The reception took place at the exploratorium “Phaeno” in Wolfsburg where all participants proofed that there is a curious child in every good engineer. The symposium’s dinner took place at a restaurant located at the historical Castle Square. Hannes Ross, who is design advisor for the Solar Impulse team, provided humorous insights into the “Fun of Flying” in the frame of his dinner speech.

Left: Phaeno Exploratorium, Right: Hannes Ross Giving his Dinner Speech

Overall, 77 participants from 10 countries contributed to this very fruitful symposium. Presentation topics covered civil, military, academic and scientific flight test and a wide range of platforms including civil transport aircraft, military fighter aircraft, aerobatic aircraft and UAV. The topics were very versatile and included stories about how a calibrated instrument turned out to be not as calibrated as the certificate said, how much distilled water and battery acid look(but don’t feel) alike and a how a test pilot managed to recover and land an aerobatics aircraft after the stick broke at the very bottom.

The Participants of the Symposium in Front of DLR’s Fly-By-Light Helicopter FHS (based on an EC135) and the A320 ATRA>

The symposium was finally completed by a technical tour at the DLR facilities in Braunschweig which covered the aircraft hangars,the tower simulator and the rotor testbed. Also,some lucky participants could drive in the moving-base car simulatoror fly in the new 6 DOF flight simulator AVES which had just become
operational the week before.

6 DOF Simulators; Left: Driving Simulator, Right:Participants of the Symposium in the Flight Simulator AVES