The Flight Test Errors and Deviations
- The Flight Test Errors and Deviations
Minor, Major and Critical Errors
An error is formally defined in the Flight Test Guides as a means an action or inaction by the flight crew that leads to a variance from operational or flight crew intentions or expectations.
An action or inaction that is inconsequential to the completion of a task, procedure or manoeuvre, even if certain elements of the performance vary from the recommended best practices.
An action or inaction that can lead to an undesired aircraft state or a reduced safety margin, if improperly managed; or an error that does not lead to a safety risk, but detracts measurably from the successful achievement of the defined aim of a sequence/item:
An action, inaction that is mismanaged and consequently leads to an undesired aircraft state or compromises safety such as:
- Non-compliance with CARS or non-adherence to mandated standard operating procedures;
- Repeated improper error management or uncorrected and unrecognized threats that risk putting the aircraft in an undesired state or
- Repeated major errors or the non-performance of elements prescribed in the Performance Criteria* that are essential to achieving the Aim* of a test sequence/item.
* defined in the applicable Flight Test Guide.
Comment: note especially the language used in regard to major or critical errors—safety. If you commit an error that simply leads to reduced safety margins, but not a safety risk, you are heading for a 3 score, and that’s not bad. Once a safety risk is displayed, or flying regulation is contravened, then you have committed a critical error and you are heading for 1 score, which is of course a fail.
Minor, Major and Critical Deviations
A deviation is formally defined in the Flight Test Guides as variance in precision with respect to a specified limit published for a test sequence/item, as a result of pilot error or faulty handing of the aircraft.
A deviation that does not exceed a specified limit:
A deviation that exceeds a specified limit or repeated minor deviations without achieving stability:
A major deviation that is repeated, excessive or not corrected, such as:
- Repeated non-adherence to specified limits;
- More than doubling the specified value of a limit; or
- Not identifying and correcting major deviations.
Comment: note that minor deviations place you in the 3 score column, while major deviations are in the 2 score column. Critical deviations are in the 1 score column and therefore constitute a fail. In practical terms, repeated exceeding published flight test tolerance will cause failure of a an exercise; a flight test exercise will also be assessed as failed if the candidate does not recognized that a deviation has occurred, or if they double the published tolerance for the exercise.