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3.5 The Engineers Exchange Program
During Gösta Niss Chairmanship a new initiative was undertaken by the board, aimed at encouraging the exchange amongst young engineers belonging to different flight test centres in Europe. The idea was that of allowing young engineers to find out if the grass is greener somewhere else and if the laws of physics apply even away from home. So far just a few exchanges have taken place involving SAAB, DASA, A&AEE and ALENIA\; the result has been judged very successful by both the relevant people and their companies. The present board is trying to encourage other European test centres to get involved in this initiative. The first exchange was agreed by DASA Germany and Saab Scania AB Sweden in 1991. Later that year Per Hedlund from Saab Military Aircraft spent three weeks at DASA in Manching.

Some of the guys involved in the testing, standing in front of one of the Tornado test aircraft. From left to Right: Franz Enzinger, Per Hedlund, Egbert Eberl, Michael Herr and Gerhard Henselmann

"I got a very good reception", Per said, "and a good general view of the facilities and techniques used at DASA. I participated in briefings, had a good look at the FTI system in the aircraft, followed the tests from the TM-ground station and made many new friends in the profession.
There are a lot of things you can't learn in school, you have to get the knowledge by experience. This kind of exchange is a great way to get just that experience and also to get in touch with colleagues for future co-operation in the field of flight-testing. It is my hope that this was the start of something that will grow and become a part of the education of flight test engineers", Per said, and the Board of the European Chapter could not agree more.
It took a whole year before the suitable time for the return visit. In July 1992 Gerhard Henselmann from DASA spent some time at Nyköping, Sweden, the test site for the SAAB 2000. He even had the chance to be a crew member on some flights. Gerhard by the way is our Treasurer.
During the visit Gerhard got hands-on experience at the flight test instrumentation department as well as flight test operations of the SAAB 2000. In addition, SAAB provided him with a tour to the JAS 39 Gripen test centre at Linköping.

SFTE Exchange Programme at SAAB 2000 Flight Test Center with ship No.1 at Nyköping.
From left to right : Anders Bergstrand, Hans Häggroth, Gerhard Henselmann (SFTE member), Gösta Niss (European Chapter President), and Sture Rodling (SFTE member).


The highlight of the visit, of course, was the opportunity to participate in a test flight of SAAB 2000 ship No. 1 as one of the six flight crewmembers.
Gerhard enjoyed his visit, commenting "I had a very interesting time with SAAB and made new friends in my profession as well as learning some basics about civil aircraft testing. I hope other companies will participate in this exchange programme as part of their training programme for young FTE's".

In 1993 we have had two exchanges, one between ALENIA in Italy and SAAB Military Aircraft, the other between A&AEE, Boscombe Down in England and again SAAB.

The exchange between ALENIA and SAAB was principally in the field of images processing. Both companies are using the same system, Trackeye, which of course makes it easy to share experiences. The discussion of problems has been very open. You do not have to reveal any secrets to get into serious discussions. There are several areas where you can have different opinions and different techniques between companies: camera calibrations, time-synchronisation, test-rigs etc.
Other areas that were covered were recording systems, bus-data traffic, GPS as a tool in flight test, and post processing of data.
Both engineers, Paola Pellandino from ALENIA and Anders Johansson from SAAB, have been enthusiastic about their visits and about all the new friends they got. As seen from the picture Paola also came close to the hardware.

From left to right: Börje Hjorth, Gösta Niss, Paola Pellandino, and Jan Uhlin in front of SAAB JAS 39 Gripen

In particular, Paola's and Anders' attention was mainly concentrated on the measurement of the overall accuracy which Alenia's and SAAB's processes of flight test image analysis provide. To this purpose in Alenia a dedicated rig named ASTRO (Alenia Store-separation Test Rig (Optical) has been used. Other areas that were covered were recording systems, bus-data traffic, GPS as a tool in flight test, and post processing of data.

The engineers involved in the assessment of the Alenia store-separation test rig (ASTRO) at Caselle. From left to right: Tiziano Di Lorenzo, Paola Pellandino, Anders Johansson (SAAB), Eraldo Garigliet Brachet, Francesco Reymond.


The exchange between A&AEE Boscombe Down and SAAB was in quite another area. A&AEE (Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment) belongs to Ministry of Defence and deals with all kinds of tactical and operational testing of new and old aircraft and their systems.

The area where Mikael Carlsson (SAAB) normally works is in aerodynamics testing while Simon Dennis (A&AEE) is the senior performance and handling qualities flight test engineer for the EFA. This means they should have a lot in common despite the different project stages they are working in. The visit to Boscombe Down was described by Mikael as very fruitful and the same is expressed by Simon.
There are differences in the use of telemetry, more used at SAAB and in the analysis side where SAAB naturally has to "wring" all the information out of every flight of their new JAS 39 and A&AEE more deals with the handling of a fully developed aircraft. As in the case of Paola and Anders, Simon and Mikael have been very pleased with their period as exchange engineers and hope that others will get the same opportunity in the future.

SAAB and ALENIA Flight Test Management have clearly noticed that these young FTE's have benefited in their professional role from the exchange. Both the effort and the money spent have been worthwhile. The "return of investment" is encouraging.

Who will be the next? Other Chapters are invited to participate. Why not someone from the USA to Europe and vice versa?
Mikael posing together with Bill Ovel, one of the pilots at A&AEE, after a flight in the Jet Provost.