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3.6 Partnership in the "Leonardo da Vinci" Flight Test Engineer Qualification Programme


Within the Leonardo da Vinci Programme launched by the European Commission in 1995, a Flight Test Engineering Qualification Programme (FTEQP) was developed to a first level, namely the Foundation Course.

The first course was held successfully in May 1998. However, due to insufficient registrants the course scheduled for May 1999 had to be cancelled.

The role of SFTE European Chapter was considered essential in the development of such training and therefore we asked for the support of our Corporate Members. As expected, we did not get a full set of answers but the response we received was positive.

After the Leonardo da Vinci contract finished in January 1999, the process of developing FTEQP to its full content with the training providers EPNER, ETPS and the Universities from Cranfield, Delft and Linköping, was continued. However concern was raised by the providers regarding the existing market potential.

They initiated a survey and came to the conclusion that there is insufficient demand from the user side and therefore informed us that they will discontinue the development and not offer a course of study leading to a flight test engineer qualification.

The main arguments where:

1. Most organisations did not want a practically based programme of training and were content with short, classroom based courses of one to two weeks already provided by the commercial schools and some Universities. They claimed that the practical element could be provided inhouse.

2. The programme of training on offer was deemed to be too long and too expensive and the modular format was not favoured.

3. The firm number of students to be expected each year would be three with a further eleven possible. The eleven possible students were considered to be very weak prospects and could not be expected to provide more than one or two registrations each year.

A further attempt was initiated with one of the training providers but after discussion within the SFTE European Chapter Board it was decided to suspend the FTEQP initiative as far as SFTE EC was concerned.

It was recommended that each organisation should pursue its own requirements for training and qualifications.

The European Chapter will continue to provide support to the training providers and those who have training requirements, to ensure that the flight-test community benefits.