FAA pilots sampled the 737-800 extended envelope in Miami in July 2012, and again in early February as part of an International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes (Icatee) visit to the facility. Icatee, operating under the auspices of the International Civil Aviation Organization, is proposing that “representative” stall models may be adequate for stall training. A representative model does not exactly replicate a certain model of aircraft, but adequately mimics a set of jets with certain characteristics, for example a swept-wing widebody with one engine under each wing or an “envelope protected” aircraft like the Boeing 787 or Airbus A330. The FAA earlier this month issued a “broad agency announcement” in search of companies that may be able develop representative stall models that will properly reflect the performance of at least three different types of aircraft. Technical summary proposals are being accepted through May 31.
Along with the FAA pilots flying the simulator in February, Ralston says there were nine industry pilots, including some who have extensive experience recovering from stalls in the 737. “The response was extremely positive,” says Ralston. “The new model demonstrates the general lack of stability [in the post-stall regime] and requires appropriate response for recovery.”
Ralston says Bihrle created flight test cards and evaluation forms as part of the Miami trials as a precursor to the FAA's study this summer, which will most likely include test pilots as well as airline pilots flying the FAA's 737-800 simulator in Oklahoma City.