Validation of the IFP, simply explained
Instrument Flight Procedures (IFP) are used by thousands of aircraft worldwide to depart from one place and land at another. Their safety and efficiency is vital. To ensure that IFPs are of high quality, the development of these procedures follows a quality management system.
The goal of validation of IFPs is to ensure that the IFPs meet the proper standard for publication and are safe, reliable, and can be flown easily. The validation process applies to both fixed-wing and helicopter IFPs. The validation can be broken down into several steps. For every step the reviewer should document the findings and provide a report to the original designer, who should then address the issues found. The final report should include a record of the addressed findings.
Independent review of the IFP design:
The design of the IFPs should be reviewed by a flight procedure designer not being the one who created the procedure. The purpose of the review is to:
- Confirm that the design criteria were applied correctly
- Ensure the accuracy and integrity of the data
- Verify that any deviations from the design criteria have been addressed properly
- Make sure that a draft chart has been provided and is accurate
Flight Operational Review:
The purpose of the Flight Operational Review is to identify how a flight procedure will affect flight operations and to identify any potential issues. For best results, it is highly recommended that a Flight Validation Pilot approved by the state performs this step. During the Flight Operational Review, also flight validation requirements are determined and which activities will be performed in a simulator, an aircraft, or in both. A validation plan is drafted accordingly.
During this step the following activities will be performed:
- Provide an initial evaluation of the database coding
- Review any special operational and training requirements
- Coordinate and address any operational issues
The goal of this step is to ensure that the Flight Validation process is well prepared, planned and organized.
Simulator and/or Aircraft Validation:
The goal is to ensure that the IFP (Instrument Flight Procedure) is being used as intended, as described in the IFP Report, and to assess flyability and human factors. Also other operational factors such as charting, necessary infrastructure, visibility requirements, and the type of aircraft intended to use the procedure need to be taken into account.
Elements as planned during the flight operational review will be assessed in full flight simulators and/or aircraft. The assessment can consist of standard environment conditions, particular wind or weather scenarios, specific aircraft settings (speed, flaps or weight) with simulator validation and also if required the assessment of obstacles or terrain with aircraft validation.
Production of the Validation Documentation:
In the final step all aspects of the previous steps are reviewed. This determines if the results are satisfactory. The outcome will be documented in the IFP validation report.