Flight Test Safety Fact 20-11

How often have you heard the term "Lessons Learned"? If you attended this year's SETP virtual symposium, you heard it a lot.  If you have been in this business for more than a few years, you have heard it a lot.

But how often do we really learn those lessons, and how do we pass on those lessons to the next generation? And how do we prevent the lessons from being lost?

That's a lot of questions, but one thing is for sure--we cover the topic in great depth in this month's edition of the Flight Test Safety Fact.  It includes a paper from SETP and one speaker's related article from a previous edition of Cockpit.  It also includes Turbo Talk, the Chairman's reflections on lessons he has learned about incorporating lessons learned. 

The conversations the Board of Directors has already had around this topic give me hope that you will have many similar, productive conversations.  As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Mark Jones Jr.

For added convenience and security, you can download the newsletter here.

Flight Test Safety Fact 20-09


It seems like just yesterday I opened my email and found that Dave Houle had emailed a personal story about the C-17 first flight.  He watched it from a hill overlooking the field where he worked.  Dave was a distinguished member of SFTE and a founding member of the FTSC.  This past week when the world celebrated the first flight of the DC-10, I thought about Dave's stories again.  We corresponded a lot, but I never met him in person.  Unfortunately Dave passed away earlier this year, but his legacy for mentoring flight test professionals lives on.  Read this month's feature column to hear about the thousands of pages of flight test safety material he archived during his lifetime and the amazing effort of emeritus board member, Pete Donath, to organize and publish it in a useful format.

The careful reader will notice herein a subtle reference to the greatest flight test squadron of all time.  If you disagree, I'd love to hear from you.  Even if you don't, we'd love to hear from you, and you can even contribute to the Houle Collection or suggest ideas for a future edition or podcast.

Mark Jones Jr.

PS For added security and convenience you can download the pdf here

Dave Houle Flight Test Accident Archive

Dave Houle collected historical documentation from many notable aircraft mishaps.  The documentation in this archive ranges from 1929-2011.  Some are anecdotal articles, and others are full accident investigation reports.  We have scanned these into searchable pdf files, available for download.  There is also a rudimentary index of the contents of each file with a brief description of each article.

  1. Review the index to find the incident of interest.
  2. Locate the FT Accident file number (1-8) and page number next in the row of the selected incident to identify which volume contains the summary.
  3. Select the hyperlink of the specified volume, and go to the page number of interest for further details.

In the spirit of sharing lessons learned, if you have similar documentation that you feel will help other test crews, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Summary of Accidents Flight Test Accident Index
Flight Test Accidents Part 1 Flight Test Accidents Part 2
Flight Test Accidents Part 3 Flight Test Accidents Part 4
Flight Test Accidents Part 5 Flight Test Accidents Part 6
Flight Test Accidents Part 7 Flight Test Accidents Part 8

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The following paper was noted in the March 2024 Podcast EP 52 – It's First Flight, What Could Go Wrong?
First Flight Anomalies

The following paper was noted in the November 2023 Podcast EP 48 – Battle of the X Pilots (Part 2)
X Country In An X Airplane

The following paper was noted in the January 2024 Podcast EP 50

Flight Test Safety Fact 20-08

Welcome back.  I needed the break and thank you all for your patience as FTSF took a month off in July.  The pace of life is starting to pick back up and accelerate as we head down hill on the back half of 2020.  

This month's feature weaves together three separate threads that include SETP's Dan "Animal" Javorsek, NASA's Advanced Air Mobility expert Starr Ginn, and a string of airplane crashes in the USAF.  You'll have to scrape off more than the topsoil to find the theme at the root of this column.  If you are the curious type or you are on that last summer vacation, it includes links to other stories and references you can really dig into for more information.  

Also reported this month...The Flight Test Safety Committee Board of Directors has big news--it says goodbye to one member and welcome to another.  

After reading this month's issue, we hope you remember to check out everything the flighttestsafety.org website has to offer, including news about the Flight Test Safety Database--it will be down for extended maintenance.

This month I am asking for specific feedback about the frequency of this newsletter.  Is once a month the right pace, or should we go to every other month? Send feedback about this question or anything that you uncover.

Mark Jones Jr.


PS For added security and convenience you can always download the pdf here.

Flight Test Safety Fact 20-06

What are the chances that important things are happening so fast in our industry, and in so many places around the world, that you missed one of them?

One example is the VTOL Proposed Means of Compliance, a document EASA just published, which takes center stage in this edition.  I propose that reading the document, together with the probabilistic commentary in the article, is a great way to invest in your own professional development and the future of our profession.  One editor suggested that I was not direct enough in the article, but I’ll let you decide.  It also draws together threads from recent news stories that relate closely to the topics herein.

If you missed the virtual Flight Test Safety Workshop, you can now watch most of it online: http://flighttestsafety.org/2020-virtual-workshop.  There is also a trip report from Pete Donath in this month’s edition.  Special thanks to Pat Bearce who also responded to my request for feedback from the Workshop.

Finally, Chairman Tom Huff reflects on recent test safety efforts and major milestones, and he introduces a special guest for the Flight Test Safety podcast.  If you have a mobile phone, it couldn’t be easier to listen anytime and almost anywhere, and while you are there subscribe. 

Tell your friends and colleagues about the podcast, and help us Reach Everyone.  Send suggestions and feedback. We have the means to design a safer future for a novel mode of air transportation, and it starts with rigorous discussion about these ideas.

Mark Jones Jr.


PS For added convenience and security, you can download the pdf here.

Flight Test Safety Fact 20-05

Have you subscribed to the podcast yet? Most of us can walk a mile in 15 minutes.  If you are cooped up at home doing telework, you probably need to anyway, so why not listen to the podcast while you do.  Please subscribe to the new Flight Test Safety Podcast on the Apple or Google podcast app.  You can also navigate directly to the recording in a web browser.  Last, but not least, tell a friend.  Help us Reach Everyone.

Inside this month's issue, the Flight Test Safety Committee cordially invites you to attend the free vFTSW (virtual Flight Test Safety Workshop) and shares the lineup of speakers and topics.  It includes a link to the registration for the workshop. 

Tom Huff also shares resources at the intersection of the novel coronavirus and aviation, explaining where you can find them on our website.  Then he pulls tight on the "bowline of SMS," an analogy from his days as the skipper, but a poignant one reminding us to keep the ball moving downfield in our SMS efforts.

Before you know it, AI will be part of our safety critical systems, and that's what we share in the last column.  There you'll find a brief introduction to a speaker from a recent Symposium:  Megan Burk discussed the necessity to formally and rigorously prepare test and evaluation professionals for aerospace autonomous systems.  She has agreed to allow us to share the video of her talk, and you will find a link to the audio and video herein.

As always, share this newsletter (virtually, so you can maintain the appropriate physical distance) and send questions, comments, or ideas.

Mark Jones Jr.

PS For added security and convenience, you can download the pdf and access the video or audio here.

Flight Test Safety Fact 20-04

I truly hope this newsletter finds you well.  Everyone feels the effects of the crisis that has gripped the world, and as you probably know, the FTSC has postponed the Workshop in Denver until 2021.  You can find out more details inside, in the Chairman's Corner, and it includes his request for your input:  Do you want a remote Workshop? Are you listening to the podcast? What topics do you want to read or hear more about?

Since it's likely you have some extra time on your hands, I've included a more lengthy discussion on a topic that is woven into the fabric of almost everything in this modern age: Big Data.  We collect more data. Our computers can process more data. There is more data.  So what?  That's the question we try to answer inside. 

As always, you can contact me directly by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mark Jones Jr.


For added convenience and security, please download the pdf here.

New Airshow/Display Flight Guidance Document Added Under the Recommended Practices Tab

The Flight Test Safety Committee has added a new Airshow/Display Flight Guidance to our Recommended Practices tab.

Check it out here: http://flighttestsafety.org/recommended-practices 


Flight Test Safety Fact 20-03

Have you subscribed to the Flight Test Safety Podcast? You can find instructions inside this month's newsletter.  We'd like your feedback on the podcast as well as suggestions for future episodes.

Also this month, Ben Luther and Jeff Canclini share a conversation they've been having, back and forth, for almost a full year about complexity and chaos, risk and flight test safety.  The authors introduce another paper about these topics you should read: The author, Bob Barham, allowed us to share that paper with you, and you can find it as an attachment inside this month's newsletter, as pictured here.

Finally, remember that there's less than a month until nominations for the Levier Award are due, and you can find out how to inside this issue.

Please share this with someone who may not receive it, and send any feedback to us. (Don't confuse those two.)


Mark Jones Jr.

PS For added convenience and security, you can download the newsletter here.

Flight Test Safety Committee Podcast Channel - Third Episode Out!


New Episode!

Flight Test Safety Fact highlights, upcoming event reminders and an interview with the President and CEO of the National Safety Council Lorraine Martin (Full Bio) for the monthly Specialty topic.

Learn more about the National Safety Council:  http://www.nsc.org

Click the links below to listen to the Third Episode of the Flight Test Safety Channel!

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Flight Test Safety Fact 20-02

Have you submitted your presentation proposal for the Flight Test Safety Workshop? The deadline is closer than you think--you can read the call for papers inside this edition of the Flight Test Safety Fact.  You will also find details about the workshop in the Chairman's column, and the Committee requests your nominations for the Tony LeVier Flight Test Safety Award.

Flight Test Safety Committee Board member John Hed writes this month's feature column, and in a separate piece, he also explains how to join the FTSC LinkedIn group. 

I'd also like to welcome members of the AIAA Flight Test Committee--many of whom have just been added to our email distribution.  Thanks Starr Ginn for making that happen!

Many people are writing, giving feedback, and submitting articles. Thank you, and keep them coming.  I hope to see you in Niceville on the 21st for the combined AIAA/SFTE/SETP Southeast Symposium

Mark Jones Jr.

PS For added convenience and security, you can access and download the newsletter here.  

Flight Test Safety Committee Podcast Channel - Second Episode Out!

The Flight Test Safety Committee has begun producing a monthly podcast to share valuable, relevant, and helpful information across our audience of SETP, SFTE and AIAA members and anyone who is interested in safety. Each podcasts will contain information from the latest issue of our digital publication, the Flight Test Safety Fact, and include a special topic of the month. These Specialty topics will include presentations from recent Symposia, interviews, panel discussions and much more.

Click the links below to listen to the Second Episode of the Flight Test Safety Channel!

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Flight Test Safety Fact 20-01

Welcome back! The new year brings a new format and a new podcast, both of which you can see inside this issue.

Turning the page on the calendar gives us another important opportunity: the chance to reflect.  Stop and think about how long you've been in this profession.  Then think about the new test pilots, FTEs, and project managers that are entering the profession with bright eyes and lots of energy.  When you see them, congratulate them.  Think about your first day on the job. 

This profession is a journey with lots of starts and stops, with many stages.  Take a minute to read the reflections herein and think about how to apply them in your life, whether you are welcoming someone new to the team or you are new to team. 

Mark Jones Jr.

PS For added convenience and security, you can access and download the newsletter here.