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Summary of the 27th SFTE EC Annual symposium

Nuremberg, Germany (2016-05-10/12)
Written by Jesús Javier Fernández Orío

The SFTE European Chapter hosted its 27th symposium from 10-12 May 2016 in Nuremberg, Germany. The location was shared with ETC – the European Telemetry and Test Conference in cooperation with the SENSOR+TEST exhibition.

Headline of the symposium was “Flight Test – keeping the balance between performance and safety”. More than 25 presentations were proposed for the two day schedule so that some needed to be rejected in the end. In addition to the 19 presentations and a gripping key note speech, the third day of the symposium offered a technical tour to Airbus Helicopter Site at Donauwörth.

Around 50 participants from Europe, Northern and Southern America and Asia registered for the SFTE symposium, an additional 150 who visited the ETC conference had the opportunity to join the presentations. A broad variety of topics, a huge number of participants with very different background and the wide area of the exhibition halls made it challenging for the organizers to keep the schedule running as planned. But everything went well thanks to the outstanding preparatory work of the exhibition service provider AMA, the support by Airbus Helicopters and colleagues from Airbus Defence and Space.

On Monday night the European chapter’s board of director’s meeting took place where the last bits and pieces were put together before Tuesday started with the late registration for last minute arrivers. All attendees came together in exhibition hall 2 for a traditional Bavarian breakfast with Weißwurst, Brez’n and mild mustard. Afterwards, Thomas Grohs, Head of Flight Test at the Airbus Defence and Space Manching Flight Test Center, acted as keynote speaker for the joint ETC and SFTE meeting. He put special emphasis on flight safety in the light of a number of fatal flight test accidents in the weeks and months before and remembered all of their personal responsibility for safe flight testing. The next two presentations impressed the entire audience as well, before the symposium rooms were split for three sessions of SFTE presentations and several ETC workshops and presentations.

The day was closed with the yearly SFTE EC business meeting with a short wrap up of the activities within the chapter. One important topic was the presentation of proposed new logos for the European Chapter and the selection of the logo contest winner. Finally, the proposal by Sebastian Burwitz, Flight Test Center of DLR at Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, was selected. A small award ceremony was held in July, when the logo had been finalized. In addition to the general report of the board of directors, the exchange of the chapter’s treasurer was announced. Reiner Exner left the board of directors after long years as board member and made room for his successor Sebastian Rommel. In this role Sebastian takes responsibility for managing the monetary property of the SFTE European Chapter and all financial transactions on behalf of the European board of directors. He prepares annual financial reports that are to be presented to the International SFTE headquarter and at the annual symposium of the SFTE European Chapter.

Wednesday, 11 May, was filled with a total of four technical sessions with the opportunity to visit the sensor and test exhibition during the breaks. The day was closed by the announcement of the best presentation award winners: Michael Schulz and Antoine van Gent, both involved in Flight Test at Airbus Helicopters at Donauwörth, with their presentation about “Flight Test of the BLUECOPTER Demonstrator: Innovative and Eco-Efficient Helicopter Design”.

In the evening both symposia were invited to the symposium dinner, arranged in an ancient location right in the middle of Nuremberg city center with great traditional Bavarian food and an incredibly entertaining (big) band. Thanks to Renaud Urli for the musical revaluation, partly with personal commitment.

On Thursday, 12 May, coincidentally the best presentation award winners also had the chance to guide the technical tour through Airbus Helicopter site at Donauwörth, Germany, a 1.5hours drive from Nuremberg. After a presentation of some impressions from Airbus Helicopter’s work all over the world with special emphasis on flight test work in Donauwörth, a great tour around the production lines, MRO facilities and the flight test center was given to the attendees.