The Great eVTOL Wanna Be Washout Has Begun
Facilitated by an inoculation from Dr. FAA
The FAA has altered course regarding the procedures eVTOL makers will use to certify their aircraft. The word on the street is the Joby crash, which follows the 737 MAX MCAS debacle, put a little fear of a higher power in them. This is good news. The FAA (and NASA actually) have been drinking the Silicon Valley Agile IT Holiday Inn Express bathwater for far too long. Trying to be part of the echo chamber, buying the hype and averting their eyes to clear warning signs. Versus supporting proper engineering and test due diligence.
The fact is the vast majority of eVTOL makers (as well as the autonomous and UAM/UTM folks) have little domain, systems engineering or proper tool and simulation/simulator experience. They have bought into the Valley ignorance and arrogance wave. The one where real experience isn’t necessary because they are smart folks who will use Agile to move fast and break things so they can surpass the old folks who never really innovated anything before them anyway. If these folks aren’t stopped, they will doom the industry. Before anyone chimes in with this is how innovation works, I am all for new things, new approaches and even “moving fast and breaking things”. However, that should be from a foundation of competence, and engineering and safety due diligence. That does not include live test flights before you use proper tools and simulation to do the due diligence. And it is not using X-Plane as anything close to an ultimate solution. Quite often the excuse I hear for using X-Plane and not proper FAA Level C or above simulators or j2 Aircraft Dynamic’s development and test system, is their cost. If you can’t get the funding to use the right tools at the right time and in the right way, you should not be in business. (And yes, X-Plane has a place in early stages.) Hopefully, the FAA decision will drive all the dangerous wanna be folks out of business, educate the rest of the industry, especially the investors, and start moving the money to viable companies and designs.
(Next, we need to apply the same approach to ground and air autonomy.)
One note to the FAA. Since you are already strongly supporting G35’s efforts to create simulation standards to support the use of simulation to certify or assist in aircraft certification, I suggest you make an industry wide announcement to help move the proper engineering and safety due diligence of aircraft development and testing along even further. I suggest you declare what tool and simulation capabilities are appropriate for various levels or stages of development and testing. Not unlike the Part 60 does to determine what level of simulator fidelity is required for various levels of pilot training.
More detail in my article here
The Autonomous Vehicle Industry can be Saved by doing the Opposite of what is being done now
X-Plane cannot be used for critical aircraft development, pilot training or certification
My name is Michael DeKort — I am Navy veteran (ASW-C4ISR) and a former system engineer, engineering, and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in aircraft/constructive DoD/aerospace/FAA simulation, the software engineering manager for all of NORAD, a software project manager on an Aegis Weapon System baseline, and a C4ISR systems engineer for DoD/DHS and the US State Department (counterterrorism). And a Senior Advisory Technical Project Manager for FTI to the Army AI Task Force at CMU NREC (National Robotics Engineering Center)
Autonomous Industry Participation — Air and Ground
- Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force
- Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force
- Member UNECE WP.29 SG2 Virtual Testing
- Stakeholder USDOT VOICES (Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety)
- Member SAE G-35, Modeling, Simulation, Training for Emerging AV Tech
- Member SAE G-34 / EUROCAE WG-114 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation
- Member Teleoperation Consortium
- Member CIVATAglobal — Civic Air Transport Association
- Stakeholder for UL4600 — Creating AV Safety Guidelines
- Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee
SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering magazine editor calling me “prescient” regarding my position on Tesla and the overall driverless vehicle industry’s untenable development and testing approach — (Page 2) https://assets.techbriefs.com/EML/2021/digital_editions/ave/AVE-202109.pdf
Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts