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The SFTE Technical Council

Updated December 2017

The Technical Council (TC) charter is to promote FTE professionalism and improve technical communications across FTE fields. We pursue these unending goals via various services for members, corporate sponsors, and the overall flight test community. As a volunteer organization, our greatest is providing services that capitalize on the SFTE’s extensive reach and our “honest broker” position. The TC strives to meet its objectives by providing services stemming from two broad areas

Technical Standards Information Networking
  • Standards Committee
  • Reference Handbook
  • Symposium Presentation Judging
  • Technical Expert Database
  • Webinars
  • Community Forum
  • Digital Notebook

The following further describes each service.

Standards Committee

The TC stands ready to form ad hoc Standards Committees to address any concerns about flight test technical standards such as sign conventions, measurement units, parameter names, nomenclature, and abbreviations. Confusion and waste often occur simply because no “authority” took the initiative to gather & weigh inputs then institute standards. The committees do not address universally accepted standards, but rather those needing attention in our profession. While SFTE has no real authority to force adoption of its standards, establishing them does allow global participants to reference our benchmark. All existing SFTE standards are published in the SFTE Reference Handbook. Anyone can submit standards ideas or opinions for consideration.

SFTE Reference Handbook

The SFTE Reference Handbook is a quick reference for those recurring tidbits of information any FTE might need in the course of a program. Whether looking for the standard atmosphere, math laws, pitot-static equations, or data normalizing methods, professionals can find a variety of accepted knowledge here. The TC always welcomes handbook contributions or critiques. Handbook highlights

  • Now up its 3rd edition with 2017 addendums.
  • Posted on-line within the Member’s Only section of our website.
  • All paying members are entitled to one hardcopy upon request.
  • SFTE Executive Director, sfte@sfte.org handles distribution requests.
  • To motivate others to be members, SFTE urges members not to share electronic copies of the handbook with non-members.

Symposium Presentation Judging

The TC sets a technical standards bar by judging presentations at annual SFTE symposiums. Our criteria change with the times and are explained to each presenter upon paper acceptance. We guide all presenters to emphasize significance, innovation, credibility, and audience consideration. The TC regularly requests your help judging one or more sessions. (not the papers themselves).

Technical Expert Database

Our Technical Expert Database is actually a simple list to facilitate networking. It’s a collection of contact information for specialists in flight test-related fields (e.g. flutter, flying qualities, radar, data link, instrumentation, all-weather testing). The intent is to connect members with experts who can assist with quick answers, finding resources, or by just pointing them in the right direction. These professionals also have opportunities to review potential SFTE publications & standards. You can ask anything, but must accept that experts cannot share proprietary or security-sensitive information. Often this exchange can lead to new business opportunities. The Expert Database is assessable via the “member” tab on our website. This is a living list and the TC continually seeks more experts. Anyone can contact the TC Chair to nominate a technical expert (SFTE membership not required).


Previously conducted as on-site mini workshops, the TC transitioned to virtual workshops in recent years. Also called webinars, these are short, highly focused, and informal forums on specific topics. Be it related changes in technology, safety, best practices, etc., the TC pursues topics not already being addressed in other venues.
Example ideas include

  • New human factors rules from FAA
  • Highly integrated aircraft failure mode testing
  • Understanding filter impacts on digital sampling of analog data (down sampling, over sampling asynchronous data).
  • Best practices for (overwhelming) data management
  • Resumes networking job ops
  • Intro to FTE-ing for college students
  • UAVs & CFRs
  • Commercial Space & CFRs
  • SFTE Boot camp: tour the Reference Handbook, digital Notebook, etc.

The TC always invites members to suggest webinar topics or help lead one.

Community Forum

The “Forum” tab at the top of our home page links straight to our community forum where anyone – members or not- can start a discussion, or post questions, answers, or just share. It’s divided into 10 areas such as FTE qualification, instrumentation, fixed wing, rotary wing, TC reporting, and of course general discussions. Like many forums, this is a place where people get their first exposure to our profession. Check it out and start a thread.

Digital Notebook

Set up similarly to our forum, this members-only link more about documents than discussions. Access the DN through the “members” tab at the top of our home page. This is THE PLACE for all material outside the scope of our symposium papers and Reference Handbook. Contents can include other published papers; white papers, informal memos, biographies, detailed textbooks, or links to other sites. Our Notebook framework is flexible and encompasses over 20 different areas with numerous subtopics. Much of this is an empty framework waiting to be filled, so be the giant whose shoulders other can stand on and contribute!

Contact Us

The SFTE Technical Council meets in-person at the annual symposium and meets via teleconference at noon Eastern time on the third Wednesday of every month. Everyone is welcome to dial in or otherwise contribute, feedback or request. Contact your chapter’s TC rep or Chairman Al Lawless at SFTE@alawless.com.