1.4.1 Trials reporting

The deliverable from most trials is a written report which addresses the trials objective and records the test data. Careful planning of the report takes place before the trial is conducted to ensure that the final product is of good quality. This planning will scope the document, produce a skeleton structure, and define responsibilities. One of the most important planning stage actions, particularly for large, multi-discipline reports, is to nominate a single person to be in overall charge of the report. He or she can then ensure that the style and content are consistent across the authoring departments and eliminate duplication, or worse, contradictions. Each report has an introductory section that contains all the information relating to how the trial was conducted. This includes who performed the trial, when it was performed, the state of the aircraft or equipment tested, the instrumentation used, and the tests that were performed. The next section documents the results of the trial, including the conclusion of the test team and any recommendations made. In many test establishments this is written in a set layout known as the seven-part format. The aim of this format is to ensure that a person reading the report understands exactly what was done, what the results were, what the data mean, what implications a deficiency would have in operations, what the conclusion is, what the recommendations are, and whether or not the article under test meets the relevant specification or not. The seven-part format is shown below:

• Establish the test conditions;

• Present the data;

• Analyze and discuss the data;

• Relate to the operational role;

• Conclude;

• Recommend;

• Specification compliance.

Most reports have a summary and a section that groups together the recommenda­tions. In all cases a successful report will make it clear what was done during the trial and will provide a convincing argument to implement the test team’s recommendations.

1.4.2 Learning from the past

Human nature being what it is, there is a tendency to believe that a trial is complete once the report has been delivered and accepted by the customer. However it is important to have a trial’s closure procedure which ensures that all the data gathered is retained. This data may be required to provide baseline information for comparison purposes when the aircraft is modified in the future. Given the long periods that rotorcraft are kept in service the data may have to be retained for a considerable number of years. As well as keeping copies of the customer reports all the other trials documentation such as trials instructions, risk assessments, etc. are retained to serve as templates for the future. A ‘lessons learned’ system is also maintained where information concerning mistakes, problems, solutions and good ideas can be retained even though the trials participants may move on.

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