While this question has frequently been answered and views have been exchanged in an infinite loop, not many in the aircraft manufacturing space grasp the gravity of it. William C. Korner, Chairman and CEO of Flight Research—by no means a naysayer— is opening the industry’s eyes to the rapid improvements and the technology imposed to the basic aerodynamics of an airframe. A highly decorated military aviator and retired Air Force Lt. Colonel, Korner draws on his extensive experience to lift the lid on some of the challenges aircraft manufacturers go through while conducting a series of exhaustive tests, from the earliest stages of design to initial production of an aircraft, before governing authorities certify it.
“Aircraft manufacturers and certifying agencies have to be careful about allowing technology to override the basic pilot training and experience, and instruct the aircraft how to fly. Before implementation, they must ensure that these technologies are perfected, thoroughly understand how they function and how pilots should be trained to operate them. I am not a big proponent of technological gimmicks that promise to improve the efficiency of the aerodynamics of an aircraft. Instead, I believe that an aircraft should be aerodynamically efficient based on the basic design of the aircraft, the center of gravity and other similar factors,” states Korner as he proposes manufacturers to question the new-age rhetoric when it comes to implementing technology. This is where Flight Research steps in to help aircraft manufacturers deal with the problems that occur in an operational aircraft and work closely with them to accomplish each mission.
Following his passion for aviation and delivering exceptional quality and value to his clients, Korner leads his team at Flight Research to introduce innovative pedagogical methods, training, services and support activities which advance the safety and capability of the aerospace industry. Flight test and advanced flight training are the core of what Flight Research does to enhance the safety and the future of narrow space activities. “From a flight test perspective, it is always a matter of taking the aircraft into the air, disabling the technologies and determining how the aircraft performs aerodynamically just by using basic flight controls,” says Korner. Flight Research’s testing division provides high-performance flight platforms and comprehensive testing and development facilities for manufacturers of aircraft, avionics and weapons systems. The aircraft flight test services involve designing a program that will efficiently and economically meet the manufacturers’ specific flight test needs and goals. The company also specializes in assisting clients with data reduction and analysis. Besides, the company’s support division provides aircraft, personnel, and facilities to assist customers in maintaining the highest levels of mission readiness in their aviation operations worldwide. “Our focus differs from many aerospace companies as we segment our education and training in flight test as opposed to basic flight operations,” extols Korner.
As an auxiliary effort in terms of traditional flight training, Flight Research provides professional pilots with upset recognition and recovery training in jet, turboprop and general aviation aircraft.
Our team of highly-experienced pilots, who have spent a considerable number of hours in the air, takes the learners from a classroom to an actual flight for teaching them the recovery techniques
“For long, one of the leading causes of aircraft accidents is loss of control. The main reason behind this is the lack of proper training,” reveals Korner. While a majority of such aircraft accidents and fatalities are a result of pilot recognition failure and/or improper recovery procedures, Flight Research enlightens pilots through an extensive week-long program that includes various academic courses. Pilots are inculcated with the understanding of lifesaving recovery techniques and are allowed to evaluate the techniques in-flight and at altitude, as opposed to using affordable yet ineffective simulators. “Our team of highly-experienced pilots, who have spent a considerable number of hours in the air, takes the learners from a classroom to an actual flight for teaching them the recovery techniques. We simulate aircraft accidents in flight and allow them to experience the recovery,” he adds.
From the technical support perspective, Flight Research empowers clients with modern classroom facilities, a complete staff of engineers, maintenance and implementation technicians, and turnkey services. The uniqueness of Flight Research stems from the quality of services and experienced personnel it brings to the table. The company focuses on customizing the services depending on what the client wants—it’s a 24/7 operation. The company’s expert team caters to its wide client base spanning across government agencies, certifying agencies, aerospace contractors and more. The prowess of Flight Research was on full display when an aviation client approached the company for testing a piece of equipment through a flight dynamic to travel without significant deviations. Team Flight Research developed a mechanism that was completely manufactured in house to accommodate the client’s requirements and precision. The team also launched a service that enabled the client to test the mechanism successfully. Post-deployment of its service, Flight Research continues to provide support to the client, ensuring that the mechanism is working properly.
Having maintained a stellar track record since its inception in 1981, Flight Research has no plans of slowing down. Recent studies reveal that the number of aircraft that are flying in the skies is going to double in the next 20 years. This would require hundreds of thousands of new pilots, engineers, and maintenance professionals. That said, Flight Research is geared to contribute to the future generations of aerospace vehicles and pilot training. While keeping pace with the evolution of aerospace, the company aims to work with a few organizations for developing satellites to travel into suborbital space world.