Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches
Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren
The Department of Aerospace Engineering of the FH Aachen – University of Applied Sciences and Sinn Spezialuhren have jointly developed a technical standard for pilot's watches (Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren, or in short, TeStaF). Comparable to the standard for diver's watches (DIN 8306 / ISO 6425) it gives the assurance that a pilot's watch meets all current requirements for time measuring instruments when piloting an aircraft.
„Pilot's watches“ were the principal timekeepers during the rapid development of flight in the 20th century. Today they are still the primary time measuring instrument in some prototypes, and in aerobatic and historical airplanes, and they continue to serve as back-up systems in other aircraft.
But what does constitute a professional "pilot's watch"? How is it put to use by a pilot in flight? Which features are indispensable? So far, there has never been an accepted definition for pilot's watches comparable to that for diver's watches (DIN 8306 / ISO 6425).
As early as 2008 Sinn Spezialuhren took the initiative to tackle this research project and fill the gap. In order to bring the TeStaF to life, it was crucial to bring together the expert knowledge and the experts of a number of disciplines. In a joint project, the Department of Aerospace Engineering of the FH Aachen – University of Applied Sciences and Sinn Spezialuhren with the help of many external experts developed the "Technischer Standard Fliegeruhren" (TeStaF), the technical standard for pilot's watches. The TeStaF will be presented to the public at the facilities of Eurocopter Deutschland, the leading manufacturer of helicopters and an important contributor to the project, on 19 July 2012.
The goal was the creation of an unambiguous, technical-functional catalog detailing which requirements pilot's wristwatches with analog time display must meet today in civil aviation under Visual and Instrument Flight Rules.
• A detailed survey of pilots of many different aircraft categories provided information on their functional and practical timing requirements in flight.
• A comprehensive series of experiments and measurements was conducted in the laboratories of the Department of Aerospace Engineering of the FH Aachen – University of Applied Sciences as well as on several airplanes and helicopters concerning the physical challenges of flight operations.
• Current and historical horological and aviation-related standards were surveyed and reviewed with a view to their applicability for the TeStaF.
• Finally the results gathered were subjected to a detailed field-test spanning several weeks in the course of the prototype testing of a Eurocopter helicopter – and confirmed.
A wristwatch which meets the "Technical Standard for Pilot's Watches" offers the assurance that it fulfills the relevant functional and physical requirements for time measurement devices in aircraft.
An overview of the key TeStaF requirements (abbreviated):
Required functions for Visual and for Instrument Flight Rules
Readability in daylight and at night
Accuracy and power reserve
2 Resistance to External Stress
Absolute and cyclically changing ambient pressure
Operative temperature range and rapid temperature change
Shock and impact resistance, G-forces and vibrations
Resistance to water pressure and common aviation fluids
Effects of magnetic fields on the watch
3 Safety and Compatibility
Magnetic signature effects of the watch on the avionic suite
Prevention of reflections and glare
Secure strap fastening
Tests and Certification Process:
The FH Aachen – University of Applied Sciences has developed a rigorous test regime for the TeStaF. As part of the technology transfer program by the Aachen Institute of Applied Sciences e.V. (AcIAS) it is offered to all watch manufacturers.
If tested successfully, the fulfillment of the TeStaF requirements by pilot's watches is recorded in a certificate analogous to the certification of the U-series watches by the Germanischer Lloyd. Only certified watches may carry the word "TeStaF" and/or the TeStaF logo on the case and/or the dial.
The Way Ahead for the TeStaF:
From the very beginning the project partners aimed at creating a universal standard available to all watch manufacturers. Accordingly, the TeStaF is freely available as a scientific publication in both German and English
Continuing development of the TeStaF in order to reflect progressing aviation requirements is planned. For this purpose a scientific advisory committee of experts has been established. Suggestions for the further development of the TeStaF by users or by the industry are most welcome.
Additional information are available at FH Aachen: TeStaf-Projekt
[the website is in German, but the TeStaF standard can be downloaded in an English version there]