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Encyclopedia > Test Pilot

Test pilots are aviators who fly new and modified aircraft in specific maneuvers, allowing the results to be measured and the design to be evaluated. An aviator is a person who flies aircraft for pleasure or as a profession. ... An Airbus A380, currently the worlds largest airliner An aircraft is any vehicle or craft capable of atmospheric flight. ...

Francis Evans (USMC), explored the best way to recover from spins, 1917
Francis Evans (USMC), explored the best way to recover from spins, 1917

Test pilots may work for military organizations or private, (mostly aerospace) companies. Testing military aircraft, in particular, is regarded as the most challenging and risky flying conducted in peacetime, and is therefore the pinnacle of military aviation. Risks for test pilots have decreased substantially since the 1960s. In the 1950s, test pilots were being killed at the rate of about one a week, but the risks have shrunk to a fraction of that, thanks to the maturation of aircraft technology, better ground-testing and simulation of aircraft performance, and, lately, the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to test experimental aircraft features. Still, piloting experimental aircraft remains more dangerous than most other types of flying. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1055x1476, 249 KB) Source: USN photo Scanned from Page 260 of the following book. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1055x1476, 249 KB) Source: USN photo Scanned from Page 260 of the following book. ... // A military or military force (n. ... Look up aerospace in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A company in the broadest sense is an aggregation of people who stay together for a common purpose. ... The 1950s was the decade spanning from the 1st of January, 1950 to the 31st of December, 1959. ... UAVs in a hangar An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is a pilotless aircraft, controlled either remotely or flown autonomously, used for a number of missions, including reconnaissance and attack roles. ...

Contents

Qualifications

A test pilot must be able to:

  • Understand a test plan;
  • Stick to a test plan, flying a plane in a highly specific way;
  • Carefully document the results of each test;
  • Have an excellent feel for the aircraft, and sense exactly how it is behaving oddly if it is doing so;
  • Solve problems quickly if anything goes wrong with the aircraft during a test;
  • Cope with many different things going wrong at once.

Test pilots must have an excellent knowledge of aeronautical engineering, in order to understand how they are testing and why. Natural piloting ability is not as important as analytical skill, and the ability to follow a flight plan. Thrill-seeking sky-jocks are often not best suited for the job, though this did not stop many of the American pilots during the 1950s, who later became astronauts. Despite their image as fun-loving dare-devils, their flying had to be ruthlessly precise and professional. Aerospace engineering is the branch of engineering concerning aircraft, spacecraft and related topics. ... Analytic may refer to Analytic proposition or analytic philosophy, in philosophy Analytic geometry, analytic function, analytic continuation, analytic set in mathematics. ... The 1950s was the decade spanning from the 1st of January, 1950 to the 31st of December, 1959. ... For other uses, see Astronaut (disambiguation). ...


History

Test flying as a systematic activity started during the First World War, at the Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) in the United Kingdom. During the 1920s, test flying was further developed by the RAE in the UK, and by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in the United States. In the 1950s, NACA was transformed into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA. During these years, as work was done into aircraft stability and handling qualities, test flying evolved towards a more qualitative scientific profession. Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Herbert Henry Asquith Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna Armando Diaz Woodrow Wilson John Pershing Franz... This article needs cleanup. ... The 1920s was a decade sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... NACA official seal The National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was a U.S. federal agency founded on March 3, 1915 to undertake, promote, and institutionalize aeronautical research. ... The 1950s was the decade spanning from the 1st of January, 1950 to the 31st of December, 1959. ... NASA Logo Listen to this article · (info) This audio file was created from the revision dated 2005-09-01, and does not reflect subsequent edits to the article. ...


The world's oldest test pilot school is what is now called the Empire Test Pilots' School, at RAF Boscombe Down in the UK. In America, the United States Air Force Test Pilot School is located at Edwards Air Force Base, the United States Naval Test Pilot School is located at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland and the private National Test Pilot School is located in Mojave, California. Another School is EPNER (Ecole du Personnel Navigant d'Essai et de Reception/School for flight test and acceptance personnel), the French test pilot school, located in Istres, France. The Empire Test Pilots School is a training establishment based at QinetiQ Boscombe Down in Wiltshire, England. ... Categories: Possible copyright violations ... The U.S. Air Force Flight Test School is located on Edwards Air Force Base in California. ... Edwards Air Force Base is a USAF airbase located on the border of Kern County and Los Angeles County, California in the Antelope Valley, 7 miles (11 km) due East of Rosamond, USA at 34°57′ N 117°52′ W. An airbase since 1933, Edwards has long been a home... U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Logo The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, provides instruction to experienced U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force pilots, flight officers, and engineers in the processes and techniques of aircraft and... Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, is a United States Navy Naval Air Station located in St. ... The National Test Pilot School (NTPS) is one of two civilian-operated test pilot schools in the world (the other being the Empire Test Pilots School). ... Mojave is a town located in Kern County, California. ... Istres, sixth-largest town of Bouches-du-Rhône. ...


Notable test pilots

Major General Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, pictured with his history-making X-1, was the first pilot known to have broken the sound barrier.
Major General Charles E. "Chuck" Yeager, pictured with his history-making X-1, was the first pilot known to have broken the sound barrier.

Some notable test pilots include: Chuck Yeager with X-1 (reduced; public domain from [1]) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Chuck Yeager with X-1 (reduced; public domain from [1]) This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Charles Yeager Charles Elwood Chuck Yeager (born on February 13, 1923, in Lincoln County, West Virginia) was a general officer in the United States Air Force and a noted test pilot. ... The Bell X-1, originally XS-1 was the first aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in controlled, level flight. ...

add This article is about the former American astronaut. ... The X-15 in flight, early 1960s The North American X-15 rocket plane was perhaps the most important of the USAF/USN X-series of experimental aircraft, after only possibly the Bell X-1. ... Captain Eric Brown CBE DSC AFC FRAeS After World War Two‚ Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown served as Commanding Officer of Enemy Aircraft Flight – an elite group of pilots whose job it was to test-fly captured German aircraft. ... Some world record attempts are more unusual than others. ... Jet aircraft with condensation trail Jet aircraft are aircraft with jet engines. ... Four aircraft carriers, Principe-de-Asturias, USS Wasp, USS Forrestal and HMS Invincible (front-to-back), showing the difference in size between a supercarrier, light V/STOL carriers, and an amphibious carrier. ... Scott Crossfield Albert Scott Crossfield (October 2, 1921 – April 19, 2006), normally referred to as Scott Crossfield, was an American naval officer, aviator and test pilot. ... An F/A-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier. ... John Cats Eyes Cunningham (1917-July 2002), was an Officer in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Flying first Blenheims and then the powerful Bristol Beaufighter, by the end of the Blitz in May 1941 he had become the most famous night fighter pilot, successfully claiming 14... A jetliner is an airliner powered by jet engines (usually of the turbofan type). ... The de Havilland Comet of Britain was the worlds first commercial jet airliner. ... Alvin M. Tex Johnston (? - November 14, 1998) was a test pilot for the Boeing Company. ... The Boeing 367-80 or Dash 80, as it was called within Boeing, was a concept demonstrator jet transport built in less than two years from project launch in 1952 to rollout on May 14, 1954 for a cost of $US 16 million dollars. ... Anthony W. Tony LeVier (February 14, 1913 - February 6, 1998) was an air racer and test pilot for the Lockheed Corporation from the 1940s to the 1970s. ... The Lockheed SR-71 was remarkably advanced for its time and remains unsurpassed in many areas of performance. ... SpaceShipOne test pilot Mike Melvill Michael W. Melvill (born November 1941) is one of the test pilots for SpaceShipOne, the experimental spaceplane developed by Scaled Composites. ... Hanna Reitsch in the FW 61 Hanna Reitsch (March 29, 1912 - August 24, 1979) was a famous World War II German test pilot, and a favourite of the upper echelon of the Nazi party. ... The Vergeltungswaffe 1 Fi 103 / FZG-76 (V-1), known as the Flying bomb, Buzz bomb or Doodlebug, was the first modern guided missile used in wartime and the first cruise missile. ... The Vergeltungswaffe 1 Fi 103 / FZG-76 (V-1), known as the Flying bomb, Buzz bomb or Doodlebug, was the first modern guided missile used in wartime and the first cruise missile. ... The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the air force branch of the British Armed Forces. ... A Flight Lieutenants sleeve/shoulder insignia Flight Lieutenant (abbreviated as Flt Lt and pronounced as flight lef-tenant, see Lieutenant) is a junior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many Commonwealth countries. ... Flt Lt Philip E. Gerry Sayer was Chief Test Pilot for Gloster Aircraft as well as a serving RAF officer. ... Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE FRS (1 June 1907–9 August 1996) was a Royal Air Force officer who invented the jet engine. ... The Gloster Aircraft Company was formed at Brockworth ( Gloucester ) in 1915 as the Gloucestershire Aircraft Company. ... The Gloster E.28/39, (also referred to as the Gloster Whittle, Gloster Pioneer, or Gloster G.40) was the first jet engined aircraft to fly in the United Kingdom. ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... Joseph A. Walker - X-15 astronaut (NASA) Joseph Albert Walker (20 February 1921 - 8 June 1966) was an American military test pilot; in 1963, he made two X-15 flights past the 100 kilometer edge of space, the only spaceplane flights past that threshold made until SpaceShipOne in 2004. ... Layers of Atmosphere (NOAA) The Karman Line is an internationally designated altitude commonly used to define outer space. ... A spaceplane is a rocket plane designed to pass the edge of space. ... George Welch with his XP-86 Sabre George Schwartz Welch (May 18, 1918 – October 12, 1954) was a World War II flying ace, a Medal of Honor nominee, and an experimental aircraft pilot after the war. ... North American Aviation, Inc. ... Messerschmitt is a famous German aircraft manufacturer, known primarily for their World War II fighter aircraft, notably the Bf 109 and Me 262. ... (Bf 109 was the official Reichsluftfahrtministerium designation, though some late-war aircraft actually carried the Me 109 designation stamped onto their aircraft type plates. ... The Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow) was the first operational jet powered aircraft. ... Jet aircraft with condensation trail Jet aircraft are aircraft with jet engines. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Charles Yeager Charles Elwood Chuck Yeager (born on February 13, 1923, in Lincoln County, West Virginia) was a general officer in the United States Air Force and a noted test pilot. ... Aircraft of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing and coalition counterparts stationed together at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, in southwest Asia, fly over the desert. ...

See also

The Right Stuff is both a 1979 book by Tom Wolfe, and a 1983 film adapted from the book. ... The U.S. Air Force Flight Test School is located on Edwards Air Force Base in California. ... Edwards Air Force Base is a USAF airbase located on the border of Kern County and Los Angeles County, California in the Antelope Valley, 7 miles (11 km) due East of Rosamond, USA at 34°57′ N 117°52′ W. An airbase since 1933, Edwards has long been a home... U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Logo The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Maryland, provides instruction to experienced U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force pilots, flight officers, and engineers in the processes and techniques of aircraft and... Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, is a United States Navy Naval Air Station located in St. ...

References

  • Test Pilots: Frontiersmen of Flight, Richard P. Hallion, Smithsonian Press.

External links

  • The Society of Experimental Test Pilots
  • Society of Flight Test Engineers
  • Empire Test Pilots School, United Kingdom
  • U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, Edwards AFB, California
  • U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland
  • École du Personnel Navigant d'Essais et de Réception, France's test pilot school (unofficial site, in French)
  • A-10 Test Pilots, famous test pilots of Fairchild A-10 prototypes

  Results from FactBites:
 
Test pilot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (0 words)
Being a test pilot of military aircraft, in particular, is regarded as the most challenging and risky flying conducted in peacetime, and is therefore the pinnacle of military aviation.
Test pilots must have an excellent knowledge of aeronautical engineering, in order to understand how they are testing and why.
During the 1920s, test flying was further developed by the RAE in the UK, and by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) in the United States.
Test Pilot Stuff (0 words)
Western air forces select from their ranks experienced pilots who appear to have a certain tolerance of such things, and send them for a year of specialized training at any of the half-dozen test pilot schools in the US and Europe.
Test pilots may or may not have so-called "golden arms", but they need to have a good grip on what makes planes fly the way they do...as well as the powers of observation, reason, and persuasion to help ensure that the good designs make it into service and the bad ones don't.
The test pilot may have spent many hours in a fairly realistic flight simulator, but certain unknowns always remain until a design is tested in the air.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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