I have been extremely privileged to meet and be mentored by test pilots and flight test engineers from all over the world, from every background and career path. I’ve summarized the well-traveled of these paths below.
Here are nine ways to get your flight test career off the ground:
1. Military Test Pilot School – like USAFTPS or USNTPS
2. Civilian Test Pilot School – like National TPS (NTPS)
3. Production flight test (described in an Air & Space Magazine story here)
4. FAA Flight Test (both engineers and pilots are needed to support FAA’s certification responsibilities)
5. Maintenance test flights
6. Airline technical/engineering pilot
7. Study at a college with a flight research/flight test laboratory (MS State, Texas A&M, UTSI, etc.)
8. Build and fly your own aircraft
9. Flight test of unmanned aircraft
In the weeks ahead, I will share stories from my friends and colleagues in each of the above categories, so you can see how they found their dream job in the flight test/aerospace industry.
Don’t just imagine your dreams–explore them, because we need you. The aerospace industry needs innovators. The flight test community is looking for the next Neil Armstrong, and that’s what this column is about, helping you take that next small step.
Thanks for reading Launch Your Flight Test Career #1. Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to ask questions about launching your flight test career.