In 2010, our oldest son Blake was going to turn eleven.  (Eleven years old is a big deal–double digits AND repeating digits–the next major milestone like that is 22, a long way off.)

Beth and I wanted to do something epic, something memorable to mark this milestone in his journey to manhood, so I planned a day hike. We were going to climb the highest mountain in the San Gabriel mountain range that borders the south edge of the Antelope Valley where we lived, Mount Baldy. We ended up climbing Mount Baden-Powell instead. (The reason why is a long story worth telling, but I’ll save it for another time).

There are three important facts about this trip that I want you to know at the outset.

1. We could see where we were going from afar.
The top of the mountain was in view from our house and most of the drive to the trailhead. We had also read descriptions and reviews of the hike and had a street map to get us to the trail. The point is, we had a vision of our destination.

2. Along the way, there were many times we couldn’t see the top of the mountain.
You can see what I mean in this picture. Knowing what our goal was and where we were going kept us motivated. Otherwise, we would not have made it to the top–we needed that encouragement and inspiration. On the other hand, we needed to focus on the back and forth of the winding trail and not the top of the mountain during our trek.

3. There was a trail with mile markers (some of which were missing) to help guide us.
Along the way, Blake was getting very tired–after all, he only had ten year old legs.  He wanted to quit. He wanted to take another water break. He wanted another snack. At one point, I told him we would stop at the next mile marker (and that was the one that was missing–though I didn’t know that).  When you are expecting the next milestone to be a mile up the trail, and it isn’t, the next mile seems very, very long.

The trail cut back and forth across the mountain–it did not go straight up the hill. I imagine the hike would have been much, much more difficult if we had tried to climb the steepest gradient. For that reason, a straight line to the top probably would not have been the fastest way.

At one point, we thought we saw the top, but the trail was leading us a different direction. It turned out to be a “false summit.” It’s a good thing we didn’t try to take a shortcut to this “false summit” like we thought about doing.

So what does all this mean?

I wouldn’t let Blake quit on the hike up to the summit–and he truly wanted to quit.  I believed that he could do it, even though he didn’t believe–even though he didn’t want to do it at this point.

When we got to the summit, there was a transformation of Blake’s countenance.  The fatigue came off his shoulders like his Camelback, and he breathed in enthusiasm with every gusty wind. I am pretty sure that my eyes began to “water” profusely as I watched from the top, and he finished the last hundred yards.  We sat up there for a long time looking out over Los Angeles on one side and the Antelope Valley on the other and maybe even the Pacific Ocean, at the place where the edge of the sky became blurry in the haze of the metropolis below. We saw the lakebeds at Edwards AFB and the neighborhood where we lived.  When we finally started back down the mountain, Blake wouldn’t stop talking. He literally wouldn’t stop talking.  He was so excited.

I learned some things about being a dad. And I learned somethings about being a son, a small, immature, underdeveloped child in the eyes of my Father. I learned some things about my plans. I learned some things about His plans.

A journey like this–whether it’s a hike on a trail, a trip in your car, or a cross-country flight–is a vivid illustration, rich with analogies to life and strategic planning and the scientific method and even applications of statistics and metrics and analytics to all of the aforementioned areas.

I’ve made this trek a thousand times since then in my mind and in my life. Sometimes, we can’t see where we are going. Sometimes I want to take a shortcut to that place I see that I think is the summit, the destination.

Sometimes there isn’t a trail that I can see.

Sometimes the mile markers I was expecting aren’t there, and the next mile seems really long (when in reality it’s two miles).

Understanding all these things helps when I face the unexpected.  Understanding the process or algorithm or steps to chart the course helps when we face the unexpected in engineering or statistics and even leadership and life.

It keeps us going. It guides us along the way. It gives us a vision of our destination.

It helps to have a shared mental picture of the journey and the process, and that’s the picture I am trying to paint.

Don’t quit. The view from the top is amazing, even when you know you have to go back down the mountain, down into the valleys of life.

It really was an epic journey, one I will cherish for a long time.  If you want to see more pictures from our trek, you can see them on facebook.

You’ve just read confessions of a freelance test pilot, a monthly column that illustrates in my personal life and leadership the technical concepts found in ATOMs. Some people may not want the technical content that appears on this website–if you only want to follow these more personal updates, I set up a special subscription for that option here: by Email or RSS.

“What is production flight test?” and “Can I use it as a stepping stone in my flight test career?” are two questions asked recently that I want to address today.

Production Flight Test

Martin B-26 MarauderAs aircraft come off the assembly line, they undergo certain inspections both on the ground and in the air, to determine that the aircraft meets its design specifications and all systems operate correctly. The airborne portion of this checkout is the job of the production flight test team.

As an example, here is the original production flight test manual of the Martin B-26 Marauder, which is pictured here. In this manual, you can see some of the technical detail involved in verifying system operation within allowable tolerances.

There are no special certifications for production flight test, and a demonstrated history of aviation excellence and engineering/mechanical acumen are the only job experience requirements.  So this niche is probably one of the more widely accessible routes to a flight test career.

Stepping Stones

I have friends and colleagues both who followed their work as production test pilots with more specialized jobs in design, development, and experimental flight test. In particular, one was able to satisfy the requirements for membership in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots based on his work history that followed from the earlier stepping stones in production flight test. (I am soliciting his permission to link to his contact information–please check back for an update.)

So production flight test is certainly an excellent way to gain valuable experience and launch your flight test career.

Thanks for reading Launch Your Flight Test Career #3. 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.

Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to ask questions about launching your flight test career.

More articles in this series: Previous | Next

Generating random numbers is not necessarily an easy task, especially with a coded algorithm. This book explains the science (mathematics and computer science) behind it. It is a free download from the author.

You will also find an interesting editorial on publishers of technical textbooks from this author.

Random numbers might be needed in probabilistic modeling applications. Often probability models are easier (analytically) than the corresponding statistics problem, and qualitative assessments about the behavior of a complex are made.

For the engineer looking for some technical background on Fourier analysis, see these free resources from Fields Medal winner Terry Tao.

If you didn’t know yet, math and stats are one of the three legs of the stool, the platform of this website. Enjoy!

In today’s aircraft, engines must do more than provide thrust. These photos show some of the other applications–some obvious, some not so obvious.

Externally Blown Flaps
The C-17A redirects airflow and thrust to make it a component of the force resisting gravity–it’s actually powered lift. It takes several photos to see this.

C-17A right wing looking aft
Overview of wing/engine/flaps on C-17

C-17 Inspection window in cargo comparent looking at aft of right wing engines
Aft view of C-17 wing/engine in flight through inspection window.

C-17A externally blown flaps, forward view looking up and aft, left wing
Flaps extended, front view–shows titanium skin on portion of flap that deflects into jet exhaust.

C-17A externally blown flaps, aft view looking up and forward, right wing
Flaps extended, aft view.

Thrust Vectoring
The F-22 added up/down thrust vectoring for added control in the longitudinal axis.
Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor USAF Photo

The evolution of the exhaust nozzle in the F-35 added directional thrust vectoring as well. (This is a photo of its predecessor, the X-35.)
X-35 USAF photo
Incidentally, study both of these aircraft to see design evolutions in engine inlets and exhausts that contribute to stealth/low observable characteristics.

Airplanes by Design features photographs of aircraft from a test pilot perspective, highlighting aeronautical engineering characteristics and flight test facts. To see all of the these pictures (and many more of this aircraft and it’s unique design characteristics), click here. You will always be able to access any of these pictures by selecting the Flickr icon in the top menu bar.

Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to share your Airplanes by Design stories and photos.

Airbus celebrated a major milestone, as shown in this video: the First Flight of the A350 future engine, the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB .

For more on this news story, go here.

Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.

Airplanes inspire and amaze us, especially as they dance through the skies accomplishing their stunning aerial feats. Nowhere is this more evident than in the unique videos that capture test flights by daring test pilots, pushing the very envelope of knowledge and ability. I think it makes people believe that with enough persistence, dreams do take flight.

I also believe that a video exponentially improves our ability to use picture to communicate 10,000 words, and this is not only one of the fundamental ATOMs but also an elementary and critical element in the strategy to inform and invest. These are just a few of the reasons that this weekly video column exists.

Aircraft engines and propulsion engineering was the theme of the flight test videos, Airplanes by Design, and references this month, which continued with ABCs of Engines.

What is an FTT is a new column that just had it’s first real substantive post and will continue on the last Friday of each month.

Next week, the University of Tennessee Space Institute is the flight test organization featured on the mid-week @FlightTestFact tweets all day Wednesday (the past month showcased USAF TPS, USN TPS, etc.). I was able to give a talk at UTSI last week, and the students are going to be contributing to Airplanes by Design.

Good statistics is like a see saw–that’s what I suggested at the conclusion of last week’s ATOMs post, which discussed bad statistics.

Did you recall that a see saw is an example of a lever? Do you remember the other simple machines and how they can transform a force over distance (work) that you input, either in direction or magnitude? The discussion of transforming will be continued next month.

As always, each week, you’ll continue to find a flight test video on Tuesday, Airplanes by Design on Wednesday, and Flight Test References on Thursday.

The first Sunday is confessions of a freelance test pilot.

And on most Fridays (not the last one), you’ll find You Can Be a Test Pilot.

Monthly ReviewPrevious | Next

Propulsion engineering and flight test truly covers the entire spectrum of flight test techniques. For example, consider these questions:

  1. Performance FTTs - Does the engine perform as expected?
  2. Flying qualities FTTs – Does a spin or stall or other high angle of attack disrupt airflow into engine inlets enough to cause engine flameout or compressor stall?
  3. Systems FTTs – Are the controls and displays associated with the engine adequate considering the mission of the aircraft? Does the Digital Engine Control interface appropriately with other aircraft systems?

Today, however, I would like to briefly describe throttle bodies, a flight test technique used, almost exclusively in propulsion engineering applications of flight test. (Bodies is pronounced with a long o, as you would expect to pronounce “bode–ee”.)

Initial setup: trim the aircraft hands off at a given airspeed and altitude and initial power setting.

This allows engine to stabilize. (Often the control room will look at telemetry from the engine to verify desired parameters are in range and stable.)

Maneuver technique: When command of execution is given, test pilot performs a step input to throttle. Test pilot observes engine response and in anticipation of the engine reaching desired setting, performs a second step input to original power setting.

This might be a rapid push of the throttle to maximum power or a throttle chop to idle, for example. The second input–a step input back to max for example–might be made as the engine passes 73% N1, so that the engine “bottoms out” at 65% N1.  In other words, this input must be made so that the engine does not pass the desired target parameters. Leading the desired parameter is required because engines do not spool up (or down) instantaneously.

Other considerations: Usually, the aircraft must maintain a constant speed (within some data band like +/-.05 M or +/- 5 knots). Thus at the initial trim condition, the pitch attitude might be nose high. When the throttle is chopped, the test pilot must pitch down to maintain the airspeed within the desired range. Similarly, this entire maneuver (including the pitch up/down) must remain within a certain altitude band (like +/- 1000 feet).

The illustration above from a Test Pilot School course handout (I encourage you to click on it to see it full size) shows the engine response to a throttle body.

On the last Friday of each month, the column What is an FTT describes some of the fundamental maneuver building blocks performed by test pilots to gather data during flight test missions. An FTT is in some sense a description of an experiment.  It is a key element of the scientific method applied to aerospace sciences, engineering, and aviation.

You can access all of these posts by clicking on the FTT category hyperlink below the post title.

#FTT Friday
Each Friday, @FlightTestFact will deliver examples, definitions, and explanations of flight test techniques for the entire day. You can view these tweets by searching for #FTT and #flighttest as depicted below. You can also click on the picture below to be taken to the twitter search results. What FTT would you like to know more about?


Read more: Previous | Next

An excellent, comprehensive resource for learning more about propulsion engineering is this Thermodynamics/Propulsion Engineering open courseware from MIT’s OCW project.

An extremely comprehensive listing of the specifications (thrust, specific fuel consumption, etc.) of jet engines is available from this website. When available, pictures and examples of each engine are provided.

 

Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.

The XB-70 was a Mach 3.0 aircraft and noted by NASA to be the world’s largest experimental aircraft.

XB-70 NASA photo 359356main_ECN-792_full

This view shows both the engine inlets themselves and the shape of the fuselage that houses the inlets leading to the intakes of each of its six engines.

XB-70 NASA photo 359284main_EC68-2101_full

Here is an exhaust view of the six GE YJ93 engines.

Often jet engines in development are flown on surrogate aircraft. The GE YJ93 was first flown on a B-58 at Edwards AFB, as seen here.
B58 with j93 pod for engine flight test

The XB-70 boasted some other unique design characteristics, including its use of compression lift and the ability to droop its wingtips to increase directional stability. For a detailed project description of the XB-70 program see NASA’s website here.

Airplanes by Design features photographs of aircraft from a test pilot perspective, highlighting aeronautical engineering characteristics and flight test facts. To see all of the these pictures (and many more of this aircraft and it’s unique design characteristics), click here. You will always be able to access any of these pictures by selecting the Flickr icon in the top menu bar.

Click here to read more about this airplane.

Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to share your Airplanes by Design stories and photos.

The XB-70 was an experimental supersonic bomber that showcases an engine inlet designed to optimize supersonic airflow total pressure recovery with a changeable geometry.

NASA has several other XB-70 videos here.

Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.

Airplanes inspire and amaze us, especially as they dance through the skies accomplishing their stunning aerial feats. Nowhere is this more evident than in the unique videos that capture test flights by daring test pilots, pushing the very envelope of knowledge and ability. I think it makes people believe that with enough persistence, dreams do take flight.

I also believe that a video exponentially improves our ability to use picture to communicate 10,000 words, and this is not only one of the fundamental ATOMs but also an elementary and critical element in the strategy to inform and invest. These are just a few of the reasons that this weekly video column exists.

Wikipedia imageThere is a legend (and a delightful poem) about six blind men who examine an elephant.  The first finds the elephant’s side and declares that an elephant is like a wall. The second feels its tusk and compares it to a spear.  And so on and so forth it goes…with observations of its trunk, ears, tail and knee.

The end of the poem is as follows:

The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Bad statistics is like the observations of blind men describing an elephant.

On the other hand, consider another blind man who had once seen an elephant in his childhood, or who, since he had become blind, heard stories from those who personally seen an elephant.  Armed with these descriptions, this blind man collects the same six pieces of data described above. Wouldn’t his observations make much more sense?

Good statistics starts with a question–it happens when you know, loosely speaking, what you are looking for, and you establish analytical methods for finding data that will help you answer the question you’ve asked.

Good statistics continues with an antithetical question–it considers what happens when you assume the opposite and examines the data in this light as well.

Good statistics is very powerful. It’s like a seesaw…but you’ll have to wait until next time to read about that.

This post is about a question I received on facebookCan a civilian airline pilot be a test pilot? The answer is definitely yes, and to adequately answer this question will take several posts. But here is the first part of my answer.

Test pilots need three broad areas of experience and expertise–aviation, engineering, and leadership–the airline industry has opportunities in each of these areas.

Aviation Experience
The airline industry is obviously a great place to build a strong foundation of aviation experience and flying hours. In fact, civilian airline pilots have a wide breadth of aircraft experience, from small general aviation aircraft to regional jets and perhaps even jumbo jets. Learn as much as you can about the airplane you are flying. Read the aircraft operations manual frequently. When you get the opportunity, talk to maintenance personnel and learn more about the airplane that way as well.

Leadership Experience
Even as a junior airline pilot, as a first officer, you should and can begin to grow as a leader. Watch what the experienced captains do and say as the pilot in command, how they act, and take every opportunity to ask them about their experience. Everything you learn about leadership will help you grow in your aviation career–you will need many strong leadership skills to excel in flight test.

Engineering Experience
Every airline has a collection of pilots who have a strong background in technical skills and a deep understanding of the maintenance aspects of the aircraft. Some airlines have test pilots on their staff. Almost every maintenance facility has pilots who fly the aircraft in a functional check flight (or acceptance test flight) after maintenance is done to ensure that the aircraft and its systems still function properly. This is the tip of iceberg for the kind of skills you will need as a pilot-engineer, which is one of the hats that a test pilot wears. These pilots are the bridge between the engineers/technical experts and the pilots who fly the line every day.

I recommend that you find these pilots and offer to buy them coffee or lunch in exchange for an hour of questions and answers. What you learn about their career path may be exactly what you need to launch your flight test career.

Next time, I’ll offer some suggestions on courses you can take anywhere in the world regardless of your engineering background or citizenship to begin to equip you with some fundamental flight test knowledge.

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 #2Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to ask questions about launching your flight test career.

More articles in this series: Previous | Next

Two of the world’s leading jet engine manufacturer’s have wonderful multimedia presentations and references on jet engine operation and on the particular characteristics of their products.

General Electric’s Engine 101

Pratt and Whitney discuss their engines, like the C-17A’s F117 engine here.

Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.

The Hawker Siddeley XV-6A at the National Museum of the Air Force illustrates two more characteristics of aircraft engines in Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, continuing the February ABCs of aircraft engines series.

Inlet
The engine inlet is a marvel of aerodynamic engineering used to recover as much total pressure as possible while slowing the incoming air to an efficient speed for the engine.
HAWKER SIDDELEY XV-6A KESTREL
Additionally, engine inlets have to provide some mission design functions, like stealth characteristics, and they have to work at a wide variety of speeds, including both subsonic and supersonic flight regimes.

Nozzle
The purpose of the jet engine nozzle is to accelerate hot gases by adiabatic expansion.
XV-6
In the case of this Harrier forerunner (and some modern jets), the purpose was also to vector thrust for added control. Modern transport aircraft also vector thrust with thrust reversers during landing for deceleration.

These pictures were generously shared by Jason C. from his visit to the USAF’s National Museum.

Airplanes by Design features photographs of aircraft from a test pilot perspective, highlighting aeronautical engineering characteristics and flight test facts. To see all of the these pictures (and many more of this aircraft and it’s unique design characteristics), click here. You will always be able to access any of these pictures by selecting the Flickr icon in the top menu bar.

Click here to read more about this airplane.

Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to share your Airplanes by Design stories and photos.

Early development of vertical takeoff and landing aircraft centered primarily on propulsion engineering and it’s use in providing lift and stability/control and thrust as seen in this documentary video.

(Thanks to flightglobal.com @flightblogger for the lead on this video.)

Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.

Airplanes inspire and amaze us, especially as they dance through the skies accomplishing their stunning aerial feats. Nowhere is this more evident than in the unique videos that capture test flights by daring test pilots, pushing the very envelope of knowledge and ability. I think it makes people believe that with enough persistence, dreams do take flight.

I also believe that a video exponentially improves our ability to use picture to communicate 10,000 words, and this is not only one of the fundamental ATOMs but also an elementary and critical element in the strategy to inform and invest. These are just a few of the reasons that this weekly video column exists.

What does it mean to transform uncertainty?

I think this is an important question for at least 4 reasons:

  1. We are drowning in data.
  2. It has come into the focus of  mainstream media (like this Forbes article).
  3. It is a fundamental element of the mission of mc2, and
  4. “Transforming” is a fundamental illustration and analogy in the branding of this company and website.

So what does it mean?

Transform
To begin with, Zig Ziglar does an excellent job explaining what it means to “transform” in his book, See You at the Top.*

Take a bar of iron and use it for a door stop and it’s worth a dollar. Manufacture horseshoes from that iron and they’re worth about fifty dollars. Take the same bar of iron, remove the impurities, refine it into fine steel, manufacture it into mainsprings for precision watches and it’s worth a quarter of a million dollars.

The way you see the bar or iron makes the difference…

I think the way you see data, especially in aviation and aerospace and flight test, makes the difference.

Uncertainty
You might see uncertainty and noise and risk. You might see a deluge of information, like a wall of rain falling from the sky, making it difficult to see.

Or, if you are equipped with some fundamental analytical tools, you might see that flipping a coin results in a fair decision rule that a referee can use to decide who kicks off first. You might see that the idea transforming data has amazing potential, the kind of nearly unlimited energy available from transforming the natural flow of water into hydroelectric power, just by building a dam.

Still wondering how “transforming” illustrates the branding of this company and website?

This picture is a hint…what happens when you transform matter into energy? There’s an equation for that.

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 #1Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to ask questions about launching your flight test career.

More articles in this series: Previous | Next

With elementary line drawings/illlustrations like this one, the Test Pilot School’s introductory handbook on propulsion flight test is an excellent choice for beginner or a quick reference for the expert.

Introduction to Propulsion Engineering and Flight Test Handbook (USAF TPS)

It includes discussion on computing engine efficiencies, inlet design, thrust and specific fuel consumption derivations, etc.

Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.

This week continues the ABCs series by introducing three characteristics of aircraft turbine engines–afterburner, bypass ratio, and compressor–with an Edwards AFB F-15C/D Eagle as the example.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C/D Eagle

Afterburner
McDonnell Douglas F-15C/D Eagle
This is the afterburner section of the F-15.

F100 engine Pratt and Whitney cutaway drawing
This Pratt and Whitney drawing shows a cutaway of the F100 engine, in use on the F-15. The aft section (which appears orange in this drawing) is the afterburner section where fuel is ignited.

Bypass Ratio
A certain amount of air goes around the jet engine core. The ratio of air that bypasses the core to that air that goes through the core is the bypass ratio. If you look closely at the drawing above, you can see this near the compressor where it is most evident. The F-15 has a low bypass ratio. It is also illustrated in this wikipedia graphic below–the bypass air is the arrow on the top left, a light purple color in the engine.

Compressor
Again, reference the Pratt & Whitney drawing above as well as the labeled wikipedia graphic. In the first, the compressor section (just in front of the orange section near the middle of the core part of the engine) is where turbine blades accelerate the air and increase the pressure, preparing it for combustion in the chamber just aft of the compressor.

This photo shows an excellent view the engine compartment along the full length of the bottom side of the F-15.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C/D Eagle

The inlet is also a critical part of the aircraft design because it ducts air to the engine. This photo of the lower part of the inlet also shows the engine compartment running the length of the underside of the Eagle.
McDonnell Douglas F-15C/D Eagle

McDonnell Douglas F-15C/D Eagle

The orange paint scheme, often referred to as a “clown jet,” is a distinctive characteristic of flight test operations.

Airplanes by Design features photographs of aircraft from a test pilot perspective, highlighting aeronautical engineering characteristics and flight test facts. To see all of the these pictures (and many more of this aircraft and it’s unique design characteristics), click here. You will always be able to access any of these pictures by selecting the Flickr icon in the top menu bar.

Click here to read more about this airplane.

Send a message to @FlightTestFact on Twitter to share your Airplanes by Design stories and photos.

The Top Gun “flat spin flameout” is not that far-fetched. Airflow during high angle of attack maneuvering can have a significant (and sometimes detrimental) effect on aircraft engines. Therefore, spin-type flight testing is a key part of propulsion engineering analysis. The following videos show spin testing of the F-15.

The next video includes cockpit footage as well.

Check out @FlightTestFact on Twitter for more flight test safety references, videos, and information daily.

Airplanes inspire and amaze us, especially as they dance through the skies accomplishing their stunning aerial feats. Nowhere is this more evident than in the unique videos that capture test flights by daring test pilots, pushing the very envelope of knowledge and ability. I think it makes people believe that with enough persistence, dreams do take flight.

I also believe that a video exponentially improves our ability to use picture to communicate 10,000 words, and this is not only one of the fundamental ATOMs but also an elementary and critical element in the strategy to inform and invest. These are just a few of the reasons that this weekly video column exists.