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Flight Test Engineering Graduate Assistant Program at the National Test Pilot School

Are you a recent engineering graduate considering launching your career towards the sky? Would you like to apply your problem solving skills at the forefront of the flight test industry? Look no further, the National Test Pilot School is searching for new applicants for its prestigious Flight Test Engineering Graduate Assistant (GA) program. Through this program, the selected candidate will learn the attributes and skills of a flight test engineer (FTE) by obtaining a Master of Science in Flight Test Engineering, completing the internationally recognized Professional Test Pilot School FTE curriculum, and gaining experience in a flight test environment while working with industry professionals from around the world. Recent graduates of this program have been handpicked by successful aerospace companies including Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, AeroTec, The Spaceship Company, World View, Icon Aircraft, Cirrus Aircraft, and Modern Technology Solutions Inc.

The selected candidate will attend academic lectures, partake in actual flight test laboratories as a flying FTE, analyze data and present findings. The lectures cover a wide range of subjects that include the evaluation of aircraft performance and flying qualities, modern flight controls, and avionics and aircraft weapons systems.

Graduate Assistants conduct research and development work while assisting NTPS instructors with course preparation and practical demonstrations. Tasks include the construction, design, and development of flight simulators, support for the NTPS Optionally Piloted Aircraft (OPA), data reduction for consultant projects from external NTPS customers, installation of aircraft instrumentation, control room support, and testing of emerging technologies. GAs are the backbone of the NTPS Experimental Aircraft Build club, currently working on the construction and flight test of a Vans RV-12 airplane.

The selected candidate will participate in the 3-year work-study program that includes a basic stipend, medical, vision, and dental benefits. To be selected, candidates must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from an ABET accredited institution and be able to meet the requirements of an FAA Class II Medical. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is desired. This is an entry level position, no experience beyond a college degree is required. Interested parties should send Ms. Kayla Chamness (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) a copy of college transcript, resume, and a one-page essay describing your interest and career ambitions in flight testing no later than 4 March 2020.

Selections will be announced in mid to late March 2020.

On May 17th 2019, the Sikorsky HH-60W Combat Rescue Helicopter (CRH) achieved first flight with support from NTPS alumni. Alumni pictured below from left to right; John Biscaino (Test Pilot), Lester Ingham (FTE), Kyrilian Dyer (FTE) and Bob Arsenault (Test Pilot). Other NTPS alumni participating in the first flight but not pictured are Mark Zielanski (FTE) and Duane Oleson (Chief Engineer Sikorsky West Palm Beach).

Continue to the full details of the HH-60W first flight.

HH60W Alumni

Congratulations to Dr. AL on this high honor.  Here is the Fellow write-up from the event:

Dr. Allen L. “AL” Peterson is the President and CEO of the National Test Pilot School. Graduating from West Point, Al flew Attack helicopters operationally in Air Cavalry units in Hawaii, Korea, and Texas. Al then started a series of test pilot tours including attending USNTPS at Pax River; DT/OT testing Apache and Cobra helicopters at Fort Rucker; Airworthiness Testing Apaches and Cobras at Edwards AFB; Airworthiness and R&D testing of Chinook, Lynx, Gazelle, and Sea King helicopters on Exchange with Her Majesty’s Forces at Boscombe Down; and R&D testing Apache and Black Hawk helicopters as the Chief Test Pilot at Ft Eustis. Retiring in 2002, Al joined SNC for 9 years in various management positions including some Systems testing. In 2011 Al was appointed NTPS President and CEO and led the school through its stabilization and resurgence; championing numerous initiatives including the first test pilot school in the world to attain EASA certification, a major aircraft/technology refresh program, the FTE graduate assistant program, and the world’s first STEM Flight Test Camp. During his career, Al worked over 80 test programs, flew over 80 different aircraft types, and continues to develop flight test personnel the world over.

2018 Fellows

Dr. Allen "AL" Peterson pictured third from left. Photo Credit: setp.org

The National Test Pilot School (NTPS) completed its sixth annual one week Flight Test Camp (FTC) for 19 students from seven local high schools from 18-22 June 2018. The focus of NTPS FTC is STEM oriented and three-fold: 1) introduce high school students to engineering generally and flight test engineering specifically as possible fields of study and careers; 2) introduce our local young people to the amazing array of high tech aerospace companies that exist right in their back yard at the Mojave Air and Space Port (MASP); and 3) show the students the numerous interesting and exciting jobs they could have with an engineering background. 

To do this NTPS developed a three-pronged approach such that in a typical day the students get some engineering academics, a flight in an aircraft or simulator, and a tour of a local aerospace company. The FTS students received lectures from NTPS staff instructors on aerodynamics, flight controls, handling qualities, performance, energy management, and job paths for Flight Test Engineers and Test Pilots. Every student flew a sortie in an airplane and a helicopter and learned how to take data, analyze the results and compare them against civil certification requirements. The students also got hands-on flying experience in four different simulators, some test directing time in the telemetry room and a hands-on Night vision Goggle experience. The MASP staff arranged student tours at the Fire Station, the Control Tower, the Orbital/ATK L-1011 launch vehicle, Virgin Galactic, Scaled Composites, and Stratolaunch. The tours were spectacular and thanks to very enthusiastic, professional briefers, the students were both awed and inspired.

NTPS would like to thank MASP and all the companies that provided the great tours. We would also like to say a special thanks our sponsors Mojave Air and Space Port, SMMA Insurance, Keiffe and Sons Ford, Flight Research Inc., Mission Bank, and Stater Brothers. NTPS has dedicated its efforts for the Flight Test Camp to the memory of Mr. Mike Hill, the Flight Test Camp’s first Director and biggest fan.

Flight Test Camp 2018 Group Photo

On June 14, 2018, NTPS celebrated the graduation of a new class of 6 Test Pilots and 6 Flight Test Engineers.

June 2018 Graduation

Front Row (L to R):

  • Lieutenant Commander Stephen Collins, Royal Navy. Completed the Systems Professional course as a Test Pilot.
  • Flight Lieutenant Linda McLean, Royal Air Force. Completed the Systems Professional course as a Flight Test Engineer (FTE).
  • Flight Lieutenant Dan Granger, Royal Air Force. Completed the Systems Professional course as a Test Pilot.
  • Captain Jaejin Bae, Republic of Korea Air Force. Completed the Systems Professional course as a Test Pilot.
  • Captain Minsoo Kim, Republic of Korea Air Force. Completed the Systems Professional course as a Flight Test Engineer.

Back Row (L to R):

  • Captain Josef Bayoud, Lufthansa Airlines. Completed the EASA Cat 2 Fixed Wing Test Pilot Course.
  • Lieutenant Simone Caretta, Italian Air Force. Completed the Fixed wing Professional Course as a Flight Test Engineer, EASA Category 1 FTE and received a Masters Degree in Flight Test Engineering.
  • Squadron Leader Adam Curd, Royal Air Force. Completed the Systems Professional course as a Test Pilot.
  • Mr. Zach Kraus, Icon Aircraft. Completed the NTPS Graduate Assistant Program. Graduated from the Fixed Wing Professional Course as a Flight Test Engineer and received a Masters Degree in Flight Test Engineering.
  • Captain Stefano Meneguolo, Italian Air Force. Completed the Fixed Wing Professional course as an Experimental Test Pilot and Distinguished Graduate. EASA Category 1 Test Pilot and received a Masters Degree in Flight Test and Evaluation.
  • Major Sharon Kislev, Israeli Air Force. Completed the Fixed Wing Professional Course as a Flight Test Engineer, and received a Masters Degree in Flight Test Engineering.
    Major Munjang Bae, Republic of Korea Air Force. Completed the Systems Professional course as a Test Pilot.

In addition to graduation certificates and diplomas, Captain Meneguolo (R) received the John Bishop Award as the top Test Pilot Graduate and Lieutenant Caretta (L) received the Ron Bradley Award as the top Flight Test Engineer.

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Contact Info

National Test Pilot School
P.O. Box 658
Mojave, CA 93502-0658 USA
Phone: 661-824-2977
Fax: 661-824-2943

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