RAeS Honors NTPS Instructor

NTPS Instructor Patrick Hutcheson Inducted into Royal Aeronautical Society

Pat HpngThe National Test Pilot School (NTPS) is pleased to announce that Patrick D Hutcheson has been conferred a fellowship in the Royal Aeronautical Society.

A fellowship in the Royal Aeronautical Society is the highest honor achievable in the organization and is given only to those in the profession of aeronautics or aerospace who have made an outstanding contribution to the profession, attained a position of high responsibility or have had long experience of high quality in the profession.

The Society’s award was bestowed on Mr. Hutcheson for his career-long Flight Test efforts in the Royal Canadian Air Force as well as the impact he has had through academic and flight instruction at NTPS.

Patrick has dedicated the entirety of his career to Flight Test and Flight Test Education. Beginning his career in 2001 as a fresh graduate of the Royal Military College, Canada’s military academy, he was assigned to the Canadian Air Force Flight Test Center in Cold Lake, Alberta.  He worked for the test center until 2014 when he was assigned as the Chief of Staff for 4 Wing HQ, Canada’s largest Fighter Base.  Shortly after leaving the test center, he was tasked with standing up a new Fighter Squadron, 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron, which subsequently deployed to Iraq and Syria as part of Operation IMPACT.  The year following the deployment, Patrick retired from the Canadian Air Force after 22 years of service.The Society’s award was bestowed on Mr. Hutcheson for his career-long Flight Test efforts in the Royal Canadian Air Force as well as the impact he has had through academic and flight instruction at NTPS.

Hutcheson, who joined NTPS in 2017 as a Flight Test Instructor, is also an Educator member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a member of the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE). Hutch is a FTE graduate of the US Naval Test Pilot School and holds a MS from the US Naval Postgraduate School. He is currently pursuing a PhD from RMC and Test Pilot Training from NTPS to further enhance his professional development.

Shawn Coyle Last Flight

NTPS was saddened to hear of the passing of Shawn Coyle on 19 June 2021 at the age of 71. Shawn was well known throughout the flight test community and was an instructor at NTPS from 2001 to 2004. Blue Skies and TailWinds Shawn.

NTPS Grad Thomas Hennig featured by German MOD

Thomas Hennig is Technical Higher Government Councilor at the Defense Technical Service for Aircraft and Aviation Equipment of the German Armed Forces (WTD 61) in Manching. There he works as a flight test engineer.

The former soldier studied aerospace engineering at the University of the Federal Armed Forces in MunichHe is a trained aircraft engineering officer and systems engineer for the Eurofighter weapon system With his career training in the higher technical administration service, Thomas Hennig switched to the civil service of the Bundeswehr after his military serviceIn addition to his degree, he has been in the USA completed training as a flight test engineer.

hennig computer

When Thomas Hennig is not working on or in an airplane, his desk is his second workplace. The results of the tests are recorded and processed here.

Bundeswehr / Schneider


Mr. Hennig, what are you doing as a flight test engineer at WTD Defense Technical Department 61?

As a flight test engineer in the field of combat aircraft, I am responsible for the planning, implementation and follow-up of flight tests on the Eurofighter Weapon System. My main workplace during the flight tests is telemetry. An experiment is monitored and directed there. Once a year I carry out tests outside the Manching location as a so-called "campaign". These are mostly found as weapon integration tests on special shooting ranges in Sweden, Scotland, Italy, South Africa or the USA instead of. Full commitment is required in order to bring the long-planned test project to a successful and, above all, safe completion in terms of time, personnel and material.


hennig jet

The WTD61 in Manching has its own Eurofighter as a test vehicle. The aircraft is model IPA 3. In addition to the normal standard aircraft systems, this Eurofighter is instrumented for testing and has telemetry.

Bundeswehr / Schneider


That sounds like a lot of responsibility.

Yes - that comes with a lot of responsibility. The essential aspects of the technical and logistical operation must be explained to the test crews. On the other hand, I explain the operational needs of the test flight crews to the technical area. But you can easily get into this area of ​​tension if you strive daily to bring both sides into harmony with a view to the success of the project. In addition to technical training, personal leadership skills and the ability to work in a team of a test flight engineer are important prerequisites for day-to-day work.


How can you imagine a flight attempt?

The main focus is initially on preparing and planning the flight test. All aspects of the test, for example the technology, the logistics, the approval and the test flight crews have to be identified, planned and controlled. However, the preparation and planning phase does not end with the final drawing of the flight test program. A test safety audit process must also be passed successfully, as must the planned test by the director of the WTD61 are released.


hennig computer2

Thomas Hennig monitors the test flight from the telemetry. Various measured values ​​of the aircraft are displayed on the monitors. These technical data help the engineer to conduct the flight test.

Bundeswehr / Schneider


During the implementation phase, I lead the test briefing before the actual test flight. I monitor the test flight itself and control it from the telemetry. Unfortunately, like my colleagues from the “Transporter” and "Helicopter" departments, I cannot occasionally fly with the test. In a fighter plane it is very cramped and there is only room for the actual crew. After the test flight, I lead the debriefing and collect all test data from the " Flight Test Instrumentation" for evaluation. I also prepare a final report with the flight test crews.


Tell us about your training in California.

Yes - with pleasure - I moved there with my family in the summer of 2018. In Mojave, I then have a one-year EASA apprenticeship European Aviation Safety Agency Category 1 certified flight test engineer at the "National Test Pilot School"The EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, is responsible for safety and environmental protection in European civil aviation.

During the training I learned how to plan flight tests, how to carry them out safely, how to evaluate the results and finally report on them. The training included not only theoretical lessons on flight performance testing, flight characteristics testing and modern flight control systems. A very extensive briefing in the testing of aircraft systems was also part of it. In the practical teaching units, you independently plan flight attempts in a team. In the plane you then do this yourself with a student test pilot, evaluate the results and report on them in writing and orally at the end. My highlightDuring the training there was an introduction to flight test techniques. Under the guidance of a test pilot, I was allowed to fly various and sometimes extremely dynamic flight test maneuvers myself.

hennig JB

The first supersonic flight is done: "Handshake" with the instructor, Jim Brown "JB" at the "National Test Pilot School" in the USA

Bundeswehr / Privat


What do you particularly like about your job and your environment?

In my opinion, there is no better engineering proffession that is even closer to the operational activities of the pilot than that of a flight test engineerDuring the internships in my career training, I became fully aware of the operational world of the pilot for the first time. I was amazed by the sheer size and complexity of this "new world" for me. Thanks to my flying experience, I can now assess and evaluate the workload, the concentration distribution and the thinking patterns of the pilot much better depending on the flight phase.

My job demands a high level of teamwork and communication skills and offers no routine. Every test project has new and different challenges. And: In this job you should neither be shy nor a loner.


Washing an engine contaminated with de-icing agents is also one of the tests carried out by a test flight engineer. The test results show that a new process can achieve significant engine performance gains.

Bundeswehr / Schneider

Carina Grawitter



Benz's Family Donations

For those interested, here is a link to the gofundme page for Benz's family: https://gofund.me/a0069a13

NTPS 40th Anniversary!

(Mojave, CA) The National Test Pilot School (NTPS) is proud to announce our 40th Anniversary!! 29 April 2021 marked 40 years of NTPS providing flight test training to Test Pilots & FTEs from over 40 countries around the world. We recently unveiled our 40th Anniversary Painting called "Changing of the Guard" which depicts the EC-145 taking the lead in helicopter flight test training from the UH-1 as they fly over NTPS and other school aircraft (Prints are available). There has been tremendous change in these past 40 years and NTPS has continued to adapt, innovate, and lead in the modernization of flight test training. NTPS was first with Master’s degrees, Pre-TPS, significant Systems Curriculum, UAV curriculum integration, Graduate Assistant program, EASA certification, and University accreditation. All great examples of our commitment to our mission to advance flight test competency, improve flight test and aviation safety, and enhance the aerospace profession world-wide. NTPS would like to thank all of our loyal customers from across the globe. Here's to another 40 great years!

NTPS 40th Anniversary