For Professional Course students, the capstone project is a comprehensive ground and flight exercise offered once annually at the completion of the Performance, and Flying Qualities phase for TP/FTE Course students and as required/planned for Master’s students. The capstone project is intended to encapsulate the entire process of a flight test program. This is primarily an independent study course with in-flight exercises included. Under the supervision of a staff instructor, the students conduct and develop: mission analysis, test planning, test plan reviews for safety and technical completeness, flight test execution, data analysis and reporting, both oral and written. To the extent possible, the scope of the project should include elements of performance, flying qualities and systems, as they apply to the assigned mission and purpose of the project. To demonstrate Information Literacy, the student will utilize on-line flight test databases in preparation of the test plan for the project. The project is normally accomplished in small teams on an aircraft or system not previously used during the course of instruction, but complete unfamiliarity is not a requirement. Even though teamwork is emphasized on test preparation, execution and analysis, every student should individually prepare a formal written report.
For the Master’s students, the Capstone Project is a comprehensive flight test engineering related project conducted under the supervision of a faculty advisor (or a designated representative) and includes a significant written and oral report. The Capstone Project may be a traditional test pilot school final project or it may be a flight test related test project, research study, independent study, or practical exercise that encompasses at least 90 hours of flight test engineering related student work. A Capstone Project proposal must be submitted to and approved by the CAO prior to the project start.