Being a test pilot used to be a risky business. In the 1950s, test pilots were killed every week in new flight tests, and there was no guarantee that your next flight won’t be your last. However, significant improvements in flight test protocols and the simulation of aircraft performance over the years have significantly minimized these risks.
A test pilot essentially has the role of testing modified or newly designed aircraft. New types of helicopters and jets, modified private planes, military aircraft and more, are all in need of testing prior to being released for common use. Test pilots often have to perform specific flight test techniques (FTT) and maneuvers designed to offer particular insight into certain aspects of the aircraft’s design and performance.
Based on flight data gathered from the tests, engineers and aircraft designers can adjust parameters and make optimal modifications to ensure improved safety and performance. Test pilots, therefore, need to have a considerable knowledge of aeronautical engineering, aside from the many physical qualities that define a good pilot.
In many ways, test pilots have much greater responsibilities, and they take higher risks than regular military and commercial airplane pilots. A test pilot has to understand test plans and stick to them, keep track of any malfunctions and compensate for them, keep track of vital data to help engineers improve their results, and communicate relevant flight test observations as clearly as possible.
Obviously, this career requires years of training and flight experience. For those wanting to experience the rewards of flying, but scale down the risk factor a notch, learning to fly at a reputable Colorado flight school may be just what you are looking for to add adventure into your life. Check out Independence Aviation today for a flight training program to fit your time and budget.
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