U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School Graduates 146th Class

6/4/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- On Saturday, the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School will graduate their 146th class since their start at Wright Field in 1944.

The "Outlaws," as the students refer to themselves, hosts 11 pilots, 10 engineers and two navigators including pilots from Canada, Japan and Singapore, as well one female pilot.

"The students have completed one of the most challenging and demanding courses in the world," said Col. Andre Gerner, TPS commandant.

Each has completed more than 558 hours of academics and more than 670 hours of flight training -- each student puts in about six hours per day of instructor contact time, not including academic and flight preparation time.

The opportunity to fly so many aircraft and experience such a wide realm of aircraft missions can be found nowhere else in the Air Force and possibly the world, Colonel Gerner said.

"Time management and defeating my goals of perfection has been the most challenging issue for me" said Capt. Michael Welser, flight test engineer.

Captain Welser said the most unexpected aspect of the school has been the sheer amount of group work involved.

"Good teamwork and organization was important as a member of up to five different groups at a time," said Capt. Robert Volesky, flight test engineer. "I expected TPS to be a lot of work and a lot of fun. It lived up to both."

When Maj. Douglas Creviston, test pilot, found out he was selected to attend TPS, he said he was excited about the opportunity.

"I was quite happy that I wouldn't have to keep filling out the application to re-apply," he said.

Jenny Geitgey, spouse of Capt. Jason Geitgey, flight test engineer, also found it to be a very challenging year for their family as they just finished 15 months at the Air Force Institute of Technology before heading to TPS.

"I had a lot of misconceptions about living on base and being part of a military community," Mrs. Geitgey said. "I found most of my stereotypes were incorrect, and I have been pleasantly surprised at the quality and caliber of friends I have made this year."

Elena Sherwood, spouse of Canadian Air Force Capt. Reagh Sherwood, test pilot, shared a 14-year dream of her spouse and her part in making it come true.

"Following this dream has been an amazing ride," Mrs. Sherwood said. "We've met some incredible people who have enriched our 'out of country' experience and made us feel at home. I've had great people to travel this road with and will carry their influence with me always. I had no illusions as schooling comes with challenges, and I knew that at this caliber it would not be a walk in the park."

The class also boasts another first as the school graduates a husband and wife team in Maj. Carrie and Capt. Brent Reinhardt.

"Being a husband and wife team made it harder, and it made it easier at the same time," Major Reinhardt said. "We understood what each other were going through. We were both working and taking the course at the same time."

During the final six months, the students demonstrated their knowledge from across the curriculum by planning and executing real-world test management projects. Class 06B's projects were:

HAVE COLT: Characterization of Optimized Landing and Takeoff explored the potential performance increase for the T-38A by taking off with 45-percent wing flaps versus the flight manual recommended 60-percent setting. Previous testing of the T-38C suggested this lower flap setting might result in shorter takeoff rolls and better climb performance.

Team members included Maj. Andrew Allen, Maj. Michael Davis, Capt. Jason Armstrong, Capt. Sean Musil, Canadian Air Force Capt. Reagh Sherwood and Capt. Adam Quick

HAVE CLETIS: Cone Length Extension Tube Investigative Study determined the optimum length of the connecting tube between the trailing-cone static system and the tail of the Air Force Flight Test Center's F-16B "Pacer" aircraft which is used as an airspeed calibration jet. The trailing-cone system was used to calibrate the Pacer Jet, which will then be used to calibrate the pilot-static systems of new or modified aircraft at Edwards.

Team members included Maj. Darin Hoenle, Maj. Swami Iyer, Maj. Carrie Reinhardt, Republic of Singapore Air Force Capt. Yeu Fong Chua, Capt. Andy Jutte and Capt. Mike Welser.

HAVE FUN: Full-scale Numbers was another in a series of projects using the TPS-owned L-23 Super Blanik sailplane. In this iteration, maneuvers were performed on the highly instrumented glider to extract the drag contribution caused by full control deflections. These data are required to further refine the aerodynamic model for the aircraft and could lead to more efficient dynamic soaring techniques to be used in future manned and unmanned aircraft.

Team members included Maj. Sean Celi, Maj. Jeff Geraghty, Maj. James Stahl, Navy Lt. Victor Glover, Capt. Geoff Bowman and Capt. Brent Reinhardt.

HAVE HALO II: Huron Airborne Link Optimization was a follow-on to a previous experiment that characterized the performance of a "WiFi" datalink between a C-12C and a ground station. This project carried the research further by moving the ground station into a second C-12 to explore air-to-air data link performance.

Team members included Maj. Doug Creviston, Japan Air Self Defence Force Maj. Mori Kikuchi, Capt. Jason Geitgey, Capt. Jason Vap and Capt. Rob Volesky.

"Each student has been trained to lead members of a flight test team in the latest methods of flight testing, systems evaluation and test management, while instilling the cooperation and understanding between test team members necessary for successful flight test operations," Colonel Gerner said. "Each of the 23 members of Class 06B is now ready to take their place as leaders in the flight test community, not as the 'Outlaws' this class would like you to think they are, but as hard working, highly-intelligent individuals seeking to be the best of the best and the leaders of generations to come."

Source: USAF/Edwards AFB by Della Perry

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