12/10/2007 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, CA -- On Dec. 8, the U.S.
Air Force Test Pilot School graduated their 147th class since
their start at Wright Field in 1944.
The school has come a long way since the first class of young
men with a desire to fly, and now boasts the best of the best
from around the world.
Class 07A consisted of 11 flight test pilots, nine flight test
engineers and two flight test weapons systems officers. The
class included students from across the nation and students
from France, India and Italy.
Students have completed one of the most challenging and demanding
courses in the world when they finish here. Each has completed
more than 2,500 hours of academics and about 120 hours of in-flight
training -- each student puts in about six hours per day of
instructor contact time, not including academic and flight preparation
During the final six months of the year at TPS, students demonstrate
learning from across the curriculum by planning and executing
real-world test management projects. Class 07A's TMPs were:
HAVE STAV is a limited handling qualities evaluation of a supersonic
tailless air vehicle with virtually no visibility for the crew
and handling qualities similar to a space shuttle. In the approach
and landing phase, they flew test missions on the NC-131 Total
Inflight Simulator at Niagara Falls to test control schemes
to make the difficult landing possible. The team members included
Capt. Steve Speares as project manager, Maj. Matt Domsalla,
Maj. Bill Quashnock, Nathan Cook, Capt. Brian Neff and Maj.
GOOD LOOKIN's goal was to determine the performance of an optical-inertial
sensor fusion navigation system using monocular imagery. A C-12
Huron was used to carry two digital cameras, a low cost inertial
measurement unit and the entire GOOD LOOKIN team. The potential
is for automated or semi-automated landings without the use
of standard navigational aids that could give away an aircraft's
position, increasing survivability in a hostile environment.
The team included Capt. Michael Nielsen as project manager,
France Maj. Williams Grac, Capt. Christopher Bradley, Capt.
Dan Itsara and Italy Capt. Luca Viarengo.
The Capability Based Assessment of an Aircraft Survivability
System project consisted of the flight demonstration of an affordable
laser infrared countermeasure system developed by the Air Force
Research Laboratory and Lockheed Martin. The overall test objective
was to demonstrate the ability of a laser countermeasure pod
to defeat simulated missile threats on an operational fighter
aircraft. The infrared anti-aircraft missile is a current, very
real threat. Team members were Capt. Jose Gutierrez as project
manager, Capt. Jonathan Dowty, Maj. Jennifer Jeffords, Capt.
Mark Massaro, Capt. Ty Perschbacher and Capt. Richard Bush.
This project came from the real-world question of how to control
an advanced aircraft whose flight controls rely on classic air
data -- airspeed, altitude and temperature -- when that data
is lost due to battle damage or system failure. This first effort
focused on using other information from the flight control computers
to derive an airspeed estimate so that the damaged aircraft
could return safely to base, or even continue its mission. Team
members included Maj. Scott McLaren as project manager, India
Squadron Leader Sreeram Jayashankar, Marine Maj. William Rothermel,
Capt. Corey Beaverson and Capt. Donald Powers.
Each student was 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. The 22 members of Class 07A are now ready to take
their place as leaders in the flight test community.
Source: USAF Edwards AFB Press Release by Annamaria Taylor