NASA - Aerospace Engineer, AST-Research Pilot

NASA Aerospace Engineer, AST-Research Pilot



This position is located in the Aircraft Operations Division, Flight Operations Directorate. As a Aerospace Engineer and Project/Research Pilot you will pilot aircraft used in research, development, and test programs; evaluate test parameters and results; perform flights and ground simulations of advanced missions; and actively participate with project engineers and scientists responsible for the development, design, testing, evaluation, and reporting on new aircraft or aircraft systems.

Open & closing dates: 05/17/2023 to 05/31/2023

Salary: $149,862 - $183,500 per year

Pay scale & grade: GS 14

1 vacancy in the following location: Houston


  • Serves as an instructor pilot aboard a high performance jet trainer, and performs classroom and simulator instructor duty in support of astronaut Space Flight Readiness Training.
  • Serves as pilot-in-command or co-pilot aboard a large two-engine business jet and/or a large four engine turbo propeller cargo aircraft flying a variety of missions, and frequently requiring extended domestic or overseas deployment.
  • As pilot-in-command, responsible for managing up to 9 crew, supporting passengers during mission support operations, and/or engineers and scientists for airborne science missions.
  • Serves as a project team member providing engineering and operational expertise for periodic test and research flight programs, to include aircraft upgrades/modifications and airborne science missions.
  • Manages project schedule as required. Supports reviews, such as the Configuration Control Panel, Test Readiness Review, Flight Readiness Review, and Operational Readiness Review meetings, for modifications to division aircraft.
  • Identifies hazards and reports unsafe acts and procedures. Supports investigation and resolution of aircraft anomalies and mishaps as assigned. Participates in safety inspections and training.
  • Provides in-flight support for emergency aircraft, managing flight schedule, and monitoring status of aircraft off-station. Recommends and submits task requests for aircraft upgrades. Monitors and provides aircrew input for all aircraft upgrades.
  • Communicates effectively with other project pilots and NASA managers to effectively utilize aircrew and aircraft to maximize mission accomplishment.
  • Maintains aircraft flight manuals/checklists, aircraft-specific standard operating procedures, and annual proficiency exam and conducts quarterly continuation and aircraft-specific Crew Resource training.
  • Plans aircraft deployments and coordinates travel requirements for all travelers. Ensures deploying aircrew have requisite training and documentation.


Conditions of Employment

  • This position is open to U.S. citizens, nationals or those who owe allegiance to the U.S.
  • Position subject to pre-employment background security investigation
  • You must meet qualifications requirements by the closing date of this announcement
  • At the time of initial appointment, you must possess a current FAA first class medical certificate or a military pilot flight physical; or you must obtain a NASA flight medical certification
  • You must be proficient in the English Language
  • This position may require a one year probationary period


In addition to the Basic Education Requirement (in the Education section below), to qualify for this position you must meet the requirements below. Specialized experience is experience that has equipped you with the particular ability, skill, and knowledge to successfully perform the duties of this position and is typically in or related to this line of work.

NASA utilizes OPM-approved qualification and rating requirements specific for Aerospace Technology (AST) positions which recognizes NASA's unique aerospace work. The specific qualifications and minimum education requirements are further described below and within the education section of the job announcement.

1. Certificate and Rating: A current Federal Aviation Administration commercial pilot's license with an instrument rating and flight instructor certification or an instrument pilot rating and flight instructor certification from the armed services.

2. Flight Hours: 1,500 hours of pilot-in-command (or first pilot) flight time that included at least 500 hours in a high performance jet aircraft having at least 3,000 pounds of thrust per engine.

3. Specialized experience:

To qualify for GS-14, you must have one year of directly related specialized experience equivalent to the GS-13 level:

  • Experience with the principles of engineering with respect to research and/or test flight operations;
  • Planning and coordinating aircraft missions and aircraft evaluation projects, to include test plan preparation;
  • Applying technical project management to include planning, scheduling, and managing technical requirements involving high-performance aircraft;
  • Establishing aviation safety training principles and procedures; and
  • Communicating verbally, and in writing, technical information to all levels of management.

Desired Experience: Experience as a Military Test Pilot and hold an FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.

To receive proper consideration, you must (1) submit a copy of your license with your application and (2) ensure that your flight hours are indicated in your resume.

NOTE*** Candidates establishing eligibility based on military flight experience must provide official orders, forms, or logbooks showing their status as a rated military pilot when requested.

Your resume must include a clear and detailed narrative description, in your own words, of how you meet the required specialized experience. Experience statements copied from a position description, vacancy announcement or other reference material constitutes plagiarism and may result in disqualification and losing consideration for the job.


Basic Education Requirement: You must have successfully completed a bachelor's degree with a major in one of the following:
a) Engineering from a college or university that has ABET accredited engineering programs
b) Physical Science, Mathematics, Life Science or other field of Science
c) Computer Science that included 30 semester hours or 45 quarter hours of course work in any combination of mathematics, statistics and computer science with at least half of those hours in mathematics and statistics courses that included differential and integral calculus.

If you did not complete a qualifying bachelor's degree, you may be eligible if you have obtained a graduate degree in an AST qualifying field, as listed above.

Degrees in engineering technology are not considered qualifying for this position.

If you have any questions concerning the job contact Brett Pugsley,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..