Test Pilot/Specialist - MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Test Pilot/Specialist

MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Lexington, MA

The mission of the Flight Test Facility is to provide airborne platforms in support of specific research and development programs at Lincoln Laboratory. The Flight Test Facility provides a method of validation with actual field collected data. Flight Test Facility Research aircraft are flown, maintained, and managed by a professional staff of pilots, certified maintenance technicians, and administrative personnel. The Flight Test Facility's first priority is safety of flight. All flight operations are conducted by using procedures and equipment that meet or exceed all Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements. As a result of various past airborne testing programs, mission-specific procedures have been developed. These procedures and the Federal Aviation Regulations provide for safe and successful operations. The Flight Test Facility was created to support early air-to-air collision avoidance research programs sponsored by the FAA. As the need for more extensive airborne testing increased, the Flight Test Facility has expanded to support a variety of Department of Defense and FAA programs. The Flight Test Facility currently operates seven aircraft. The aircraft are experimentally certificated flying test beds ranging in size from a hand-launched UAV to corporate jets and a Boeing airliner.


Position Description:  Test Pilot/Specialist

As part of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Flight Test Facility, which is responsible for integration of prototype systems into experimentally certificated aircraft, the engineering Test Pilot is responsible for conducting mission planning and test operations on general aviation aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles for the purpose of Research and Development.


The Test Pilot is directly responsible for the safe conduct of flights to which they are assigned.  Primary duties include test planning, test readiness, safety of flight and test operations; The Pilot must communicate to engineering and project personnel on the planning, conducting and results of the test flights (ground and/or flight). The pilot must also observe company and FAA rules and regulations, and proper use of safety and risk mitigation methods. When assigned to a flight, the Pilot in Command (PIC) has the final authority in the operation of the aircraft. The PIC must ensure compliance with all federal, state, local, USAF and foreign regulations as well as company policies and procedures specified in the company operations manual. The PIC is the most visible LLFF representative to the Laboratory and must act with tact and decorum while ensuring an efficient and safe operation. The duties of the PIC include:

  • Work effectively with a small team to engage with the engineering customer and ensure a smooth aircraft integration process
  • Work with the engineering customer to understand project scope, build schedules, write test plans (including flight profiles and test cards), analyze flight test risk, manage logistics, and coordinate airspace.            
  • Ensure that preflight inspections are performed.
  • Study weather conditions at destination, en route, alternate airports, and departure points.
  • Ensure that flight plans are properly prepared and filed.
  • Ensure that the aircraft is prepared for flight with all provisions on board for the safety and comfort of the engineering crew.
  • Review and calculate the aircraft weight and balance, fuel on board, and performance charts.
  • Investigate, review, and comply with military range operating procedures.
  • Comply with schedules and other directives governing the aircraft’s operation.
  • Use Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • Conduct other day to day administrative responsibilities required in the flight operations department (i.e. flight safety, training, record keeping, navigation tools/database maintenance, process development, etc). 


  • Practical knowledge of flight test procedures with 5 years of flight test experience
  • Military Pilot experience is strongly preferred
  • Have an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with MEL privileges and at least Commercial SEL privileges
  • Jet aircraft experience with type ratings desired
  • Experience in DeHavilland Twin Otter, Falcon 20, Gulfstream II/IV and single engine Cessna desirable
  • Current FAA Medical Certificate (First or Second Class)
  • Minimum of 2500 hours, including 1000 hours of turbine, at which at least 500 hours is Pilot in Command time.
  • Bachelor’s Degree  or equivalent highly preferred
  • Interpersonal skills necessary to work effectively with a variety of individuals, departments and organizations
  • Ability and willingness to work with irregular hours and work days
  • Ability to travel on short notice
  • Familiarity with FAA Certification processes and procedures a plus
  • Familiarity with UAS systems is also desired
  • Must be able to obtain and maintain government (DoD) clearance

To Apply:

For full position description, and to apply, please visit https://careers.ll.mit.edu and search using requisition #25488 

For Benefits Information, click http://hrweb.mit.edu/benefits

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, veteran status, disability status, or genetic information; U.S. citizenship is required.