Welcome to SETP
National Test Pilot School - WASC Accreditation
USNTPS 75th Anniversary Fly-in
The Hiller X-18 / Fairchild C-123 / History of the Shorts Company / Future of Air Power (National Aerospace Library Sound Archive)
For your information a 2006 sound recording of Dr. Don Richardson HonFAIAA HonFRAeS in which he recollects on the parallel evolution of the Hiller X-18 / Fairchild C-123 has just been added to the National Aerospace Library Sound Archive - a real 'Who's Who' of aviation personalities and historical subjects based on original recordings held in the Library's archives - and is now available to listen to via the Royal Aeronautical Society's SoundCloud web-site :-
The specific link to the video / sound recording is (just click on the arrow button to 'Play'):-
Dr. Richardson' lecture has been released alongside recordings of a 2007 lecture by Sir Brian Burridge FRAeS in which he reviews the future direction of air power requirements and a 2009 lecture by Gordon Bruce FRAeS in which he describes the long aviation history of the Shorts company.
A quick link to the historic lectures and speeches available so far (including Sir Frederick Handley Page, Igor Sikorsky, Jeffrey Quill, Peter Twiss, Charles H. Gibbs-Smith, Andrew Brookes, Silvius Dornier, Sir Richard Glazebrook, Commander Graeme Rowan-Thomson, Keith Hayward, Sir Dermot Boyle, Philip Wills, Chris Yeo, Captain John Cecil Kelly-Rogers, Col. Al Worden, Peter Hearne, Sir George Edwards, Captain John Cecil Kelly-Rogers, John Farley, A. W. 'Bill' Bedford, H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, Christopher Bartlett, Andy Sephton, Dr. Ron Smith, A. R. Collar, Sir Vernon Brown, Air Commodore F. R. 'Rod' Banks, L. S. Snaith, Mike Hirst, Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de La Ferte, Air Marshal Sir Victor Goddard, Sir Peter Masefield, Alan Mulally, Sir Charles Masefield and Sir Ralph Robins) is:-
February 2020, President's Message
To the Society,
I’m happy to say that I have a lot to report; we have released the brakes on several initiatives and I’ll let you know when they are airborne.
For now, here’s an update starting with my initiatives regarding test pilot ethics, lessons-learned, and the question “Just what is a Test Pilot?”
A few months ago we prepared a draft code of ethics that was revised and improved upon by a committee headed by Rogers Smith. The draft is in the final stages of review by the voting members of the Board of Directors and I hope to present the adopted version to the Society by the end of February. Your Board of Directors’ intent is to publish an SETP Code of Professional Ethics that captures the ethics lessons repeatedly learned by flight test professionals, and present them in a way that members may readily remind themselves—and others—of their ethical obligations as test pilots.
We know that lessons-learned are easy to present but difficult to instill. This truth is depressingly apparent when symposium presenters regularly joke about “lessons re-learned.” Before written language, lessons-learned were passed by word-of-mouth and very limited in scope and complexity; stories like “Aesop’s Fables” can only take you so far. Written language changed everything, including how lessons were learned. Even in the information age, when more than 90% of bandwidth is dedicated to video and music streaming, search engines almost exclusively rely on text. If you want your lessons to be applied you need to write them down or—better yet—institutionalize them by changing the rules at the right level. With this in mind, one of the bullets from the draft Code of Professional Ethics is “Incorporate lessons-learned into future practice, and share them when appropriate.”
At my request, Greg Lewis has put together a team to look at finding ways to durably learn lessons. You can expect a change to the qualifications for the Tenhoff award and the way submitted papers are graded that will likely affect other awards in the future. We are also looking at ways to capture peer-reviewed lessons in a more organized fashion than a lessons-learned database. For now, I believe we need to put the emphasis on institutionalization of lessons-learned at the appropriate organizational level and on ensuring that they may be found by researchers on our website.
If you read the Call for Papers for the Annual Symposium, you probably noticed that submission of a manuscript for publication will be required for Ray E. Tenhoff Award eligibility. (According to our Constitution, the Tenhoff is awarded for the “best all around presentation of a paper.”) In this respect we are returning to the recent past when manuscripts were submitted for 80% or more of the Annual Symposium presentations—a number that nose-dived to less than 10% in the decade since we stopped publishing The Proceedings. With full-text search capability now available on the SETP website, written manuscripts will be much more likely to be found by fellow members conducting research. There is some concern that this requirement—again, only for Tenhoff Award eligibility—will significantly reduce submissions. I believe that it will enhance the overall quality of our submissions and the actual value of the presentations.
Although effectively sharing lessons-learned at symposia is important, it is crucial that we strive to incorporate them into future practice. A lesson-learned is the result of a deficiency in knowledge—whether personal or organizational. If you find a deficiency during flight test, the best way to correct it is to fix the system and eliminate the deficiency. The worst way to correct it is to warn end-users with a briefing. We must strive to correct organizational deficiencies by correcting the system at the appropriate level, not just passing the existence of the deficiency on to fellow test pilots with a paper or presentation. I hope that in future symposia we’ll hear more about how lessons-learned were institutionalized—and can be institutionalized—and not just about how they were learned.
We currently define “Test Pilot” with the membership criteria expressed in our Constitution and guided by the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) approved over the years by the Board of Directors. The design space provided by the Constitution is surprisingly large, with much of our assumed membership requirements actually residing in the SOPs. For instance, the “12 counter rule” is an SOP requirement meant to meet the constitutional mandate that Members have “not less than one year in experimental or developmental flight testing.” At this point, all of our work has been discussing options and interpretations to allow reasonable changes within the requirements of the Constitution. Hopefully I’ll have more news in the months to come.
To all of you, thank you so much for your mentorship, your fellowship, your inspiration, and your trust. I am committed to making the most of this year by improving our Society in substantial ways, but the Society of Experimental Test Pilots is what it is because of the membership and what we all do! Please stay active and involved and help us grow into the future.
“Evil” Bill Gray (F)
National Test Pilot School Graduation December 2019
On Friday December 13th, 2019 The National Test Pilot School celebrated the graduation of the Test Pilot and Flight Test Engineer Professional Course 2019A. The graduation culminates an intensive year of academics and flight test training in aircraft performance, handling qualities, and systems. The graduates were: Flight Lieutenant Dylan Banning, Royal Australian Air Force; Captain Waldo Britz, Australian Army; Captain James Flawith, Australian Army; Flight Lieutenant Andrew Gill, Royal Australian Air Force; Flight Lieutenant David Kennedy, Royal Australian Air Force; Major Raz Rosenberg, Israeli Air Force. The graduates were awarded Experimental Flight Test or Flight Test Engineering Certificates and Masters’ degrees in Flight Test and Evaluation or Flight Test Engineering. The graduates will return to their home countries and start their careers in flight testing. The National Test Pilot School also celebrated Mr. Jacob Varnus for completing the NTPS Graduate Assistant Program. Jacob received a Flight Test Engineering Certificate and Master’s Degree in Flight Test Engineering and has accepted a position with the Space Ship Company, right here in Mojave.
The National Test Pilot School (NTPS) is a not-for-profit civilian educational institution located and incorporated in the State of California. The School was established in 1981 to meet the flight test training needs of both the US and international aerospace communities. NTPS students and customers come from a variety of backgrounds including military organizations, aerospace industry, governments, certification agencies, and even private citizens. NTPS is accredited by ABET, the first test pilot in the world to be certified by European Aviation Safety Agency, and is recognized by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
The mission of the National Test Pilot School is to educate and train military and civilian aviation personnel so that each graduate increases flight test competency, improves flight test and aviation safety, and enhances the aerospace profession world-wide. Our mission is primarily accomplished through our professional courses and master’s programs that provide graduate level flight test education and training to test pilots and flight test engineers who learn to safely and effectively plan, execute, and report on flight test programs for their military or civilian organizations. Our mission is further accomplished through NTPS' continuing education programs, flight test-related research programs, and flight test support activities that increase competency, safety, and the breadth of knowledge in the aviation and flight test professions.
Sir George Edwards / Sir Ralph Robins / Sir Charles Masefield (National Aerospace Library Sound Archive)
For your information a historic 1973 sound recording of Sir George Edwards HonFRAeS in which he recollects on the how the British aircraft industry evolved during his long career in aviation has just been added to the National Aerospace Library Sound Archive - a real 'Who's Who' of aviation personalities and historical subjects based on original recordings held in the Library's archives - and is now available to listen to via the Royal Aeronautical Society's SoundCloud web-site :-
The specific link to the video / sound recording is (just click on the arrow button to 'Play'):-
Sir George Edwards' lecture has been released alongside recordings of the 1997 Inaugural Whittle Lecture lecture by Sir Ralph Robins in which he discusses the legacy of Sir Frank Whittle and a 1997 lecture by Sir Charles Masefield in which reviews the future direction of European aerospace collaboration beginning with his personal selection of the 16 most significant aircraft platforms in aviation history.
Annual Flight Test Seminar Hosted by ITPS
ITPS hosted the Annual Flight Test Seminar on 12-13 December 2019. It was a great event well attended and fully in the spirit of sharing experiences and lessons learned in different flight test programs.
Click the link below to read the full article on the event!