What It Takes to Be a Test Pilot

From my childhood, I always loved challenges. Doing non-challenging activities always left me bored. I was always curious. I wanted to test and ascertain the reasons why things happened the way they do. This eventually developed in me a curiosity about airplanes. I wanted to become a pilot and understand how a plane is operated. On joining this profession, I still yearned for a challenge. I did not want to be a mere pilot. I would do well with the most challenging aspect of this profession. I resorted to becoming a test pilot because this was a career that would challenge me greatly. However, not many people understand who a test pilot is and what entails this highly challenging career. I will therefore try to give light to this.

Unlike other pilots, test pilots are those pilots whose special role is to make experimentation flights of new planes or planes that have been modified (Hallion, 1988). After having tested the new plane, they usually write long technical reports on what they have experienced concerning the plane and its designed purpose. It is upon the test pilots to ascertain that the planes are safe and capable before they are given brought to public use. This means that becoming a test pilot involves becoming knowledgeable not only in flying but also having insight into the way planes operate. This knowledge is very important because one has to identify the purpose of the plane and test it and write a technical report concerning its ability to carry out the desired function. A test pilot, therefore, has to be an expert in the handling of planes while at the same time having exemplary abilities in observing, reasoning, and persuading (Edwards Air Force Base, 2009).

There are two inlets in joining this profession. One can become a test pilot after gaining enough experience as a pilot and secondly, one can become a test pilot due to his aeronautic engineering background. In addition, one can become a civilian test pilot who usually works in the aerospace industry and gets his way to this career through an aircraft company. On the other hand, one can be a military test pilot by being selected by the army he serves. On several occasions, experienced pilots are selected from different ranks in the army then taken to specialized training schools where they are taught these test piloting skills (Volstad, 1998).

Becoming a civilian test pilot might be an affair that develops from childhood. It involves the study of advanced mathematics and sciences in high school and also skills of good communication. Communication is necessary because test pilots play the role of making reports on the planes’ systems and also making an analysis of the test result. These are then presented verbally before high-level management teams. An aspiring test pilot must also demonstrate a high interest in aviation by reading a lot of material concerning this field (Bhargava, 2007). Later, one must take flying lessons, before advancing to aeronautical engineering or one could take aerospace engineering. It is also compulsory for one to join a flight school and become a licensed pilot. This is important because one’s experience in handling planes is a requirement in the profession of test pilot. Finally, one can advance his skills by enrolling in advanced flying training as a test pilot. This takes 11 months. It should also be noted that a test pilot must be a person in good physical condition with outstanding motor skills and exemplary judgment and response speed. These will be essential requirements to become a test pilot (ehow, 2009).

In conclusion, the mentioned is what entails the profession of a test pilot. It is a challenging career that needs skills in almost every aspect of human life including technology skills, communication skills, and motor skills. It also requires business administration knowledge because a test pilot must have leadership and management skills.

Works cited

Bhargava, Kapil. “What a Test Pilot Does.” Indian Air Force Platinum Jubilee. 2007. Web.

Edwards Air Force Base. “US Air Force Test Pilot School.” 2009. Web.

E-how. “How to Become a Test Pilot.” 2009. Web.

Hallion, Richard. Test Pilots: Frontiersmen of Flight. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Press, 1988.

Volstad, Eric. “Test Pilot Stuff.” 1998.

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