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TPS Class 17B graduates sending 26 new flight testers into world

U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School Class 17B poses in front of the X-15 hypersonic rocket plane in March 2018. The class graduated June 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kyle Larson)

U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School Class 17B poses in front of the X-15 hypersonic rocket plane in March 2018. The class graduated June 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kyle Larson)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

United States Air Force Test Pilot School Class 17B stood proudly before friends, families, base leadership and fellow testers in Hangar 1623 as they received their Master of Science Degree in Flight Test Engineering June 8. As each graduate crossed the stage they received the graduate plaque from TPS, the diploma from Air University and the graduate coin.

The graduation is the culmination of an intense, 48-week program that included more than 2,500 hours of academics and approximately 120 hours of in-flight training; transforming top operational pilots, navigators and engineers into elite flight test professionals.

Students from Italy and Israel were among the mostly U.S. Air Force class. For their master’s degrees, the students demonstrated learning by planning and executing real-world test management projects, which formed the foundation for their thesis.

The guest speaker was TPS graduate Col. Jack Fischer, chief of the Space Operations Division for Air Force Space Command. Fischer spent nine years with NASA as an astronaut, which included 136 days in space. He recently returned to the Air Force May 31. He presented Class 17B a flag that was taken to space and recounted how he spoke with the students from the International Space Station.

“You have a skillset that can make a huge impact on the aerospace community and any acquisition program, anywhere,” said Fischer. “You all are comfortable being uncomfortable; you push the boundaries. You can apply your knowledge and experience to translate those requirements that the engineers use to build and create the capabilities the warfighters use to fight.”

Class 17A graduates join more than 3,000 alumni including 100-plus general officers and 60 astronauts.

Test programs across the Air Force Test Center and beyond integrate TPS graduates into test teams to shape the technology and weapon systems of the future for the Air Force, sister services and allied nations.

  TPS CLASS 17B GRADUATES 

 Capt. Erin Alt

 

Maj. Charles Brantigan

 

Maj. Miguel Carrera

 

Maj. Catherine Chappell

 

Maj. Dustin Duke

 

Maj. Yehuda Eldan (Israel)

 

1st Lt. Dario Esposito (Italy)

 

Capt. Neil Grigsby

 

Capt. David Guerrero

 

Maj. Brian Heemstra

 

Capt. Stephen Jude

 

Maj. Jared Krueger

 

Maj. John Kryzak

 

Capt. James Lancaster

 

Capt. Nathan McCaskey

 

Capt. David Meyn

 

Capt. Matthew Niemiec

 

Ms. Jessica Peterson

 

Capt. Andrew Rexford

 

Maj. Michael Riddick

 

Maj. Jason Schulze

 

Capt. Jonathan Tellefsen

 

Capt. Kevin Tinsley

 

Capt. Jennifer Yeom

 

Capt. Andrew Burns (National Test Pilot School)

 

Capt. Rich Agbeyibor (École du personnel navigant d'essais et de reception in France)

 

 

 

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