U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School graduates Class 08A

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The U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School Class 08A graduated in a ceremony at the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter hangar Dec. 13.

The school's 149th class received a Master of Science in Flight Engineering degree upon completion of this course.

Class 08A consisted of 10 test pilots, nine flight test engineers and one test navigator from the United States, France, Italy and Taiwan.

Each student has completed more than 2,500 hours of academics and approximately 120 hours of in-flight training -- each student puts in about six hours per day of instructor contact time, not including academic and flight preparation time.

During the final six months of the year at TPS, students demonstrated knowledge of curriculum objectives through the planning and execution of test management projects. Class 08A's TMPs were:

AT BAT consisted of flight test research into pilot behavior during tracking tasks in the presence of boundaries. The results were used to mathematically model pilots in these situations and to correlate the aircraft performance in these situations to pilot opinions of the aircraft. The team members included Maj. Ryan Blake, Republic of China air force Maj. Julian Lee, Capt. Nancy Baccheschi, Capt. Glenn Cooley and Capt. Chris Keithley.

The LCOcho test team conducted limit cycle oscillation testing to evaluate the effects of different AIM-9 variants on LCO characteristics. LCO is a self-sustained airframe structural response resulting from interaction of the aeroelastic properties of the airframe and the aerodynamic effects of the flight conditions. The team members included Maj. Iain Ferguson, Maj. Ted Meek, Navy Lt. Doug Hool, Capt. Joe McKenna and Capt Les Snodgrass.

Ocho Lift was an investigation of wing fences on a T-38 Talon. Effects on lift, handling qualities and flow characteristics were evaluated. The team members included Maj. Michael Williams, Maj. Jonathan Dietrich, Italian air force Capt. Gian Luca Greco, Capt. Joshua Schneider and Capt. Matthew Wroten.

Senior RASCAL involved compatibility flight testing and payload environmental characterization for the Reconfigurable Airborne Sensor, Communications and Laser pods. The pod was certified for flight carriage via precise maneuvers at high g and Mach conditions. The interior of the pod was instrumented with accelerometers, temperature and pressure sensors, and a video camera to define build specifications for future payloads. The team members included French air force Maj. Olivier Borde, Capt. David Kern, Capt. Jeff LaFleur, Capt Eric Schultz and Eric Schutte.

Each student has been trained to lead members of a flight test team in the latest methods of flight testing, systems evaluation and test management, while instilling the cooperation and understanding between test team members necessary for successful flight test operations.