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USAFTPS

Welcome to the Home Page of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School

The United States Air Force Test Pilot School (USAF TPS) is where the Air Force's top pilots, navigators and engineers learn how to conduct flight test and generate the data needed to carry out test missions. Human lives and millions of dollars depend upon how carefully a test mission is planned and flown.

The comprehensive curriculum of Test Pilot School is fundamental to the success of flight test and evaluation. Upon graduating from TPS, graduates will have earned a Master of Science Degree in Flight Test Engineering. Explore the tabs and links below to find out more.

About TPS

What TPS Is All About...

The fundamental key to success in aerospace flight test and evaluation is the individual member of the flight test team: the flight test pilot, of course, but nowadays the trained flight test engineer and navigator as well. Without him - and increasingly, her - the fundamental work of the Air Force Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base would literally be impossible.

Bravery and flying skills of the highest order have always been requirements for the flight test mission, but much more is demanded of today's flight test professionals: scientific and engineering knowledge, critical and reasoned judgment, and managerial skills of the first order. A well-devised flight test program, skillfully carried out, calls forth the absolute performance of the aircraft and its associated systems. Finding the people who are capable of planning and flying such a program is not easy, nor is the process automatic.

Contrary to the romanticized view of old Hollywood films, test pilots are not "born" to their talents - they are painstakingly made. Natural ability in the air is necessary, of course, but a delicate touch on the controls and absolute precision on the air are needed - not slapdash bravado.

The test pilot will be following carefully-crafted flight profiles, not daring aerial maneuvers. They must be taught to handle his airplane with extraordinary precision: to control their airspeed to the nearest knot, and their altitude virtually to the foot--every time. Beyond this, the student test pilot must have a natural affinity for mechanical systems, an ability to "feel" the airplane and have a well-honed sense of what is happening at any given time. Mature and reasoned judgment is also vital - human lives, and millions of dollars, depend upon how carefully a test mission is planned and flown. But all of these skills would be useless without knowledge and training - systematic training in gathering flight data, and then interpreting it. Minutes spent in precision flying must be matched by hours of painstaking effort at computers, in the library, and around the conference table.

It is obvious that in the world of flight testing, there simply is no room for "second best." That is why the Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS) takes such pains to make certain that its graduates are the equal to any in their profession.

USAF Test Pilot School Space Test Course

USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) is currently accepting applications for individuals to attend the Space Test Course.  This is an approximately 5-month hands-on program to educate personnel in space domain test and evaluation as part of the USSF effort to increase the trained cadre of T&E professionals.  

The mission of the Space Test Course is to produce adaptive, critical-thinking test professionals to conduct full-spectrum test and evaluation of space-domain systems. The curriculum is designed to provide students with tailored education covering test planning, test execution, analysis, and reporting. In addition to test foundational material, students will receive instruction and practical experience covering mission systems, as well as domain science topics such as orbital mechanics and space environment. This is intended to provide the student with the broad base of technical knowledge to prepare them for future T&E projects that span a variety of technical areas.

Training will include test processes applicable to both developmental and operational space test; and include classroom, laboratory, and open-air events. Oral and/or written reports will be included in each module.

Fieldtrips are taken to organizations engaged in developing, testing, and producing aerospace vehicles and equipment.

The suspense for all application packages is 10 Aug 2022.

The program is open to all Department of Defense officers, enlisted and civilian personnel who meet the eligibility criteria.  

Eligibility Criteria

Applicants (Officers, Enlisted, and Civilians) must meet all eligibility requirements outlined below. All career fields may apply. Members of other services may apply.

  • 13S and 5S applicants must have 2 years of Combat Mission Ready (CMR) experience in an operational unit.
  • BS Degree in Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics with a GPA of 2.5 or better (4.0 scale), or

a) Applicants not meeting the degree requirements will still be considered eligible provided they have completed undergraduate courses in: Calculus I, Calculus II, Physics I, and Physics II with a combined GPA of 2.5 or better for these four courses (4.0 scale).

  • (Mil) Spec4 to TSgt Enlisted & 2d Lt to Maj Officer; 2-14 years of government service
  • (Civ) GS-13 (or equiv) & below; 2+ years of service
  • Active TS/SCI Clearance
  • Commander and up to one other recommendation will be required

Application Procedures

The formal PSDM with full application information can be found at https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/52766.

Application Timeline

  • 10 August 2022:  Applications due to TPS
  • 17-18 August 2022:  Selection Board
  • 19 September 2022: Final selections are completed and published
  • 9 January 2023:  Class STF 23-1 class begins (tentative)
  • 10 July 2023: Class STF 23-2 class begins (tentative)

Direct questions regarding applications or selection to USAF TPS at USAFTPS.STF.Applications@us.af.mil and/or USSF Talent Management Board at HQ.USSF.Talentmgmtboard@spaceforce.mil.

Space Test Fundamentals FAQs

Announcements

TPS Board

Applications are now being accepted for the USAF Test Pilot School (Test Falcon) Selection Board.  Please refer to PSDM 22-17, dated 8 March 2022, for instructions on how to apply on MyVector.  Applications must be submitted to AFMC/A3F that way.  Suspense for all applications and waiver requests is NLT 1600 EDT on 27 May 2022.  Applications received after the cut-off date will not be considered.  Applicants must use the new forms attached to the PSDM rather than the forms posted on the Air Force e-Publishing website from previous years.

Annual application process and timeline for year 2022:

8 March 2022 - USAF Test Pilot School Selection Board announcement has been released in PSDM 22-17 calling for applications with a deadline in June for classes beginning in July 2023 (23B) and January 2024 (24A).

27 May 2022 – Deadline for USAF Test Pilot School applications

6 June 2022 – Deadline for endorser Inputs

July 2022 – Selection Board members convene to choose top candidates to attend the Comprehensive Candidate Evaluation Program (CCEP) at TPS

August 2022 – Applicants will be notified whether they have been selected for further evaluation

October 2022 – CCEP events will occur at USAF TPS, Edwards AFB, CA, to make the final selections of candidates admitted to USAFTPS, USNTPS, EPNER/ETPS

December 2022 – Final selection results for both 23B and 24A will be posted on MyPers via PSDM

The only firm date at this point are marked in bold.  All others are still subject to change.  Updated dates will be posted here.

Notes:

The 2022 TPS Selection board process has been migrated to MyVector. There are numerous changes to the application process from previous boards.  The instructions in this PSDM supersede all other instructions for applying to TPS.  Please read all instructions carefully.  AFMC/A3F will publish other information and announcements related to the 2022 TPS Selection Board on the SharePoint page located at the following URL: https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/TPSTestFalcon.  Direct all questions to AFMC/A3F using the contact information provided at the end of the PSDM.

The U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School selection board convenes annually in July.  Those interested in becoming a test pilot, test combat systems officer, test remotely piloted aircraft pilot or flight test engineer are encouraged to apply.  Applicants from all aircraft types and backgrounds must have strong academic and technical experience.

Detailed information about the application and selection process may be viewed in the PSDM 22-17 and at AFI 99-107.

PhD Program

TPS is soliciting application packages to select officers for the TPS Faculty-Pipeline PhD program. This opportunity is available to all active duty Air Force graduates of a formal military test pilot school. For instructions on how to apply and specifics on eligibility, click herePackage Suspense 31 Jul 2022

Alumni Page

To update your Alumni information, please send a message to USAFTPS.Alumni.Alumni@us.af.mil with the e-mail subject “Alumni Update.”

To register on the new USAF TPS Alumni website, please send an e-mail to admin@usaftpsalumni.com with your given name and TPS class number. The site is located at https://www.usaftpsalumni.com/

Accreditation

USAFTPS is authorized by Air University to award the Master of Flight Test Engineering to eligible candidates.

Contact Us

Admissions

For a list of questions and answers on Admissions requirements, click here.

For additional Admissions information, click here.