HomeUnitsUSAFTPS

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.

CY2022 Space Test Fundamentals Program

Space Test Fundamentals Program

1.  USAF Test Pilot School (TPS) is currently accepting applications for individuals to attend the Space Test Fundamentals Course. This is an approximately 4-month hands-on program to train personnel in the fundamentals of space domain test and evaluation as part of the USSF effort to increase the trained cadre of T&E professionals. The suspense for all application packages is 23 Aug 2021.

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

3.  Eligibility Criteria

  • Undergraduate Space Training *OR* Relevant Undergraduate Degree *OR* 2 years of relevant space operations/ac1uisition/engineering experience
  • Undergraduate calculus (CCAF courses, or equivalent, are acceptable)
  • Local commander or director endorsement
  • Active TS/SCI Clearance

4.  Application Procedures

Electronic submission is required; contact USAF TPS at USAFTPS.STF.Applications@us.af.mil if unable to provide transcripts as part of the file. The formal PSDM can be found at MyPers at: https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/50929. Applicants will submit three electronic files containing the following documents to USAFTPS.STF.Applications@us.af.mil:

  • Application form with local commander/director endorsement; saved with the following naming convention:  “LastName_FirstName_STF_CY22_File1.pdf”
  • Applicants will also provide a current SURF, latest OPR/EPR/Appraisal, and transcripts showing completion of educational pre-requisites. Informal transcripts are acceptable. The file will be named using following convention: “LastName_FirstName_STF_CY22_File2.pdf”

Military applicants will also provide documentation of career field release to attend the training. There is no required format for the Release. A copy of a simple email from the applicable AFPC career manager will suffice.  The file will be named using the following convention: “LastName_FirstName_STF_CY22_Release.pdf”

5.  Application Timeline (all dates tentative)

  • 23 Aug 2021:  Applications due to TPS
  • 9 Sep 2021:  Selection Board
  • 15 Oct 2021: Final selections are completed and published
  • 10 Jan 2022:  Class STF 22-1 class begins
  • 11 Jul 2022: Class STF 22-2 class begins

6.  Send all questions to USAFTPS.STF.Applications@us.af.mil.

Space Test Fundamentals FAQs

Announcements

TPS Board

Applications are now being accepted for the USAF Test Pilot School (Test Falcon) Selection Board, which will convene on 26 -30 July 2021.  Please refer to PSDM 21-15, dated 9 February 21, for instructions on how to apply on MyPers.  Applications must be submitted to AFMC/A3F.  Suspense for all applications and waiver requests is NLT 1600 EDT on 16 April 2021.  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 2021:

February 2021 - USAF Test Pilot School Selection Board announcement is released in a PSDM calling for applications with a deadline in June for classes beginning in July 2022 (22B) and January 2023 (23A).

April 2021 - USAF Test Pilot School applications are due as specified in the PSDM.

July 2021 - Selection Board members convene to choose top candidates to attend the Comprehensive Candidate Evaluation Program (CCEP) at TPS.

October 2021 - CCEP events occur at TPS to make final selections of candidates admitted to TPS.

December 2021- Final selection results for both 22B and 23A are posted on MyPers.

The only firm date at this point is the application submission closeout date of 16 April 2021.  All others are still subject to change.  Updated dates will be posted here.

Notes:

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 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 2021

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.