Test Pilot participants

 

The inaugural week-long Flight Test Course jointly run by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) has been hailed as a ‘huge success’ by participants. The first crop of students awarded the course full marks at the end of the programme on Friday 10 June. The course was the initiative of CAA Senior Test Pilot, Chris Taylor, who had previously taught at the Empire Test Pilots’ School.

The course, run from Turweston aerodrome near Brackley, teaches the basics of stability and control with four dedicated sorties on three very different light aircraft - Optica, Sprint and Eurostar - which had been lent to the course for the week. The whole spectrum of test flying is covered and additional lectures and tutorials include report writing, stalling, spinning, take-off and landing, risk assessments and risk management.

Summing up the achievements of the first intake, Chris Taylor said: “Although challenged by some blustery and showery weather we managed to complete the course on schedule, within budget, with students and tutors enjoying themselves immensely throughout. It was an excellent first course with the motivation of students and staff significant factors in the course’s success. I am now looking forward to expanding the material to include autogyros and weight shift aircraft for next year.”

The course enjoys the added benefit of some highly experienced tutors, including CAA Chief Test Pilot, Paul Mulcahy; ex CAA Senior Test Pilot, Dan Griffith; and LAA Chief Engineer, Francis Donaldson. Charles Prophet, CAA Flight Test Engineer, gave additional tutorials and the LAA’s Andy Draper managed the aircraft fleet to keep the course on track.

The course was also supported by guest lecturer Dodge Bailey, Chief Test Pilot of Cranfield Aerospace and Chief Pilot of the Shuttleworth Collection who delivered a first-hand account of the flight test issues he has encountered, particularly with testing World War One vintage aircraft.

Feedback from participants revealed an appreciation of the uniqueness of the course, particularly in having access to such unusual aircraft. Instruction from four highly qualified test pilots with a wealth of flight test experience from the Airbus A380 to a Sikorsky S92 helicopter, Cirrus and Columbia high tech singles and a multitude of home-builts and microlights, was also widely appreciated.

It is expected that the course will be run twice a year, with the 2012 courses including instruction (and practical flight evaluations) on autogyro and weight shift aircraft testing.

 

Full article from LA magazine can be found here