The UK’s Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) is to branch out into the commercial sector next year, with new short courses planned for operators of widebody airliners and unmanned air vehicles.

Managed by Qinetiq on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence, the ETPS facility at Boscombe Down in southern England is more traditionally associated with the international military test pilot community, but has recently sought to diversify into new business areas.

Two civil airworthiness flight testing courses will take place during 2006 based on the Airbus A340 and Boeing 777 designs, says ETPS project manager Helen Wright. Each three-day course will provide classroom and simulator-based instruction to pilots and engineers involved in airworthiness and acceptance testing for airlines.

Key course elements will include preparing students for flight-test aspects such as weight balance, instrumentation, safety and modification approval, and in conducting flight-control tests under a variety of conditions, including engines inoperative and high angle of attack. The objective is to enable graduates to prepare a company flight-test manual, says Wright.

Two-week unmanned air vehicle operator courses are expected to take place next April and October, with each likely to involve up to 12 students experienced in flight testing. The course will look at the unique requirements of operating unmanned air vehicles, says Wright. Students could expect to conduct practical visits to UK ranges as part of the process, she says.


Source: Flight International