Comment DEVENIR PILOTE D’ESSAIS ?
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Comment DEVENIR PILOTE D’ESSAIS ?

January 24, 2020


We are the 27th of April 2005. This is the day which for the first time the Airbus A380 registered F-WWOW takes off from Toulouse Blagnac airport. Onboard two test Pilots Captains : Claude Lelaie and Jacques Rosay and four test flight engineers. For these specialists, the peak of their career but also the result of an outstanding academic and professional background. Hi everyone, my name is Nicolas. I hope you are doing well. Today we are going to discuss together how to become a test Pilot in an airplane or an helicopter. Test Pilot is a dream job. They are very few to do this job. In France you have to attend the EPNER school, the “Ecole du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception”. It is a DGA school, the “Direction Générale de l’Armement”, which has been created in 1946 in Brétigny sur Orge and moved to Istres, south of France, in 1962. This School trains the entire Professionals dedicated to flight tests : Pilots, onboard Engineers, ground Engineers and Air Traffic Controllers as well. It offers courses in both French and English, short or 1-year long, to prepare these careers. It is nice to know that there are 7 other Schools in the world approved to train flight test Professionals. There are 3 in USA, 1 in UK, 1 in Brazil, 1 in India and last but not least 1 in Russia. So how to do? How to succeed? How to make sure you are going to pass the exams to be test Pilot? I recommend three things : first start by getting a Master of Science in aerospace. If we take again the example of the A380 maiden flight, Claude Lelaie graduates from SUPAERO, Jacques Rosay holds an MSc of the “Ecole de l’air” and Gérard Desbois who was the third man, the onboard Engineer in the cockpit seat, is an ENAC Alumni. If we go a little bit further and we consider the ground test professionals, one of the Chief Engineer during this A380 first flight was Stéphane Gaillard who graduates from IPSA. So it is very important to start by getting a Master of Science in aerospace. Then try to make a fighter Pilot career. 99% of the test Pilots are from Air Force or Navy. Very few comes from civilian world, I mean airline Pilot business. I personally heard only one time of an Airbus test Pilot who was a former Lufthansa Airline Pilot. Last but not least try to fly on as many aircrafts as possible, and as soon as possible I mean even when you are a Private Pilot beginner. Why? Because one of the particularity of the test Pilot job is to be able to adapt yourself as fast as possible to a new type of aircraft you don’t know. So the more you have a technical background on many aircrafts, the more when you will fly a prototype you will be able to feel the strengths and the weaknesses of the aeroplane. If you are test Pilot and currently watching this movie, please do not hesitate to share your background, your past, in the comments below. We will be very happy to read you. Thank you very much for having watched this movie, see you soon for the next one, take care, ciao

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