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Test pilot

yolotuber

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Hi all,

I can't find any information on how to get a test pilot slot in RCAF once trained as a pilot. The only thing I know is that I need to study in the STEM field and have my wings and being a good pilot. Would anyone on this forum give me more in-depth requirement or career path example?

Thank you ! 
 

SupersonicMax

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Hi.  I am currently a Test Pilot at AETE.  I have a Mech Eng degree from RMC and flew/fly the Hornet operationally.  After my Hornet course, I did 6 years operationally before going to Test Pilot School.  You need 1,000 hrs total time, flight lead or AC category and preferably a STEM degree.  After you apply, you’ll be administered a math exam.  Pass mark is 70%.  The intent is to make sure the the candidates have the drive to get back in the books and teach themselves again.  After the math exam, a board decides which candidates to invite to an in-person evaluation.  The in-person evaluation consists of flight test academics, four flights (most likely in aircraft you haven’t flown - to test your adaptability), technical report writing and oral presentation on test results.  If you are successful you will then be placed in a pool of successful candidates waiting for a course.  To be placed on a course, we need money (~$2M for one candidate), a slot at one of the recognized schools (5 in the world for us) and the proper candidate with the proper background for our requirements. That is a lot of stars to align but it should not discourage you to strive for it.  I went through the US Naval Test Pilot School and it was the best and most rewarding year of my life.  I flew 25 types in a year (helicopters, fighters (F/A-18E/F, F-16 Block 40, F-15E, Mirage 2000D, Mirage 2000N), transport, sailplanes, formally qualified on 3 types.  It was an incredible amount of work (lots of academics, lots of test planning, test flying and a lot of test reporting).  To give you an idea, my final project test plan was 92 pages, my final test report was 135 pages for 6 hours of flying.  After test pilot school, you will owe 5 years to the CAF and it assumed these 5 years will be at AETE.
 

Jarnhamar

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SupersonicMax said:
Hi.  I am currently a Test Pilot at AETE.  I have a Mech Eng degree from RMC and flew/fly the Hornet operationally.  After my Hornet course, I did 6 years operationally before going to Test Pilot School.  You need 1,000 hrs total time, flight lead or AC category and preferably a STEM degree.  After you apply, you’ll be administered a math exam.  Pass mark is 70%.  The intent is to make sure the the candidates have the drive to get back in the books and teach themselves again.  After the math exam, a board decides which candidates to invite to an in-person evaluation.  The in-person evaluation consists of flight test academics, four flights (most likely in aircraft you haven’t flown - to test your adaptability), technical report writing and oral presentation on test results.  If you are successful you will then be placed in a pool of successful candidates waiting for a course.  To be placed on a course, we need money (~$2M for one candidate), a slot at one of the recognized schools (5 in the world for us) and the proper candidate with the proper background for our requirements. That is a lot of stars to align but it should not discourage you to strive for it.  I went through the US Naval Test Pilot School and it was the best and most rewarding year of my life.  I flew 25 types in a year (helicopters, fighters (F/A-18E/F, F-16 Block 40, F-15E, Mirage 2000D, Mirage 2000N), transport, sailplanes, formally qualified on 3 types.  It was an incredible amount of work (lots of academics, lots of test planning, test flying and a lot of test reporting).  To give you an idea, my final project test plan was 92 pages, my final test report was 135 pages for 6 hours of flying.  After test pilot school, you will owe 5 years to the CAF and it assumed these 5 years will be at AETE.

That's incredible. What's your top 3 favorite aircraft to fly? Whats the worst?
 

brihard

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Jarnhamar said:
That's incredible. What's your top 3 favorite aircraft to fly? Whats the worst?

What was the weirdest/most unusual?
 

dimsum

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SupersonicMax said:
After test pilot school, you will owe 5 years to the CAF and it assumed these 5 years will be at AETE.

Forget the "weirdest/wackiest aircraft you flew" - the most important question is if AETE is actually moving to Ottawa from Cold Lake.  ;)
 

SupersonicMax

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Jarnhamar said:
That's incredible. What's your top 3 favorite aircraft to fly? Whats the worst?

I really enjoyed the Mirage 2000, F-15E and the UH-60.

Worst aircraft from a handling point of view were the MiG-15 and the B-25.  Both had a lot of friction and freeplay in the controls, along with really heavy flight controls (and a quirky wheel brake and ground steering system)

Most unusual were the HU-16 Albatross (flying boat) and a Learjet 25 with fly by wire that could be reprogrammed on the fly to handle any way you wanted.

AETE is opening a detachment in Ottawa this summer.  All test pilots and flight test engineers will be relocated to Ottawa.
 

daftandbarmy

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SupersonicMax said:
AETE is opening a detachment in Ottawa this summer.  All test pilots and flight test engineers will be relocated to Ottawa.

I guess that explains the spike in online orders for sexy lingerie :)
 

Crimmsy

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SupersonicMax said:
AETE is opening a detachment in Ottawa this summer.  All test pilots and flight test engineers will be relocated to Ottawa.

That should certainly help with recruitment. Glad to hear it's finally happening for you guys.

Incidentally, I was leaving Cold Lake in 2008 and my buddy who was an FTE told me to get my house listed quickly, as the announcement of the move was "imminent" and there would be a few hundred more properties being listed as soon as the announcement was made. Twelve years later, here we are.
 

BeyondTheNow

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SupersonicMax said:
Hi.  I am currently a Test Pilot at AETE.  I have a Mech Eng degree from RMC and flew/fly the Hornet operationally.  After my Hornet course, I did 6 years operationally before going to Test Pilot School.  You need 1,000 hrs total time, flight lead or AC category and preferably a STEM degree.  After you apply, you’ll be administered a math exam.  Pass mark is 70%.  The intent is to make sure the the candidates have the drive to get back in the books and teach themselves again.  After the math exam, a board decides which candidates to invite to an in-person evaluation.  The in-person evaluation consists of flight test academics, four flights (most likely in aircraft you haven’t flown - to test your adaptability), technical report writing and oral presentation on test results.  If you are successful you will then be placed in a pool of successful candidates waiting for a course.  To be placed on a course, we need money (~$2M for one candidate), a slot at one of the recognized schools (5 in the world for us) and the proper candidate with the proper background for our requirements. That is a lot of stars to align but it should not discourage you to strive for it.  I went through the US Naval Test Pilot School and it was the best and most rewarding year of my life.  I flew 25 types in a year (helicopters, fighters (F/A-18E/F, F-16 Block 40, F-15E, Mirage 2000D, Mirage 2000N), transport, sailplanes, formally qualified on 3 types.  It was an incredible amount of work (lots of academics, lots of test planning, test flying and a lot of test reporting).  To give you an idea, my final project test plan was 92 pages, my final test report was 135 pages for 6 hours of flying.  After test pilot school, you will owe 5 years to the CAF and it assumed these 5 years will be at AETE.

Wow, I have no shame in saying I’m impressed. That all sounds like no easy feat, and certainly stressful. I know absolutely zilch about the process, so this is terrific insight.

Best of luck to the OP, and happy continued flying, SSMax.
 

Quirky

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More importantly, is there any pay incentive to go along with the status of 'Test Pilot'?
 

dimsum

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Quirky said:
More importantly, is there any pay incentive to go along with the status of 'Test Pilot'?

Aside from the pretty good chance of getting snapped up by every single aircraft manufacturer out there?
 

Good2Golf

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SupersonicMax could confirm if it’s still the case, but some could say the opposite, as there used to be a period of restricted release related to QTP qualification, several years mandatory service IIRC.
 

dapaterson

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Good2Golf said:
SupersonicMax could confirm if it’s still the case, but some could say the opposite, as there used to be a period of restricted release related to QTP qualification, several years mandatory service IIRC.

And in fact, he did...

SupersonicMax said:
After test pilot school, you will owe 5 years to the CAF and it assumed these 5 years will be at AETE.
 

Good2Golf

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dapaterson said:
And in fact, he did...

That was so last week. I’m practicing my COVID online skimming reading skills...anything past about 48hrs goes into the mental catacombs... ;)
 

daftandbarmy

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Good2Golf said:
That was so last week. I’m practicing my COVID online skimming reading skills...anything past about 48hrs goes into the mental catacombs... ;)

IIRC that following this event, you will become highly acclimatized the the most senior levels of leadership :)
 

Good2Golf

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daftandbarmy said:
IIRC that following this event, you will become highly acclimatized the the most senior levels of leadership :)

The gold standard would be forgetting anything 30-minutes before the Press Conference I post a response... :nod:
 

yolotuber

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First, thank you very much for your in-depth answer to my post. It is truly appreciated that you took the time for it. Your answer brings me more questions.
As I am currently a prep year student at CMR saint-jean in french, I still have one year before going to Kingston, would you suggest that I do my bachelor in English even though it is not my first language?  I'm currently working toward my EEE ( E C B now). Would it help me to do a Double major( like space science physics or maths)  instead of an engineering bachelor?  Aerospace or mechanical?  Also, I got told that only 90h per year are assured as an f18 pilot, is true? because it seems to be very long to get to 1000h if times are calm and there are not many operations going on. Is doing a master's degree in STEM a plus? If so how? I saw an RMC graduate going to MIT( on the 2017 astronaut candidate board), I was wondering how that is possible. When it is the time to apply to be an astronaut candidate, is it encouraged in the AETE community? To apply, will I be required to have been finished with my 5 years of obligatory service, even though I already have 17 years as a ROTP¨pilot, it would now be 23. Is applying encouraged in the AETE community?  I met the CSA president recently, he told me that there will be more Canadians in space in about 10 to 15 years and I'm very optimistic towards achieving this goal. I do all that I can and read about everything that could help that is why I have so many questions.


Thank you
jo
 

AVStech541

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Thanks for the detailed write-up SupersonicMax.  I just got my OT to pilot through the UTPNCM program, and I have a few questions I'm hoping you can answer:

1) Is there an age limit for becoming a test pilot? I'm 36 now, so by the time I finish university, get my wings and fly 1000 hours I'll be at least in my mid 40s.

2) Can you recommend any specific university courses that will help me become a test pilot? I'm getting a degree in applied math and statistics, and I want to make sure I choose electives that will benefit me the most.

3) Do most test pilots come from a specific fleet, or are my chances of being selected about the same no matter what aircraft I fly?
 
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