Every Man a Tester

The first class of 12 enlisted airmen graduated the Air Force Test Pilot School’s new Enlisted Flight Test Course earlier this month at Edwards AFB, Calif. Upcoming test programs like the KC-46A tanker will require more aircrew than just pilots, said school officials. Making efficient use of every crewmember aboard, “we are empowering the students through knowledge to go out there and be effective testers,” explained MSgt. Thomas Ireland, 445th Flight Test Squadron superintendent. EFTC students learned the essentials of aerodynamics, experiment design, and aircraft systems in a condensed course including instructional test flights on the C-12 Huron, KC-135, and sailplanes. “The students now know test conduct, how the test will proceed, what the objectives of the test are. . . . They now speak the same language,” summed Col. Noel Zamot, TPS commandant. The EFTC course is designed to complement the school’s 48-week test pilot program. The enlisted airmen graduated on April 18. (Edward report by Laura Mowry)