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What exactly does a test pilot do? How would I go about becomming one?

I would love to hear more about being a test pilot. What exactly do you do? What steps did you take to become one? Why did you decide to be a test pilot and not a commercial airline pilot? I'm asking because I really want to fly planes for a living but i'm scared to have so many lives in my hands. I think I'd rather fly alone, as a test pilot? #aviation #airline-industry #pilot


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David’s Answer

How about just getting to be a pilot ? have you taken a flying lesson ? Test pilots for for manufacturers mostly like Boeing developing new models . I would venture to guess they are ex military mostly .

Airline pilot will have thousands of openings over the next ten years as were all going out to pasture and there aren't enough young people in the pipeline .

Hows your eyesight ? Heres a basic path ; BS/BA degree in anything from scuba diving to chemical engineering . Private license (6 months ) followed by commercial license (2 years total maybe less ) ATP , 1500 hours , multi engine license . A lot of $ in training , or, military path (out at age 30 thereabouts ) . If a high school grad does everything right they could be applying to major airlines by age 25- 30. Probably about the same time commitment as becoming an attorney . Expect to make substandard wages until your with a big airline . Its a long road and is kind of a calling , like being a priest . Take a few lessons . Like anything , you have to love it. Do what you really will enjoy because your going to be doing it a lot. Consider that when your 45 your neighbors may be carving a turkey at X mas and you'll be getting in your car going to the airport. Expect to work holidays and weekends. Forget the idea of this being some glamorous thing that was a movie. Good luck!!


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Samuel’s Answer

A test pilot is one who test flies new airplanes or helicopters. For this, you can't go wrong with obtaining an engineering degree, more specifically aerospace, or maybe even mechanical. Not only does it involve you knowing how to fly the aircraft, you also have to provide feedback to the engineers so they can perfect the design. You can fly new aircraft such as the F35, Boeing 787, or you can be a test pilot for NASA and fly many kinds of aircraft to help them research new technologies.


Also, don't be scared about how many lives you have in your hands. Very few aircraft accidents today are blamed on a design flaw, and pilot training today insures that it is more mathematically probable to be struck by lightening than to be in an airplane crash. Trust your instincts, training, and fellow crew members and you can be a great pilot!


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Robert’s Answer

You can become a test pilot in the Air Force or Navy. The requirements to be accepted into military test pilot schools are that you have a Bachelors degree in engineering or a hard science like Physics or Chemistry. You should have a masters degree in engineering also if you want to be very competitive. You also have to have the required number of flying hours in the Air Force or Navy so I would suggest studying engineering in college then going to military flight school to become a pilot. You will have to have top grades so study hard and good luck.


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Marcia’s Answer

Test pilots follow a 'test plan' to con firm that a specific item or configuration works as designed. It could be as simple as checking that there is not too much glare from the strobe lights at night. Or they fly into icing conditions and let ice form on the unprotected surfaces to see how it handles.


Check the training requirements at the National Test Pilot School that is in California: https://www.ntps.edu/


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