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NFOs & Test Pilot School

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
Just curious, do Marines ever go to TPS or is that more of a navy thing?
These days, every class at USNTPS is multi-service and multi-national.
The next class to finish has 15 squids, 4 devil dogs, 3 Army warrants, 1 ascot wearer, 4 civilians, and 6 for'ners.
 

illinijoe05

Nachos
pilot
How are they faring for community screens (DH, squadron CO)? That's where I saw lots of guys getting shoved aside, at least in my community. Considering they had to do well in the Fleet to get picked up for TPS in the first place, it was disconcerting how many didn't even get picked up for OP DH. And ones who did still didn't screen for CO. Word that came back down from those screens was "too much NOB paper."

It definitely opens up other paths, and you can make a very healthy career out of those paths. All I said was if you want a conventional sea command career track, it seems to, at best, make it more difficult.
Once again bad gouge. From the last brief on bupers circa 2008.
2008 ADHSB
Selected for DH at significantly higher rate than Fleet average
– Slightly better than FRS instructors
2008 & 2009 ACSB
–Selected for operational command at a rate greater than Fleet averag.

While I do not have stats I can say anecdotally that TPS grads are not having trouble screening for DH. In my squadron I know of 1 guy who did not screen on his first look at DH and picked it up on his second. I think Our XO said we lave been 100% OP-DH screen rate (after both looks) for the last 6yrs. From my TPS class I heard of one guy who did not make DH out of 10 ish who made O-4.
 

Atreyu098

New Member
A question about TPS; specifically for FOs who manage to get into it, what community do they like to see people come through? I am looking down the long long road of potentially trying to go astronaut route or at least NASA-related job. I am currently an SNFO and am looking to set myself up strong for that dream. I have a mech eng degree, pretty good GPA with it and eventually want to get a masters in astronautics or astronautical engineering. Anyone have any idea if they prefer pointy nose FOs over other platforms?

Thanks!
 

xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
Like anything in the Navy, it's all about timing. We have a broad spectrum of platforms from P-8 to F-18. When you get selected for TPS, you're being selected for a billet at a follow on test squadron. Some classes may need more P-3 or P-8 NFOs while others need Hornet NFOs. Select whatever platform you want then go from there.
 

Atreyu098

New Member
So there really is no preference? I know it's wicked early in my career and what not, but within a month I will be selecting either tailhook or big wing, and honestly I have no clue what I want to fly; only that I know I want to end up working for NASA regardless of what position.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
TPS boards select based on qualified applicants for open slots. TPS slots are allocated based on test squadron openings for various platforms, so they vary from board to board. There is no reliable way to predict what background will be more in demand when you apply to TPS. This is one reason that multiple applications are encouraged.

My advice would be to select your platform based on your assessment of how much you'll enjoy being in that platform. If you enjoy it more, you'll do better, and be more competitive for a future TPS board, or multiple boards.
 

KilroyUSN

Prior EM1(SS) - LTJG - VP P-8 NFO COTAC
None
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NASA_aircraft

They use a combination of pointy nose aircraft and big bird aircraft (they still have one active P-3 I believe).
If you are looking at the astronaut gig, they take a wide variety of people from the Navy these days. I have seen a Navy Seal as well as a Bubblehead (submariner).

IMO find the community/mission that you feel like you will fit in with and enjoy, do well at your job, and don't burn bridges.
From what I have gathered (from talking to a handful of current and past Astronaut/Mission Commanders) is that they are really looking for people who can work well as a team to solve complicated scenarios.
As an Aviator, you will be doing that in any community you go to, so don't get too worked up about what community to go to, in order to get some magical golden ticket into NASA.

As a side note, I hope your profile name is based off of the movie and not the band ;)
 

Atreyu098

New Member
I appreciate the help. I guess I will go with what I think I will be happiest doing, which still I have no clue honestly. But thanks!

And it's a little bit of both -__-
 

JEFE

Active Member
None
Every community has need of testers: my class had some from each. The exact # in each class all depends on timing which you can't know 4 years ahead of time. So the other posters are correct. Pick your community based on other factors.
 

staff33

New Member
I'm in the strike pipeline in intermediate right now and had a question about what opportunities there are to take classes that might make you more competitive for TPS. I see that the majority of the selects have a technical degree. Is there time in your first JO sea tour or after it to take some classes and still be in that window to get selected? I have just seen that you typically get selected after your first tour and didn't know if there was enough time to make yourself more competitive.
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
The best thing you can do to make yourself competitive right now is to kick ass and get all your qualifications and high marks during your 1st sea tour. However, if you're really concerned about your academic records, contact USNTPS and ask for Mr. John O'Connor (he is the chief of academics there). He can review your academic transcript and help you come up with a plan to bolster your competitiveness to the TPS board. At least basic classes in Calculus, Thermodynamics and Physics are required; differential equations, fluids, and aero courses are preferred. The biggest challenge to a fleet JO will be time to actually do academics on the side. I wouldn't have been able to do that on my first tour.

However, keep in mind there have been many graduates of the school who were non-technical undergrad majors. My class leader was a Poli-Sci major. I've heard of history majors who went to the school and kicked ass. So don't count yourself out academically.
 

staff33

New Member
So say you kick ass on your first tour and apply with the academic background you have and don't get in. Is there time in your first shore tour to take courses to improve your competitiveness or would that throw off timing to get in and still progress with your career? And thanks for the info
 

sevenhelmet

Uh oh...
pilot
You're welcome.

So say you kick ass on your first tour and apply with the academic background you have and don't get in. Is there time in your first shore tour to take courses to improve your competitiveness or would that throw off timing to get in and still progress with your career? And thanks for the info
It depends on what you choose for shore duty. I have found that it is possible, as I am currently working on a master's degree in Aero (as in literally, right now, as I am typing this.) What I have found with shore duty is that while job performance is still paramount, academic pursuits are commonplace, and commonly facilitated. YMMV, since I am not aware of the climate of many shore commands.

Academically speaking, there is qualified, and there is competitive. If you aren't qualified, then taking classes in your limited spare time becomes much more of a priority than it would be if you are merely just not competitive with a 4.0 GPA Aero Master. The latter case can often be made up for by real-world qualifications and experience such as deployments, live-fires, etc.
 
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