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Test Pilot

BACONATOR

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
#31
If you go E-6s though or are Coast Guard, your chances of getting picked up are very slim due to the limited numbers.
Not discounting your point, but a TACAMO guy I went through OCS with got picked up at the end of his second tour as he was PCSing to das boat. Not sure how many times he applied, but for as few guys I know who have done it (if I can even think of any others), I know a TACAMO test pilot.

Yes. My point was that winged options aren't currently being pursued, for whatever reason- presumably due to high cost and long time to develop.
I won't proclaim any expertise in the field anymore, but somehow my memory tells me, when I was in spacecraft design, that the winged options are not very efficacious or safe. The STS (shuttle TRANSPORTATION system) was designed specifically for quick, affordable, and quick-turnaround trips to low-earth orbit. The achievement of those goals is dubious at best, as it wasn't very cost effective and took far longer to turnaround than I believe they were anticipating. Not to mention the program was cut far short of its original planned goals.

Modular rocket designs are far safer, as the manned module at the top has a rocket escape system that can pull it away from the rocket it sits on top of, if a catastrophic failure occurs. It also has a heat shield that is protected on launch, and has far fewer areas for potential material failure (landing gear doors, etc).

So again, my expertise disclaimer aside, there is a reason winged vehicles are not being pursued for the future of manned spaceflight. That being said, there are other designs for quick return or quick orbit shuttles that have been tested (X-37) and may perhaps be used, but not for the longer/farther trips for which we are planning to the moon/mars.
 

jmcquate

Well-Known Member
Contributor
#32
...........and a mission. Right now, NASA has no mission for manned space flight. JSC can't plan with no direction or budget. Saying we'll go to Mars in 20xx is bullshit.
 

BACONATOR

Well-Known Member
pilot
Contributor
#33
...........and a mission. Right now, NASA has no mission for manned space flight. JSC can't plan with no direction or budget. Saying we'll go to Mars in 20xx is bullshit.
Hence why Orion is a bust and we are sending astronauts up on soyuz. Until we get that direction, associated budget, and national "buy-in", these are all pipe-dreams. But my point is that the dreaming/planning is headed in a certain direction, and winged vehicles are not the main part of that plan.
 

Skywalker

Officer Candidate Hopeful
#34
Hence why Orion is a bust and we are sending astronauts up on soyuz. Until we get that direction, associated budget, and national "buy-in", these are all pipe-dreams. But my point is that the dreaming/planning is headed in a certain direction, and winged vehicles are not the main part of that plan.
...in Musk we trust?
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#35
In the spirit of discussing test pilots and astronauts, which community in naval aviation other than strike is perceived as a strong background for TPS? I think I've seen somewhere on here that a P-3 driver did a tour at Pax.
NASA requirements are shifting as well when it comes to who they select for astronauts, until shuttle retirement become a reality tactical jet pilots constituted a fairly large percentage of astronaut selectees. In the early days they constituted a majority of the test pilot corps NASA predominantly recruited from and in the Shuttle days TACAIR experience was pretty much a prerequisite to become a shuttle pilot and then shuttle commander (only a handful of shuttle plots didn't come originally from TACAIR). Mission specialists came from a variety of science, technical and medical backgrounds but TACAIR types were always steadily recruited.

Nowadays though there are less test pilot types being selected and less TACAIR types, the latest selectees have more diverse backgrounds and lean a bit more heavily on the mission specialist type of skillset than a test pilot one. Test pilots constituted only a quarter of the latest class of astronaut selectees, three of the four were TACAIR types.
 
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xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
#36
I’m not saying you won’t get picked up if you’re an E-6 guy, but the chances are very slim as they only take one a year vice multiple slots twice a year for other platforms.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#37
My point is that NASA is aimless and has shifted their view from one where airmanship and event management was critical to one where 36 hours of academic work in select fields is “the right stuff.” I am not even sure if money would fix the problem, there is a different culture at NASA and it is too inward looking.
You make some good points about NASA and its culture and how things have changed over the years, there is plenty to critique about them, but from what I have dealt with and seen on the whole they are fine organization with smart, dedicated people doing a job they truly believe in much like the military.

Your earlier post though...

No Social Science types? No wonder NASA can’t pass a fart without killing six or seven astronauts.
...Is just plain crass and uncalled for. An analog would be a similar comment about SWO's after their recent mishaps, while SWO training and culture were critiqued here no one made such a tactless, ignorant and flippant remark, as I expect from a group of professionals.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
#38
Your earlier post though...Is just plain crass and uncalled for. An analog would be a similar comment about SWO's after their recent mishaps, while SWO training and culture were critiqued here no one made such a tactless, ignorant and flippant remark, as I expect from a group of professionals.
Your opinion is noted, thank you.
 

RedFive

Active Member
pilot
Contributor
#39
All communities need Test Pilots to fly their airframes at Pax, the Lake, and Mugu. Test Pilot manning for each TMS will be based on what sort of test work is going on that is related to your community. For instance, the demand signal for H-60 pilots is currently lower than it was 10yrs ago.
Even being a strike fighter pilot doesn't guarantee a spot. Classes are small, and as other have said, it's largely driven by the personnel needs of the test squadrons. Sometimes there are only 1-2 seats for pointy-nose guys in a class. You best bet if you really want to go is to apply as many times as you can. It took me 3 tries, which isn't as uncommon as I thought it would be going in.
Concur. I applied three times and a friend of mine applied five or six. Do the best you can in your squadron and talk to other test pilots if you can.
Can confirm, no guarantees. Aerospace Engineering background, did wind-tunnel research for NASA, published, qual'd in two rotary platforms, Level IIIi across the board......annnnnd...applying for my 5th time. From the outside looking in at the results, fixed-wing guys have had more seats available and during at least one or two recent boards my platform didn't even have a slot!

To the OP, I'd say if you have the opportunity (as opposed to Needs of the Navy), select the platform that makes you happy. I had the grades to do whatever, I chose helos for the challenge and to do something different since I had been flying fixed-wing since I was a kid. FWIW, my buddy had a TPS classmate who was a History major. Good luck!
 

Chippewa19

Puts the cart before the horse
#40
XJ, Red, and SevenHelmet, what did you guys do in your shore tour prior to classing up at PAX? Does there seem to be any advantage in going to i.e. the VX's vice Fallon or the RAG?
 

xj220

Will fly for food.
pilot
Contributor
#42
Leaving my fleet tour, I went to VX-1 which for awhile was a launch pad for future test pilots. I’d still recommend it or being a fleet input for VX-20.
 

sevenhelmet

Did I miss a step?
pilot
#43
XJ, Red, and SevenHelmet, what did you guys do in your shore tour prior to classing up at PAX? Does there seem to be any advantage in going to i.e. the VX's vice Fallon or the RAG?
I went to VX-9 after my first fleet tour. I'd highly recommend it if you're interested in test- it was rewarding work, and the ready room atmosphere was awesome. What I learned there helped me a lot at TPS, and the connections I made helped in my DT job (which was at VX-31, also in China Lake).
 

JEFE

Member
None
#44
I'll also put a plug in for VX-30 at Pt Mugu for VP/VQ/VAW types (occasionally there are even billets for other communities). I went there after TPS, but a few of our fleet direct guys on 1st shore tour were picked up for TPS while I was there. Side benefit is living in socal and deting to Hawaii on a relatively frequent basis.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
#45
I'll also put a plug in for VX-30 at Pt Mugu for VP/VQ/VAW types (occasionally there are even billets for other communities). I went there after TPS, but a few of our fleet direct guys on 1st shore tour were picked up for TPS while I was there. Side benefit is living in socal and deting to Hawaii on a relatively frequent basis.
Do the pilots still get qual'd to fly the C-26's out of there?