Introduction to Flight Test

Introduction to flight test gives an overview of a major portion of an aircraft / UAV flight test development and certification program (DOD or FAA), project management, test preparation, risk management, test plans, hazard analysis, test cards, briefing sheets, flight test techniques, debriefing methods, electronic data reduction, data presentation, Cooper-Harper Scale, flight summaries and final reports. Each section contains an after hours exercise used to enhance the lecture series.


To enhance the students understanding of flight test engineering, pre and prototype development, certification and project management.


Provide insight into the world of research, advanced development and flight test certification.


Equip the students with the tools to manage and conduct any flight test engineering projects.

Target Audience

The course is designed for aerospace engineers and managers working on civilian, military, FAA or any other regulatory agency working on flight test projects.  It would also be very beneficial to pilots and Homebuilt Enthusiasts.  No previous course or prior experience is required.

Course Includes

This course includes 40 hours of instruction, a course note book and electronic copies of the course test plans, test cards, briefing sheets, excel data reduction sheet and graphs, flight summaries and a complete flight test certification program test plan.

Course Outline

Day One:

  1. Certification Process
  2. Program Overview: Weight and Balance, Configuration Control……..
  3. Engine Ground Runs: Build-up to first flight
  4. Ground Handling: Taxi Tests
  5. First Flight: First flight constraints and maneuvers
  6. Pitot Static’s Position errors: Ground Course, Tower Fly-By and GPS method.

Homework: Vary the weight and balance chart and work through the data spreadsheet for the ground course, tower fly-by and GPS methods.

Day Two:

  1. Climb, Cruise and Descent Performance.
  2. Stall Performance.
  3. Stall Characteristics.
  4. Installed Power

Homework: Work through the day‘s test cards and spreadsheets

Day Three:

  1. Longitudinal Static Stability
  2. Longitudinal Maneuvering Stability
  3. Lateral-Directional Static Stability
  4. Dynamic Stability
  5. Trim Control

Homework: Work through the day‘s test cards and spreadsheets

Day Four:

  1. Minimum Un-stick
  2. Takeoff Performance
  3. Takeoff Speed verification
  4. Rejected Takeoff
  5. Takeoff Flight Path
  6. Landing Performance
  7. Cross Wind Takeoff and Landing

Homework: Work through the day‘s test cards and spreadsheets

Day Five:

  1. Intro to Report Writing
  2. Intro to Project Management: Concept, Planning, Execution, Control and Closing phases. 
  3. Intro to Risk Management:
  4. Intro to Engineering Reviews:
    • Project Management Reviews
    • Mission Concept Review
    • System  Requirements Review
    • Mission Definition Review
    • System Design Review
    • Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
    • Critical Design Review (CDR)
    • Test Readiness Review
    • Flight Readiness Review
    • Safety of Flight Readiness Review
    • Operational Readiness Review
    • System Acceptance  Review
    • Certification Readiness Review
    • Production Readiness Review

Each Flight Test Plan contains the following:

  1. Test Objectives
  2. Compliance to FAR
  3. Flight Test Theory and Procedures
  4. Test Conditions
  5. Flight Test Technique
  6. Flight Test Instrumentation
  7. Pre-Flight Briefing Sheet
  8. Flight Test Card
  9. Risk Management
  10. Electronic Post Flight data reduction steps on a spreadsheet.
  11. Data Analysis – Interpretation.
  12. Aircraft Flight Manual Data Presentation
  13. Example of a Flight Summary.
  14. Example of an electronic Weight and Balance sheet


The course instructor graduated from the National Test Pilot School in 1989 after completing a pre-study phase followed by the 12 month professional course. Since then has been conducting military as well as FAA, CAA and Canadian DOT flight test certification. He has extensive experience in Transport Category ( Part 25 ),General Aviation (Part 23) both fixed and rotary wing airframe, engines, systems, flight controls and avionics flight test certification as well as Unmanned Air Vehicles ( Part 107)  supporting the NASA Unmanned Aircraft System Traffic Management (UTM) program.

The instructor was a tutor at the International Test Pilot School in England and until recently has held executive leadership roles within the aerospace flight test engineering industry and has more than 28 years of aerospace engineering accumulated in South Africa, Europe and United States of America . Instructor is an Instrument rated pilot and in 2003 was certified as a Project Management Professional.

On-Site Courses

This and any other course is also available for on-site presentation, this way you save staff time, travel and accommodation costs and schedule courses at your convenience. On-site course content can be compiled to meet specific customer requests.


If you'd like more information about this course, please feel free to contact us.

Additional Short Courses:

Airfield Performance

a.      Takeoff Performance

b.      Minimum Un-Stick

c.       Rejected Takeoff

d.      Takeoff Speeds

e.       Takeoff Flight Path

f.       Weight Altitude and Temperature Limits

g.      Landing performance

h.      Crosswind Takeoffs and Landings


Project Management: 5 days

a.       Concept Phase

b.      Planning Phase

c.       Execution Phase

d.      Control Phase

e.       Closing Phase


Risk Management (Engineering Performance Risks): 2 days

a.       Risk Identification: Risk Brain Storm

b.      Risk Categories:

c.       Qualitative Analysis: Impact Scale, Risk Probability, Probability Impact matrix

d.      Risk Response: Risk Ranking


Performance Reviews: 2 days

a.       Project Management Reviews: 2 hours

b.      Phase Gate Reviews: 2 hours

c.       Flight Readiness Reviews: 2 hours

d.      Preliminary Design Reviews: 1 hour

e.       Critical Design Reviews: 1 hour

f.       Safety Review Boards: 2 hours


Report Writing : 5 days

a.      Test Plans

b.      Hazard Analysis

c.      Test Cards

d.      Briefing Sheet

e.       Flight Summary

f.       Final Report

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us anytime. 

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