Ellen M. Lord, undersecretary of defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, awarded the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) the 2018 Defense Acquisition Workforce Development Innovation Award at the Pentagon Feb. 5.
The award recognizes USNTPS for graduating over 250 test pilots, naval flight officers, flight test engineers, industry civilians and foreign partners over the course of 2018 — more graduates than all primary test pilot schools combined.
“The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School is integral to the betterment of the test and evaluation profession at large,” said Cmdr. Glenn P. Rioux, USNTPS commanding officer. “Every aviation program within the Department of Defense has been influenced by USNTPS graduates.”
USNTPS received recognition for its modernized syllabus integrating unmanned aircraft systems, advanced radar, acquisition and student exposure to live virtual constructive concepts, in addition to the school’s output of test pilots. USNTPS participated in a number of flight test projects throughout the year including test programs supporting the UH-60L variable stability system and performance testing of the T-38C. The school also contributed to the testing of its newest flying classroom, the Airborne Systems Training and Research Support (ASTARS) III, a C-26 equipped with naval subsystems.
During the award period, USNTPS established a research cell to collaborate with educational institutions and engineering centers to adapt its knowledge base to an ever-evolving airspace. The cell enables the school’s constant evaluation of its educational offerings and serves as an industry hub for international test techniques.
The school trains the world’s finest developmental test pilots, flight officers, engineers, industry and foreign partners in full spectrum test and evaluation of aircraft and aircraft systems. The USNTPS is at the forefront in development of modern test techniques and leads aviation in standardization of flight test. It is the only domestic source of rotary wing test pilots serving as a dedicated test pilot school of the U.S. Army. Its highly competitive program has graduated more than 90 NASA astronauts to date.