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ETPS hosting of French test pilot students marked as great success


French Test Pilots

During the early summer of 2021, ETPS was delighted to reinforce the long-standing partnership with the French Test Pilot School by hosting its staff and students for their final assessment exercise. The guests from EPNER (École du Personnel Navigant d'essais Et de Reception) would be needed to fly an aircraft that was previously unknown to them and form a comprehensive assessment for its safety and effectiveness within a specific operational role. 

This significant endeavour represents the culmination of a year of intensive flight test training and the inter-school collaboration to achieve it is a core element of the enduring construct of international test professional training, alongside USNTPS (United States Naval Test Pilot School) and USAFTPS (United States Air Force Test Pilot School). EPNER has in recent years offered ETPS students similar access to the advanced NH-90 helicopter and famous Mirage 2000N fighter.

It is testament to this widespread ethos of co-operation that 1 Regiment Army Air Corps, of the UK MoD Joint Helicopter Command, was able to offer access to their Wildcat AH Mk1 fleet at RNAS Yeovilton, providing four flying sorties and a comprehensive simulator package. In this time, the EPNER students exposed the aircraft to every aspect of their newly-honed flight test techniques to determine its suitability for the troop insertion and con-combatant extraction roles in hot, desert climates.

Meanwhile at MoD Boscombe Down, a second EPNER team of students was putting the ETPS Leonardo AW109 to the test, applying the core principles of flight test to the School’s fully instrumented aircraft. Given the many challenges of the COVID-19 landscape, it is a noteworthy tribute to the determination across Defence, Defence Industry and UK Defence allies to keep such essential partnerships stronger than ever.