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ETPS

With an unrivalled 75 year heritage and state-of-the-art training facilities, ETPS provides world-leading training for flight test professionals.

Equipped with the specialist knowledge and flying skills required to run safe and effective military and civil flight test programmes, today’s students are reaping the benefits from our substantial investment in new facilities, flying assets and teaching system. A new syllabus also offers a comprehensive range of dedicated fixed wing and rotary aircraft courses. Delivered by highly experienced tutors who are recognised for their expertise globally, our modular courses for Test Pilots, Flight Test Engineers, Systems Test and Evaluator Aircrew cover experimental, development and systems testing.

In order to create ‘flying classrooms’ that meet both military and civil requirements, our new fleet of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft have all been extensively modified with the latest flight test instrumentation. ETPS students have gained priceless experience in a wide variety of aircrafts from our courses, which have been designed to inspire and equip flight test professionals with the skills, insight and know-how to meet future career challenges with both confidence and assurance.

First in flight test

As the world’s first test pilot school, ETPS has trained over 1500 students from no less than 32 different countries over the past 75 years. Building on our heritage as the premier school for military flight test professionals, we now also provide dedicated and fully accredited courses for civilian customers.

A school for the future

As the world’s first school dedicated to teaching test flying, all of us at ETPS are proud of our aviation heritage. Developing flying and engineering skills, practicing critical thinking and taking a broad perspective in order to distil and communication useful findings are all important principles today as much as they were in 1943.

With no time to rest on our laurels, we remain absolutely focused on the future of test aircrew training, as demonstrated by our substantial investment in new capabilities and resources. With our state-of-the-art and systems-rich aircraft, our contemporary and comprehensive range of courses are delivered in a truly 21st century learning environment.

Students are provided with the very finest and most relevant test and evaluation training to meet the complex demands of modern developmental flight test programmes. We have also designed our courses and training delivery to maximise accessibility, continuity and resilience in all circumstances.


Founded on experiential learning and collaborative working, the ETPS Programme combines both classroom instruction with a wide variety of practical exercises on the ground and in the air.

Designed to build experience quickly, our intensive courses ensure graduates leave ETPS as highly skilled professionals who are ready to deliver powerful strategic and commercial advantage through programmes that:

  • Optimise aircraft and systems design and performance;
  • Accelerate time to market;
  • Support regulatory compliance;
  • Build operational capability;
  • Drive return on investment;
  • Ensure the safety of personnel.

Graduates from our military courses are qualified to build operational capability from the outset. Maximising the performance and capabilities of air platforms, this also ensures the safety of personnel and supports the commissioning of billion-dollar acquisitions.

Similarly, our courses for civilian test professionals prepare students to drive commercial value from the word ‘go’. They are immediately able to manage flight test programmes that optimise aircraft and systems design, accelerate time to market and ensure full regulatory compliance.

Modular, cost and time-effective courses

Delivered by expert tutors at our cutting-edge training facilities, our enhanced modular courses cover experimental, development and systems flight test. We also design bespoke programmes to meet specific requirements, run refresher courses in key subjects, provide tailored training for specialist tasks or conduct conversions to upgrade existing qualifications (for example Cat 2 to Cat 1).

Unique Learning Management System

Our new, bespoke digital learning management system (LMS) is the only one of its kind among leading flight test schools. It provides advanced, specialist tools for interactive digital and face-to-face teaching and supports collaborative learning. Accessible from anywhere in the world on almost any conceivable system, the LMS provides unrivalled flexibility and resilience in the delivery of flight test training and, significantly, enables teaching at a time and place convenient to our students.

State-of-the-art fixed wing and rotary aircraft

Our aircraft have all been modified to create ‘flying classrooms’ that meet both military and civil requirements. Innovative glass cockpits have built-in flight test instrumentation suites to provide live flight data and enable realistic training scenarios. These enable training in specialist test techniques such as air-to-ground radar testing and the replication of entire sorties in the classroom for debrief and further study.

The complete training package

Drawing upon the best doctrines, T&E approaches and the latest technological advances across both the military and civilian sectors, all ETPS courses provide a complete training package that enables our students to deliver the best value in their respective areas of work.

Since 2018, ETPS has been recognised as an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). This enables the school to deliver a cost-effective EASA-only option for our test pilot and flight test engineer long courses. A number of the flight test qualifications awarded by ETPS are also recognised by the UK’s Military Aviation Authority (MAA).

Learn to Test, Test to Learn. Our motto perfectly encapsulates how we shape our students, using extensive theory that is always anchored in relevant, real-world experience.

Providing students with invaluable insight into numerous working methods and environments, close collaborations with expert organisations and test centres globally has enabled us to offer an exceptionally rich learning experience. From the Great White North for a Variable Stability Helicopter to the Côte d’Azur and the spectacular Alps, ETPS students will always get the best training no matter where we need to go.

Our commitment to continuous investment and course development also ensures all students benefit from the latest equipment to meet the ever-changing demands and constantly evolving priorities of flight test professionals. Our unique and comprehensive approach to learning also caters for all eventualities to provide the resilience and adaptability that is required for students to complete their courses regardless of their personal circumstances and other unforeseen factors.

Learn In The Cloud

The ETPS Learning Management System (LMS) is the only system of its kind in the world and provides a level of flexibility and accessibility that is unprecedented in flight test training. This pioneering approach provides a truly modern and adaptive learning environment with a full suite of interactivity tools covering both rotary and fixed wing flight operations.

Based on industry leading software that has been extensively customised by QinetiQ to meet the unique requirements of ETPS, the system enables students to work collaboratively with one another and their syndicate tutors. This provides a fully integrated and modular learning environment that empowers students to learn in a style that best suits the modern professional.

The system enables ETPS to offer flexible, distance preparatory learning for our students to fit around operational duties and to optimise learning time. Our students come from many different countries so this presents significant advantages, with students even completing the entire preparatory course while on deployment in the Pacific!

Learn In The Air

Test pilots and engineers gain direct experience with many types of military and civil aircraft, across the full spectrum of performance. These include the A109, Airbus H125, Pilatus PC-21, Grob G120TP, Avro RJ and – uniquely for a flight test school – a Typhoon. Students also have access to a custom-built flight simulator.

All primary delivery platforms at ETPS have a fully bespoke Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI) suite specially developed to support learning. This highly versatile system can grow to accommodate the latest learning techniques and stay representative of modern FTI systems employed in flight test programmes. Through a live telemetry feed to the ground station, the system also provides detailed data that can be used in our classroom analysis software. This is called GDAS (Graphical Data Analysis Software), which was custom-designed by QinetiQ.

The Avro RJ70 Flying Classroom allows us to train entire classes in the air - with live readouts of flight details for engineers and pilots alike - from a fully bespoke Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI) suite featuring both in-cockpit and in-cabin operation.

Learn On The Ground

Synthetics and simulation are essential elements for any modern test & evaluation programme, as ETPS continues to develop and deliver cutting edge capabilities specifically designed for flight test training.

ETPS uses a broad range of synthetics and simulators across the globe to deliver our courses. These cover everything from desktop simulators (supporting familiarisation activities) and task-specific exercise synthetics all the way up to state-of-the-art flying simulators that allow a single aircraft to represent a vast array of platform types.

The synthetic capabilities employed by ETPS provide a tailored approach to simulation, which means we are able to maximise understanding of learning outcomes. Such an advanced training methodology capitalises on advanced mission planning and debriefing tools to optimise training efficiency and significantly reduce the time required to reach full comprehension of techniques.

Learn From The Best

Instructors are the most important element to the success of any school. At ETPS we have a diverse and highly experienced team of test pilots, flight test engineers, and academics who apply a millennium of combined experience in the field when developing and delivering courses.

Our flight test instructors include world-renowned experts in their respective fields - from both military organisations and civil industry – who are frequently called upon to advise on and deliver the very latest flight test programmes. With deep domain knowledge of both the theory and practical application of flight test, our instructors have written the book on test & evaluation and bring their unique knowledge to bear in the classroom.

Pilatus PC-21

Fixed wing aircraft

Pilatus PC-21

Delivering the next generation of flight test professional training at ETPS, our two Pilatus PC-21s are uniquely equipped to deliver advanced training. Developed especially for student pilots and featuring a Flight Test Instrumentation suite integrated with the systems rich cockpit environment custom developed for ETPS; the PC-21 is more than ready for the next generation of training at ETPS.

Grob G120TP

Fixed wing aircraft

Grob G120TP

Designed for next generation training, the two Grob G120TPs at ETPS provide an enhanced training capability for ETPS. As with the PC-21, each aircraft features a full Flight Test Instrumentation suite that integrates with the modern cockpit environment. The side-by-side cockpit configuration provides an agile and dynamic environment for flight training at ETPS.

Avro RJFixed wing aircraft

Avro RJ

Our multi-engine fleet at ETPS features two Avro RJ models, one RJ70 and one RJ100, that deliver a bespoke flying classroom environment for ETPS. In the cabin, student engineers are provided with an unparalleled learning experience through our custom flight test instrumentation workstations which provide a broad array of data for live analysis in the airborne environment.
Airbus H125

Rotary wing aircraft

Airbus H125

As the workhorses of our rotary wing fleet, the four H125s at ETPS provide a reliable and high-performance capability for flight test professional training. Each aircraft has been extensively modified for delivery at ETPS and features a complete Flight Test Instrumentation suite designed to gather valuable flight data that can be used in the classroom and for evaluation work.

Agusta A109

Rotary wing aircraft

Agusta A109E

Our two A109’s here at ETPS provide an advanced, twin engine platform ideally suited to training rotary wing flight test professionals. As with our H125s, each A109 features a bespoke flight test instrumentation suite which is further enhanced with an in-cabin workstation for flight test engineers to gather and evaluate data in real time.

Bell 412

Rotary wing aircraft

Bell 412

As our CS-29 helicopter, the Bell 412 at Boscombe Down enables our students to train on some of the most demanding test techniques required of flight test professionals. The Bell 412 also acts as our platform for end of course checks and enables students to perform a final, full test & evaluation cycle before graduation.

Diamond DA42 Fixed wing aircraft

Diamond DA42

The Diamond DA42 provides our students with a valuable example of general aviation performance and the advanced avionics that can still be encountered in this arena. As a result, it is a superb platform for systems training.

SAAB Gripen

Fixed wing aircraft

SAAB Gripen

ETPS is the only test pilot school that enables students to train in the techniques required to evaluate complex, cutting-edge, agile fighter aircraft and their associated systems. This fourth generation combat aircraft is used for the testing of aero-systems, advanced flight control systems, handling qualities and performance.

Calpsan Learjet

Fixed wing aircraft

Calspan Learjet

A vital element of training flight test professionals is demonstrating the impact of changes in control laws or aerodynamic characteristics on the flying qualities of an aircraft. Through Calspan’s Learjet In-Flight Simulator, students at ETPS are able to assess performance and handling qualities through the variable stability systems.

NRC Bell

Rotary wing aircraft

NRC Bell 205 / 412

Operated in collaboration with the National Research Council (NRC) Canada, each Bell helicopter is an advanced variable stability aircraft that enables ETPS students to investigate handling qualities aspects in the low speed regime. Each platform enables delivery of longitudinal, lateral and directional flying qualities training and is a superb opportunity for students to perform unique feats of test & evaluation.

The ETPS training programme combines training in technical and analytical skills with developing a high-level practical understanding of aircraft and their systems.

Our courses are designed to build experience quickly – providing the combination of theory and hands-on familiarity that flight test professionals need.

Classroom learning and group discussions are coupled with exercises structured to replicate real-world test programmes, enabling students to put what they learn into practice.

Close collaborations with expert organisations and test centres around the world enable us to provide an exceptionally rich learning experience that gives students an insight into numerous working methods and environments, both military and civilian.

Learn in the air – Flying classrooms

Test pilots and engineers gain direct experience with many types of military and civil aircraft, across the full spectrum of performance. These include the Pilatus PC-21, Grob G120TP, Avro RJ, A109, Airbus H125 and – uniquely for a flight test school – a SAAB Gripen fourth generation fighter aircraft. Students also have access to a custom-built flight simulator.

All primary delivery platforms at ETPS have a fully bespoke Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI) suite specially developed to support learning. This highly versatile system can grow to accommodate the latest learning techniques and stay representative of modern FTI systems employed in flight test programmes. Through a live telemetry feed to the ground station, the system also provides detailed data that can be used in our classroom analysis software, GDAS (Graphical Data Analysis Software), which was custom-designed by QinetiQ.

The Avro RJ70 Flying Classroom allows us to train entire classes from the air, with live readouts of flight for engineers and pilots from a fully bespoke FTI suite with both in-cockpit and in-cabin operation.

Learn on the ground – T&E Synthetics

Synthetics and simulation are a near essential element to any modern test & evaluation programme and ETPS continues to develop and deliver cutting edge capabilities specifically designed to provide flight test training.

ETPS utilises a broad range of synthetics and simulators across the globe to deliver our courses with everything from desktop simulators supporting familiarisation activities, through task specific exercise synthetics, all the way up to state of the art flying simulators allowing a single aircraft to represent a vast array of platform types.

The synthetic capabilities employed by ETPS provide a tailored approach to simulation that allows us to maximise understanding of learning outcomes. Our method provides greater training efficiency to reduce the time required to reach full comprehension of techniques.

Learn from the best – Unparalleled experience

Instructors are the most important element to the success of any school and at ETPS we have a diverse and highly experienced team of test pilots, flight test engineers, and academics with a Millenia of combined experience in the field to draw upon when developing and delivering courses.

Amongst our flight test instructors, you will find world-renowned experts in their respective fields from across both military organisations and civil industry who are frequently called upon to advise upon and deliver the latest flight test programmes. Through our instructor’s deep domain knowledge of both the theory and practical application of flight test they have written the book on test & evaluation and can bring their unique knowledge to bear in the classroom.

Passing on the knowledge, best practice, and lessons learnt to the next generation is a point of pride for our instructors and by attending ETPS our students gain a unique insight into the world of flight test & evaluation.

Learn in the cloud – Bespoke solutions

The ETPS Learning Management System (LMS) is the only system of its kind in the world, and enables a truly modern and adaptive learning environment with a full suite of interactivity tools.

Based on industry leading software and extensively customised by QinetiQ to meet the bespoke needs of ETPS, the system provides students with the means to work collaboratively with one another and their syndicate tutors. The LMS allows us to offer distance learning opportunities for our students, and features Panopto, a bespoke video platform in line with those used by the world’s leading universities, which provides transcription and feedback mechanisms to optimise learning.

Empowering students to learn in a style that best suites the modern professional via a fully integrated, modular learning environment. Through the LMS, we can minimise the time required away from regular duties to optimise learning efficiency.

To learn more about how ETPS can deliver to your flight test professionals, please contact us.

How we teach

Courses at ETPS provide flight test professionals with the skills and competencies required to safely and effectively conduct all forms of test flying, including civil certification and military release to service programmes.

Long Courses

For both test pilots and flight test engineers we offer three levels of graduate courses – Class A / CAT 1, Class B / CAT 2, and Systems Test – with all students completing a common foundation in Test & Evaluation (T&E) before specialising in either fixed wing (fast jet or multi-engine), rotary wing aircraft, or aerosystems flight test.

Class A / CAT 1
By completing a Class A course, test pilots and engineers are qualified to conduct experimental, ‘outside the envelope’ test flying over the course of 50 weeks. Graduating this course enables flight test professionals to lead both first-of-type and envelope expansion activities. Our Class A qualification also provides graduates with an EASA CAT 1 Flight Test Rating. For civil customers, ETPS offers a cost and time-effective civil-only qualification which provides an EASA CAT 1 Flight Test Rating in 44 weeks.

Class B / CAT 2
ETPS’ Class B course qualifies test pilots and engineers to conduct developmental test flying and is delivered in 26 weeks. This qualification enables aircrew to command ‘inside the envelope’ test flying or assist in experimental test flying. Our Class B qualification also provides graduates with an EASA CAT 2 Flight Test Rating. As with our Class A, ETPS offer civil customers an efficient civil-only qualification which provides an EASA CAT 2 rating in 24 weeks.

Systems Test Professional
The ETPS Systems Tester course enables graduates to conduct flight test of the advanced aerosystems found in modern aircraft. The course is aligned with our Class A and Class B qualifications and is delivered in 20 weeks. The emphasis of this course is conduct of aerosystems assessment in line with military regulations for manned aircraft.

Short & Bespoke Courses

In addition to our graduate courses, ETPS offers a range of short and bespoke courses for both new and qualified flight test professionals. These courses range from an Introduction to T&E through to advanced, bespoke course for existing test pilots and engineers to either expand their existing qualification or refresh advanced techniques ahead of trials work.

Evaluator Aircrew
The course is designed to introduce basic Test and Evaluation (T&E) principles and techniques to aircrew who are selected to join Test and Evaluation Squadrons, primarily to conduct Operational Evaluation flying. Aircrew who complete this practical course will have a grounding in the T&E environment, including:

  • How tests are planned and managed;
  • How risks are controlled;
  • The fundamentals of flight test data gathering;
  • How to report analysis and conclusions;
  • How to assess common aircraft systems such as navigation and radar.

Helicopter Ship Interface Training
This two week practical course provides test pilots and flight test engineers with the necessary knowledge to carry out complex helicopter/ship interface trials, including the establishment of ship/helicopter operating limits (SHOLs). It is also suitable for non-test pilots and non-flight test engineers who will be closely involved in future HSIT trials to enable them to become familiar with the techniques used in support of SHOL development activity.

Bridging Courses
Bridging courses will uprate test pilots and flight test engineers to Class A or CAT 1 standard, enabling them to deliver complex flight test programmes for experimental aircraft or activities. Taught the full advanced range of test techniques and analytics required for practically assessing the performance to specification of experimental aircraft, attendees will also be capable of planning, operating and reporting on multifaceted appraisal exercises.

Flight Test Professional Refresher
Complex skills can fade with time. These bespoke refresher courses aim to refresh a qualified flight test professional’s skill in both test techniques and analytical methods, in addition to the associated theory, to restore currency in essential fields ahead of a major trials programme. These courses can also be delivered to teams to enable your key team members to re-establish collaborative working skills for the flight test environment.

Bespoke Courses
If you have a unique challenge in either flight test or complex missions, We will also be pleased to support your activities by developing bespoke training packages that help to ensure your aircrews and supporting teams are suitably prepared to deliver the required outcomes in a safe, efficient, and effective manner.

Other short courses include:

  • Cyber Security Awareness for Airborne Systems
  • Introduction to Unmanned Test & Evaluation
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Top-Up for Qualified Test Professionals
  • Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Professional
  • Upset Prevention & Recovery Training Course
  • Post Maintenance Flight Check
  • Post Production Training Support
  • 9G Centrifuge Training

To discover more about our courses and how we can shape your flight test professionals, please contact us.