With an unrivalled 80 year heritage and state-of-the-art training facilities, ETPS provides world-leading training for flight test professionals.

As the world’s first test pilot school, ETPS has trained over 1500 students from no less than 32 different countries over the past 80 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.

ETPS is justifiably proud of its military heritage, but also of its transition into a civilian-based school. As a result of its transformation, ETPS remains unique amongst test schools.

It maintains its military ethos by having a Royal Navy Commanding Officer, who works in partnership with QinetiQ civilian staff and leads his military instructors. This military link enables us to share experiences and staff, with other top military schools around the world, enabling it to maintain its place within the top four schools. With its long UK MOD heritage, ETPS is able to attract global students who are keen to learn under the prestigious brand that is ETPS.

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 instructors who are recognised for their expertise globally, our modular courses for Test Pilots, Flight Test Engineers, Un-crewed Aircraft 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 aircraft 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 80 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 one of the premier test schools, all of us at ETPS are proud of our aviation heritage. Developing flying and engineering skills, practising critical thinking and taking a broad perspective in order to distil and communicate useful findings are all important principles today as much as they were when ETPS was formed in 1943.

With no time to rest on our laurels, we remain 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 and resilience in all circumstances.

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

Designed to build experience quickly, our intensive courses ensure that 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 high value 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, safely assess the operational bounds of platforms for their unique roles (in military and civilian operations) and ensure full regulatory compliance.

Modular, cost and time-effective courses

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

Unique Learning Management System

Our bespoke digital learning management system (LMS) is the first one of its kind among the 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 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, Test & Evaluation (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.

ETPS is recognised as an Approved Training Organisation (ATO) by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which 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).

Our history
Our methodology

First Party Fleet

QinetiQ has invested in an extensive and modern air fleet to ensure the highest quality of delivery at ETPS. The fleet draws from a wide range of manufacturers to ensure our students experience and learn to test the many different design philosophies used to develop modern aircraft. In addition to the fleet change, QinetiQ is investing in its own simulation facilities to replace its existing capability.

With the changing needs of the future flight test professional – via the introduction of digital T&E and the future evolution of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies - it is ETPS’ mission to provide a forward step in how to train and test the next generation with the different approaches required for these emerging technologies.

Beechcraft King Air 350
Beechcraft King Air 350
Airbus H145
Airbus H145
Avro RJ
Avro RJ
Agusta A109
Agusta A109
Airbus H125
Airbus H125
Diamond DA42
Diamond DA42
Grob G120TP
Grob G120TP

Third Party Fleet

In addition to our own fleet, QinetiQ and ETPS have developed long-standing relationships and close collaborations with suppliers and test centres around the world. This enables us to ensure our students gain access to unique aircraft and capabilities that ensure an exceptionally rich learning experience that gives students an insight into numerous working methods and operating environments, meeting both military and civilian requirements.

Calpsan Learjet
Calspan Learjet IFS
NH90 Sim and Platform
4th Generation Fighter Jet
Airbus A350
GB1 GameBird

Third Party Aircraft / Simulators

Qualitative Evaluation
NRC Rotary Wing Airborne Simulator
Cat D Fixed Wing Sims (B777 and A300 series)
F35 Sim
Rotary Wing Sims - Hemet Mounted Display (HMD)
ETPS Fleet

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 Regional Jet (RJ), AW139, A109, Airbus H125, and – uniquely for a flight test school – a fourth generation fighter aircraft, currently Eurofighter Typhoon. Students also have access to a custom-built flight simulator.

All primary delivery platforms at ETPS have a fully bespoke 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. As all the FTI modification are civil CAA Supplementary Type Certificate (STC) approved, student Pilots are allowed to ‘fly solo’, either truly on their own, or with a student FTE on some types of the core fleet. This represents real-world exposure to the role expected of the students when they successfully complete the ETPS course.

The Avro RJ70 airborne test facility allows us to train entire classes from the air, with live readouts of parameters for flight test 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 innovative 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 synthetics exercises , 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 hundreds of years 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 first 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 instructors. The LMS allows us to offer distance learning opportunities for our students.

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.

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 and Class B/CAT 2 – with all students completing a common foundation in Test & Evaluation (T&E) before specialising in either fixed wing (fast-jet or multi-engine)or rotary wing aircraft.

Class A/CAT 1
By completing a Class A course, test pilots and flight test 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’s Class B course qualifies test pilots and engineers to conduct developmental test flying and is delivered in approx. 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 (rotary wing) and 30 weeks (fixed wing).

Bridging Courses
Bridging course supports the prerequisites for an existing Class B / Cat 2 flight test professional to integrate with the advance phase of the ETPS course to achieve 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.

Uncrewed Air System Test Course
This course will develop the skills and competencies of flight test practitioners to enable them to lead test teams working in the ever-changing workspace of uncrewed air systems. The course will equip graduates to meet the operational demands and work with industry in the rapidly evolving UAS sector.

The core of the course is the airborne assessment of systems through access to crewed and uncrewed platforms with a variety of aircraft and mission systems. The expertise developed within this course are extensively practised in the world of UAS and crewed platforms, and have been specifically selected for the course.

Short & Bespoke Courses

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

Evaluator Aircrew (Crewed/Un-crewed)
The course is designed to introduce basic 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 Helicopter Ship Interface Training trials to enable them to become familiar with the techniques used in support of SHOL development activity.

Flight Test Professional Refresher
Complex skills can fade with time. These bespoke refresher courses aim to refresh a qualified flight test professional’s skills 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.

Maintenance Test Flying (MTF)
The ETPS Maintenance Test Flying (MTF) course is designed for flight crews selected to carry out MTF as directed under UK Military Aviation Authority Regulations and equivalents. The majority of the course is generic in nature to broaden the scope and allow inclusion of wider regulations, practise and experience and is appropriate for crews performing similar activity under civilian regulation. Target trainees are those required to plan, fly and report on MTFs and also those in a supervisory and/or authorisation capacity.

Bespoke Courses
If you have a unique challenge in either flight test or complex missions, we will 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:

  • Uncrewed Aerial Systems Top-Up for Qualified Test Professionals
  • 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.