The Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) has been recognised by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as an Approved Training Organisation (ATO), certified to train test pilots to civil standards.
The accreditation means ETPS is one of three schools in the world, and the first in the UK, able to provide test pilots with course completion certificates needed to obtain civil Flight Test Ratings* in compliance with new EASA regulations.
Paul Shakespeare, Head of ETPS at QinetiQ, which manages the school in partnership with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), said: “All civilian test pilots in Europe, such as those working in-house for aircraft manufacturers or graduates seeking commercial work, must now receive training from an accredited school. Our ability to provide this vital training will be greatly welcomed by our existing customers, and will create growth opportunities in new international markets as companies and individuals react to the new EASA rules.”
The accreditation supports the school’s continuing modernisation programme, under which QinetiQ and the MOD are investing £85m to transform its courses and the air fleet used to deliver them. The programme is part of a £1bn contract, announced in December 2016, which ensures QinetiQ will continue to manage ETPS until at least 2028.
Implementation of the modernisation programme began in January 2016 with the purchase of two Pilatus PC-21 fixed wing aircraft, destined to carry out duties currently performed by an ageing fleet that includes Hawks and Alpha Jets.
Paul added: “We have listened to our customers and refreshed our approach to focus more on the things that matter to them. While we continue to deliver the military training for which we are renowned, civilian trainees will benefit from shorter and more flexible courses, enabling a better balance between learning and working. Newer, more advanced aircraft and updated teaching methods will keep ETPS at the forefront of test aircrew training, reasserting the reputation for excellence we have maintained for nearly 75 years.”
QinetiQ expects to make more announcements about the new ETPS fleet over the next few weeks.
Notes for Editors:
*Flight Test Ratings and new EASA regulations
EASA now requires civil aviation test pilots to hold a Flight Test Rating (FTR) on their licence before being permitted to work in Europe. To apply, the student must first receive a course completion certificate from an Approved Training Organisation. The student can then use the certificate as evidence to support an application through their national regulator for their FTR.
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