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QinetiQ and the MOD Celebrate 70th Anniversary of the Empire Test Pilots’ School


QinetiQ and the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) that is best known for training military test pilots and flight test engineers.

Established in 1943, the first of its kind in the world, ETPS trains graduates to lead and deliver complex, collaborative experimental trials on all types of fixed and rotary wing civil and military aircraft.

“A key element of our courses is learning practical flight test skills in flight on representative aircraft types” said CDR “Sparky” Macleod RN Commanding Officer ETPS. “Students are taught to identify deficiencies in flying qualities, performance, design and modern systems.”

This year, the school began flying the Avro RJ100, a new multi-engine platform, and another aircraft, the Avro RJ70, is planned to be introduced in 2014/15.

Other training platforms include the Agusta 109 helicopters, the SAAB Gripen and the unique fly by wire, variable stability ASTRA Hawk. A QinetiQ owned 6-axis full motion simulator is also used to complement practical flying training.

With the introduction of European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) compliant courses in line with new European regulations issued last year, student numbers at the school continue to rise.

“We are very pleased with the major changes that we have introduced at the school over the last,” said the Programme Manager, Andy Furze. “We are positioning ourselves as the world-leading flight-test school.”

After the British armed forces, Australia is the largest customer of ETPS. This year, the school is hosting five students from the Australian Defence Force. Other international customers include Singapore, USA and France.

“We have grown considerably over the past 70 years and been at the forefront of developing and delivering relevant flight test training. We look forward to another 70 years of the same,” said CDR Macleod.

Operating under the MOD’s regulatory and supervisory flying framework, ETPS is operated by QinetiQ as part of the Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA).

QinetiQ is ten years through the 25-year LTPA contract which is reviewed every five years.

QinetiQ and MOD successfully completed the regular five-yearly review of the existing LTPA and agreed terms for the provision of test and evaluation and training support services through to March 2018.

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