Test Pilot

Test pilots are aviators with excellent credentials who play a crucial role in the aeronautics field because their job is to fly aircraft and determine whether it functions seamlessly and it meets required standards. In some cases the aircraft is new and the test pilot’s job is to determine whether everything is in proper working order and up to standards before an airline accepts it from the manufacturer. In other cases the test pilot flies aircraft that has been overhauled or renovated. They check to make sure every detail is in top notch condition and that the aircraft is safe and ready to be placed back into service. In general test pilots put the aircraft through maneuvers that allow them to measure whether it is operating as it should. They must have a feel for how the aircraft is performing and be able to cope with any problems that occur during the test flight. Test pilots are employed by aircraft manufacturers corporate flight companies and airlines. Also they are hired by the federal aviation administration (FAA) to fly planes with newly-designed equipment and to test whether new types of radar or runway lighting are acceptable. Test pilots also work for the military. Aspiring test pilots need a high school diploma but the website www.ehow.com says most employers require a bachelor’s degree with a background in aeronautical engineering a commercial pilot license and an FAA instrument rating. Flight time requirements depend on the employer and the type of aircraft to be tested but those flying large aircraft need a minimum of 2000 hours of flight time. Beginning test pilots are paid approximately $25000 annually. However those that have experience and perform in the riskiest situations can earn annual salaries up to $200000.

Education Required: Bachelor's Degree
Avg Salary: $112500
High Salary: $200000
Low Salary: $25000
Tasks: Tests aircraft to ensure safety.
Evaluates aircraft for its structural integrity.
Develops flight test procedures.
Knows how to handle aircraft during emergency situations.
Also Called: Aviation Inspector
Aviation Safety Expert
Maintenance Test Pilot
Flight Test Pilot
Additional Resources: http://www.ehow.com/facts_6754002_maintenance-test-pilot-job-description.html