Trainee test pilots at ETPS (Empire Test Pilots’ School), Britain’s world-class flight test training school, which is operated by QinetiQ in partnership with the UK MOD, will gain even greater access to flying Sweden’s new generation Gripen fighter under a new agreement with Saab Aerosystems.
The planned 2006 training campaigns will mirror the structured approach of the highly successful 2005 campaigns, but will see a 30% increase in student numbers, a 20% increase in flights per student, the training of a third ETPS Instructor Pilot (IP) and the inclusion of Flight Test Engineer students within a refined syllabus.
“Saab is delighted that the world’s foremost test pilots’ school has chosen to further expand the training of its students on the Gripen. Saab is a company with a high degree of interest in the art of flight test, so we are very happy to co-operate with such a prestigious flight test school and expose our aircraft to such high-level personnel. We are fully committed to supporting whatever future aspirations the ETPS may have for Gripen”, says Christer Dahlberg, Senior Vice President Marketing at Saab Aerosystems.
Since 1999, ETPS has included Gripen in its test pilot training courses, working in conjunction with Saab. Groups of trainees and their instructor pilots (IP’s) have gone to Sweden to experience Gripen’s advanced cockpit technology and flight characteristics.
“Modern aircraft rely on advanced systems for their effectiveness. For this reason, ETPS students are given access to a wide range of aircraft. Expanding our use of the Gripen allows ETPS to teach systems integration more effectively and on the latest platforms”, says Steve Westwood, Business Manager at ETPS.
Following the highly successful 2005 ETPS Gripen training campaigns, for which all syllabus requirements were met, zero flights were lost due to unserviceability, and where all teaching goals in all areas were exceeded, the new 2006 deal will build on this success, further embedding Gripen as an integral part of the ETPS course.
In 2006, each ETPS course will contain two training campaigns (May and September) to be undertaken by seven (7) students with three (3) Instructor Pilot’s (IP’s). The IP’s will undergo a three-week conversion exercise, in April, to qualify them on Gripen. The test pilot students will be drawn from the French Air Force, the United States Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force and Britain’s Royal Air Force. Each student will fly Gripen for twelve and a half (12.5) hours with a complementary course of simulator flying. Flight operations will be undertaken at Linköping, while simulator training will be conducted at the Swedish Air Force F7 Wing, Såtenäs.
The expanded ETPS project is being carried out in close co-operation with Saab Aerosystems and the Swedish Air Force, and will further strengthen the excellent relations that already exist between these highly skilled operators.