Jump to content
  • 0
Zulu

Test Pilot School - AD vs ANG

Question

If my ultimate goal is to become a test pilot, would I be better off going AD or ANG?

It seems like it is entirely possibly for ANG pilots to apply and get accepted to TPS. I know that there are huge benefits to the ANG (knowing your aircraft and location), but could AD potentially be a better option?

One of the reasons I don't want to go AD is because I want to fly fighters, but if I my larger goal is to become a test pilot, it wouldn't matter if I was assigned heavies, right?

Also based on the requirements to apply for TPS (Less than 9 years and 6 months in service, 12 months AC in a MWS, 750 hours of being an IP in a MWS), would it be easier/faster to achieve these hours going AD?

 

Please let me know what you think/ where my thinking might be wrong.

 

Side question: What kind of assignments do test pilots get after TPS? Do they incur an extra service commitment and usually stay at Edwards?

Edited by Zulu

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

9 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 1

There are a few opportunities, that is maybe one slot per year, for an ANG pilot to attend TPS.  Whereas on active duty, you have a better shot numerically speaking of being selected, whether as a fighter, bomber, or heavy pilot.  Realize that if you went to the ANG and applied to TPS, you would almost certainly move from your original home unit post-TPS to fulfill duties as a test pilot.  Locations vary based on needs of the AF, ANG, and are usually associated with AATC missions.   

Concerning your question about which path will garner the minimum qualifications faster: it depends.  Right now, with absorption issues in the AD CAF, there is a good chance that you could move from an MWS assignment after just 2-2.5 years thereby leaving you short of MWS hours.  Fortunately, IP time matters, so if you were to teach at UPT or IFF, your application would not necessarily suffer.  Although, speaking from experience, the product we test and deliver to the warfighter suffers when the testers involved have less operational experience, that is another topic altogether.

Finally, depending on your aircraft background, you will likely be assigned to Eglin or Edwards for fighters following TPS.  For bombers or heavies, Edwards is the most likely location.  There are a few exchanges, namely to the UK and Canada, that appear periodically as well and vary in requirement concerning MWS background.  You will incur a three-year commitment post-TPS.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thanks for the detailed reply. Seems like if TPS is my end goal, it may be better to go AD. Hard to know exactly what I want at this point though. I'm just going to be so happy if I get a slot anywhere.

Follow on question. Does your assignment after TPS usually involve flying the same type of aircraft that you flew before TPS? That is, if you flew fighters before, you will likely be testing fighters after?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
1 hour ago, matmacwc said:

Yes and no, get through UPT first.

I understand that UPT is challenging and that I am likely getting ahead of myself, but I’m just trying to get as much information as I can to try and figure out what path I want to take.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
1 hour ago, Zulu said:

I understand that UPT is challenging and that I am likely getting ahead of myself, but I’m just trying to get as much information as I can to try and figure out what path I want to take.

:aviator:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Honestly, the only guard bubba I recall see go through is a current student, and I’ve been here either on staff or attached as an instructor for 3.5 years. That said, if there’s a slot open, there may be less competition for it than on AD, because I’m guessing most guard guys aren’t interested in the commitment.

As to airframes after TPS, I’d say it’s about 60-70% go back to your original airframe, for the first assignment at least. It’s all about timing. And that’s across all types of aircraft.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

On this same topic, I've heard going through with TPS is pretty much a one way door. E.g once you become a test pilot the rest of your assignments are typically in a test squadron. Is this accurate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
On 11/21/2017 at 1:20 PM, tedybearofdoom said:

On this same topic, I've heard going through with TPS is pretty much a one way door. E.g once you become a test pilot the rest of your assignments are typically in a test squadron. Is this accurate?

More often than not, going to TPS means you close the door on returning to your former community.  When someone does return to their operational community, it is most often a MAF or SOF pilot, but a few CAF pilots have returned to the CAF; it's just less common.  Where some doors close, others open.  You may give up a chance to return to ops, but there are opportunities in the test world, which become available and are unique/satisfying as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0
2 hours ago, Muscle2002 said:

More often than not, going to TPS means you close the door on returning to your former community.  When someone does return to their operational community, it is most often a MAF or SOF pilot, but a few CAF pilots have returned to the CAF; it's just less common.  Where some doors close, others open.  You may give up a chance to return to ops, but there are opportunities in the test world, which become available and are unique/satisfying as well.

Thanks for information! I'm a freshly minted LT so if you can help me out with the acronyms that would be appreciated. My goal is to get to TPS and make sure I position myself in the next few years to reach that goal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×