United States Naval Test Pilot School

The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland, provides instruction to experienced United States Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and foreign military experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test flight officers in the processes and techniques of aircraft and systems testing and evaluation[1][2].

United States Naval Test Pilot School
United States Naval Test Pilot School patch
Active1945 - present
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Navy
Typetest pilot school
RoleTraining of test pilots and flight test engineers
Part ofNaval Air Warfare Center
Home stationNaval Air Station Patuxent River


The school was established in 1945, when the Navy's Flight Test Group transferred from Naval Air Station Anacostia, Washington, DC to Naval Air Station Patuxent River and Test Pilot Training Division or TPT was established.

USNTPS is the primary test pilot school for U.S. Army aviators, as it is the only U.S. military test pilot school to offer instruction on rotary-wing aircraft. Class 1 graduated December 21, 1948. In 1957 the school's name was officially changed to the United States Naval Test Pilot School.


  • Rotary Wing Syllabus introduced in 1961
  • 11 month syllabus established in 1973
  • Airborne Systems Syllabus introduced in 1975
  • Short Course Department organised in 1997


The selection process is highly competitive, and applicants are chosen by a selection board. The curriculum accommodates three main specialities with two classes annually (11 months in duration):

  • fixed wing (pilot/engineer)
  • rotary wing (pilot/engineer)
  • airborne systems (Naval flight officer/engineer)

Training programme includes[2]:

  • pre-arrival flight training in T-6 (NAS Pensacola), T-38C (Randolph AFB), H-72 and H-60 (WAATS, Marana, AZ)
  • 530 academic hours
  • 100 sorties/120 flight hours
  • about 25 technical reports

Instructional flow is traditional theory to practice: classroom, lab and simulation, exercise briefing and flight demonstration, later data flights with technical reports preparation, review/debrief/critique[2].

Notable alumni

Those include (by year/class of graduation):

See also


  1. Wilson, George (1992). Flying the Edge: The Making of Navy Test Pilots. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: US Naval Institute Press. p. 271. ISBN 9781557509253.
  2. "US Naval Test Pilot School - Rotary Wing Proqram Update by Craig R. Nixon" (PDF). fcc.vtol.org. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
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