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Test Pilots

danny

War Hero
I wonder how well healed these test pilots are? Im guessing they are on a bit more than minimum wage.
Not that it makes the death of a man any less sad.
 

Pontius

War Hero
I wonder how well healed these test pilots are? Im guessing they are on a bit more than minimum wage.

I think you'd be quite surprised, Danny. Most of the testing is done in-house by the manufacturer's pilots before the aircraft get released to the military (for further testing and development) or to the civvies (for almost instant use on the line). Those pilots that work for the likes of Lockheed, Airbus, Boeing etc are not on huge bucks and, normally, it's only equivalent to their similarly experienced airline contemporaries. Of course, the military test pilots are on exactly the same wages as others of their rank.

Once upon a time I think it would have been very interesting to be a test pilot, especially in the 50s and 60s when there were great leaps in development. Nowadays, especially with airliners etc, almost everything has been tested in the wind tunnels and computer modelled before the test pilot steps into the machine and a great deal of the flying is made up of proving the systems work so the various authorities can approve the capabilities of the aircraft (ETOPS, autoland, GPS approaches etc). Have a look at the A350 first flight and compare that with the 10 minute, once around the houses, test flights that used to be carried out.

It would be great fun jumping into the F35 etc and playing with all the new toys in those machines but they're not on big salaries and I think I'd rather fly the machines once Boeing has finished mucking around them. A bunch of lovely girlies in the galley certainly beats smelly flight test engineers and their computers :).
 
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