Questions tagged [flight-testing]

Flight testing refers to those activities on an aircraft for the purpose of gathering scientific or engineering data or demonstrating compliance with airworthiness regulations.

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How do test pilots verify TAS?

This question is about what methods/technology test pilots have at their disposal to verify airspeed indicator calibration during flight-phase testing. A paper published in 2001 by David Rogers ...
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Calculating airspeed by flying in a U shape: Horseshoe Heading Technique

I saw some equation in a log recently and I believe it went something as follows: $v_1$ : flying North, $\ \ v_2$ : flying West, $\ \ v_3$ : flying South. $$ \text{TAS} = \frac 1 2 \sqrt{v_1^2+v_2^2+...
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2 votes
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Calendar months "preceding month" vs "before date"?

What is the difference between 14 CFR 61.39(a)(6)(i) which states, "Has received and logged training time within 2 calendar months preceding the month of the application in preparation for the ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Is it legal to hire a test pilot to conduct the first flight of a homebuilt ultralight in the United States?

Is it legal in the United States to hire a test pilot to conduct the first flight(s) of a homebuilt ultralight? This seems like a bit of a grey area- FAR 103.1(b) states that an ultralight aircraft is ...
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Were there civilian female test pilots in the 60's?

In 1962, women couldn't become astronauts because NASA had a requirement that astronauts be experimental jet test pilots. In the 60's, were there any civilian test pilots that tested planes that weren'...
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4 votes
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How many thousands of flight hours does it take to certify a jetliner?

How much time in flight hours does it take for a civilian aircraft (the Airbus A350-1000 for example) to get its certification from say either FAA or EASA? To make the question more practical, I used ...
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What is that little black thing tied to the vertical stabilizer? [duplicate]

I have seen this on all Boeing test planes, does this provide information on the planes performance?
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10 votes
3 answers
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Could the Mars helicopter Ingenuity have been test-flown outdoors at JPL just for the heck of it? (not that they would)

The Ingenuity helicopter that has flown on Mars is designed for roughly 0.01 bar pressure and a colder atmosphere made of mostly CO2. See links (including video) in this answer to What JPL laboratory ...
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What does this logo on prototype aircrafts or cars for test mean? [duplicate]

Sometimes on prototype cars or aircrafts we see a logo just like BMW logo. e.g. Why? What does it mean? What is it for?
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Can we submit and sign the 8710 in IACRA after the check ride?

I work at a 142 school and was told we can submit and esign the 8710 after the check ride. The digital esignature shows a date time stamp 9-hours after the beginning of the oral and flight exam. I ...
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14 votes
2 answers
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Did I witness an engine test for a 757 at MAN?

A while ago (Summer 2020) I was walking near MAN airport (UK) and saw a 757 taking off. There was a peculiar event during takeoff and I'd love to know what it was. Once airborne at about 1000 feet (...
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Are test pilots certified to fly all aircraft types?

I just saw an hour long MIT lecture for no reason and the lecturer said he has flown over 70 kinds of aircraft. Does that mean a test pilot is certified to fly almost anything?
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Can an aircraft be issued a standard airworthiness certificate after being operated under and experimental certificate?

14 CFR, §21.191 (b) states that experimental airworthiness certificates can be used when: Showing compliance with regulations. Conducting flight tests and other operations to show compliance with ...
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How do Flight Test Engineers plan and execute sortie profiles?

Can someone from the field explain with a simple example the process of planning and executing a sortie profile as an FTE. Any reference books for an insight into the subject would be appreciated.
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36 votes
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Why was this commercial jet accompanied by small plane near Seattle?

From the South Beach Campground on the western shore of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State we observed this unusual formation: I only had a Sony RX100 at hand but perhaps the image quality is ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Why don’t aircraft undergo contaminated-runway landing-distance and rejected-takeoff certification testing?

All aircraft have to undergo testing to determine how much runway they need in order to safely land and come to a stop, or to safely reject a takeoff. They do not, however, have to undergo this ...
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Why are landing-distance and rejected-takeoff certification tests performed without thrust reversers? [duplicate]

All aircraft have to undergo testing to determine how much runway they need in order to land and come to a stop without running out of runway, and how much runway they need in order to be able to ...
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21 votes
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What is the purpose of the black and white stickers on test aircraft?

I want to ask what is the purpose of black and white stickers used on test aircraft. The following is a picture: I have seen variations of such stickers. Does anyone know what is reason for their ...
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Has any Cessna Denali ever flown yet...?

With all the articles and hypes around the new Cessna Denali with its GE catalyst turbo-prop engine, I am wondering has any prototype of this plane made it into the air yet? I understand that the ...
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20 votes
5 answers
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Why do uncontained engine failures still occur?

One of the absolute requirements of an aircraft turbine engine (usually some sort of turbofan or turboprop) installation is that, in the event of a destructive failure of the engine, the engine ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Checkerboard painted on fuselage of Boeing test aircraft

What is the purpose of the four square block checkerboard painted on the aft fuselage of Boeing's flight test aircraft? It is either break in markings for fire rescue or some sort of optical ...
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18 votes
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For what program was this Cessna 182 fitted with canards?

I want to see if anyone knows what the heck is going on here. I was doing a flight out in Palo Alto California recently, and during the run up this Cessna 182 pulled in next to us. It appears to ...
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5 votes
2 answers
876 views

How can someone without a pilot's license arrange an initial test flight for a homebuilt aircraft?

I think this has more to do with culture and expectations than actual rules, so maybe this might attract opinionated answers, but I still want to know what people think: If a person were to construct ...
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2 votes
2 answers
233 views

What was the first control room--used for flight test--established in aerospace history?

The control room for space missions in Houston is probably the best, most widely known example of a control room. It is an operations center used in support and execution of flight and space missions....
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1 vote
1 answer
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Propeller Curve Modification on Test Rig

this is my first stack exchange question so please bear with me if I have missed a rule: I tried searching for this question to no avail. I have an off-the-shelf propeller for the purpose of eventual ...
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6 votes
2 answers
616 views

Why doesn't the 747 that is testing the GE9X have winglets?

Why doesn't the 747 that is testing the GE9X have winglets? The news says it is a 747-400, but it doesn't have winglets.
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is the purpose of long endurance test flights?

Well known is the last long endurance test flight by a Boeing B787-8, which drew its shape in the air for 18 hours while on a long endurance test flight: https://www.wired.com/story/boeing-787-8-...
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What is the reference chord for AoA measurement or calculation in a twisted wing?

Let us assume we have a rectangular, unswept wing with no dihedral and a given wing twist and we want to measure in flight or calculate its $c_L$ vs $\alpha$ (angle of attack) diagram. Of course each ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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Who was the first flight test engineer?

The discipline of Flight Test Engineering has existed since at least 1903, but when did engineers identify their work, distinguish their work from other disciplines, under terms that would mark it as ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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When did the color orange enter flight test?

When did the color orange enter flight test? As early as the Bell X-1, pictured here, aircraft were painted orange to enhance visibility. Later, in 1959, a study was conducted that suggested the ...
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6 votes
4 answers
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What experimental techniques should one employ during cruise flight to determine correct airspeed to fly for max range in a headwind or tailwind?

Theory demonstrates that one ought to increase speed in an headwind, and decrease speed in a tailwind to achieve maximum range. A lengthy discussion on the theoretical solution was answered, though ...
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4 votes
0 answers
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Were RCS tests performed on the ATF YF-22/YF-23 prototypes?

I know that radar cross-section (RCS) tests were performed on geometric models of both the YF-22 and YF-23 prototype submitted for the Advanced Tactical Fighter (ATF) competition, but were the same ...
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7 votes
5 answers
568 views

Were there any test flying incidents during which the pilots managed to escape the plane?

I am only asking about flight testing civilian jets, not military ones. I know that all test pilots have to be equipped with a parachute, so I wonder was there any incident where the test pilots and ...
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3 votes
1 answer
390 views

What's the benefit of this long flight (apart from marketing)?

The post Do promotional flight routes have a historical precedent? asks about previous occurrences. I'm guessing this flight (shown below) was a test flight, as well as being a marketing attempt. ...
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6 votes
2 answers
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How are special flight paths coordinated with ATC?

I assume they have to enter a flightplan for this or do say just say "it's a test, please clear airspace for us around the complete US"? Still flying and completing the right wing. I would ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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How are fuel tanks tested and certified?

What ground tests are carried out for testing and certifying wing fuel tanks for use in passenger aircraft? Is there any chamber to simulate flight conditions? If so, how is the chamber constructed?
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5 votes
2 answers
357 views

How much testing to commerical aircraft manufacturers typically do on each new plane after it rolls off the production line?

I just came across an article on Wired about Boeing's new 787-10 where they said the type had been tested for over 5000 hours in a range of conditions. Obviously, the very first model is tested to ...
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11 votes
1 answer
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Why is tethered hover testing performed on helicopters?

The KGUC website notes that they have a tether for helicopter testing. From what I can tell this testing has something to do with hot and high conditions, but I don't know what the purpose is of ...
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14 votes
1 answer
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How did the US get the necessary knowledge to maintain their MiGs?

I read a book entitled America's Secret MiG Squadron by Gaillard Peck some time ago. Just occurred to me though, how exactly did the US maintain these birds? Did we write any tech data? Did we acquire ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How can we operate wing bending tests?

I understand why we do wing bending tests. Now I want to learn more about the test. How is it performed? I mean in what conditions, with what equipment and what are we expecting after we perform this ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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Why do we complete wing bending tests?

My question is simple.. Why do we need wing bending tests, what can we learn from them and how can this help us evolve the product?
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19 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why are the tails always painted, but not the fuselage, in test and delivery flights?

Granted some airlines prefer to paint their own planes, but we always see planes like the one below, protective coating everywhere but the tail. Why's that? (Source)
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9 votes
1 answer
529 views

How does ATC control / separate Airbus Industrie test flights?

Airbus is testing a A321 (D-AVXA, flight AIB97XA) around Toulouse this morning. The test is at low altitude, with many speed and altitude changes, including touch and go (maybe rolling slowly on the ...
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7 votes
3 answers
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How do manufacturers/kit providers determine Vne?

Vne defines the maximum indicated airspeed which should not be exceeded. And clearly, doing so would result in "bad things" happening like flutter, etc. Presumably manufacturers do some sort of design ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Do new VHF radios need to be flight tested?

I'm in the process of upgrading all our VHF radios and the local regulator has asked us to follow the guidance/recommendations from ICAO, as we have more or less cancelled many of our local rules. The ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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What is the difference between Flight Test and Test Flight?

What is the difference between Test Flight and Flight Test? Are they the same thing or synonymous?
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7 votes
2 answers
9k views

How do I become a flight test engineer?

I would like to know the whole process to become a flight test engineer (FTE). Do I need to take any FAA specific flight test engineer certificate, apart from an aerospace engineering degree? Do I ...
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14 votes
3 answers
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Why are airports like Roswell and Fresno so popular for flight tests?

I recently visited Roswell, NM, and was surprised at how many flight tests have been performed there. Even the fatal Gulfstream flight test crash happened there. My research shows that a lot of ...
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37 votes
4 answers
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Can supersonic conditions be replicated on the ground?

In a previous question the P&W J 58 engine for the SR-71 was discussed. The engine was a new and innovative design combining the characteristics of a turbojet and a ramjet. Before flying with ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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Has the wrong engine ever been mounted after maintenance?

Keeping in mind that a plane can fly with different engine models (e.g. for test purposes), has an error ever happened during normal operations that led to the wrong engine being mounted? Is some kind ...
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