Two-Place Swedish Fighters Will Be Available To Students
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 greater access to flying Sweden's fourth-generation
fighter under a new agreement with Saab, brokered by Gripen
International. The deal sees an extension of flying hours for ETPS
students, as well as greater flying autonomy and will cover the
next three years.
Since 1999, ETPS has included Gripen in its test pilot training
courses, working in conjunction with Saab. Select groups of
trainees and their instructor pilots (IPs) have gone to Sweden to
experience Gripen's advanced cockpit technology and flight
characteristics. ETPS Business Manager, Steve Westwood, said:
"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
The ETPS course for both pilots and engineers provides exposure
to a comprehensive range of aircraft types, fixed and rotary wing
from large multi engined types and fast jets. Access to Gripen
provides one element of this varied experience.
ETPS Commanding Officer, Commander 'Charlie' Brown explained:
"Our students gain invaluable insight into the design of a
fourth-generation platform through the inclusion of flying time on
Gripen in our syllabus. They learn how to apply their test pilot
techniques in an agile, fly-by-wire combat aircraft, a vital part
of their preparation as test pilots of the future. This new
agreement marks a significant step forward in the relationship of
ETPS with Gripen."
This year, the Gripen aircraft will be fully integrated into the
school's training syllabus. For the first time, Gripen will be
flown exclusively by ETPS personnel - with two-seat aircraft
occupied by an ETPS IP and student on every flight. Until now, a
Saab test pilot has always been on board but, during 2005, Gripen
will be released entirely to the ETPS.
Each ETPS course will contain two training campaigns to be
undertaken by five students with two IPs. The instructors will
undergo a three-week conversion exercise to qualify them on Gripen.
The test pilot trainees will be drawn from Britain's Royal Air
Force and the Royal Australian Air Force. Each student will fly
Gripen for 11 hours over a 10 flight programme, with a
complementary course of simulator flying. Flight operations will be
undertaken at Link�ping, while simulator training will be
conducted at F7 Wing, Satenas.
The expanded ETPS project is being managed in close co-operation
with Saab Aerosystems and the Swedish Air Force, and further
strengthens the excellent relations that already exist between
these highly skilled operators.