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Experimental Test Pilot

Overview: From Generals Jimmy Doolittle and Chuck Yeager to astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Gus Grissom, test pilots have been some of the most famous names in aviation. Experimental test pilots not only pilot aircraft in the testing stages but they also manage the research and testing programs.  

Position: Officer


Specific Tasks:

  • Formulate test procedures and conduct tests to evaluate structural integrity, performance, handling, reliability and suitability of aircraft and systems 
  • Manage research, test and evaluation projects and programs 
  • Identify design and operational deficiencies and recommend improvements


  • An undergraduate degree specializing in physical sciences, mathematics or engineering is mandatory 
  • Commission as an officer in the Air Force Reserve 
  • Current aeronautical rating and qualification for aviation service
  • Eligible for Top Secret security clearance


  • For those without a prior military service commission, successful completion of the eight-week Officer Training School at Maxwell AFB, AL is required 
  • Completion of Air Force Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) 
  • Completion of Air Force Test Pilot School, Experimental Test Pilot Course or equivalent U.S. Navy or foreign test pilot school

For more information on how to attend Undergraduate Flying Training, please download the Undergraduate Flying Training Guidebook

For more information on how to join the AFR as a qualified pilot, please download the Pilot Opportunities Guidebook.