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Tehachapi High School students at National Test Pilot School


2024 NTPS Summer Flight Test Academy.

The National Test Pilot School (NTPS) recently concluded its Summer Flight Test Academy for high school students, offering a unique glimpse into the world of aerospace engineering and flight testing.

Four students from Tehachapi were selected by their teachers to participate in this program, along with 14 other students within the Antelope Valley. Commencing on June 17, the week long academy provided a hands-on education in aviation, covering a spectrum of subjects from aerodynamics to air-to-air refueling. This immersive experience was designed to ignite a passion for aviation among the next generation of aerospace enthusiasts.

Throughout the program, students delved into the intricacies of stall theory, climb performance theory and the principles governing both subsonic and supersonic aerodynamics. The curriculum was not just theoretical; it was complemented by practical applications during two exhilarating test flight sorties aboard a Beechcraft King Air C-90. These flights showcased essential flight test techniques including stalls, sawtooth climbs and linear accelerations, allowing students to witness firsthand the principles they had learned in the classroom.

Moreover, the academy extended beyond the confines of the classroom and into Mojave's aerospace community. Students had the unique opportunity to tour prominent companies based at Mojave Air and Space Port, including visits to Virgin Galactic, Scaled Composites, Astrobotics and the Mojave Air and Space Port control tower and fire station. These visits provided invaluable insights into the diverse facets of aerospace technology and operations, inspiring participants with real-world applications of their classroom knowledge.

A highlight of the academy was the chance to operate NTPS's diverse simulator fleet, where students honed their piloting skills and practiced conducting tests from the control room. This simulation experience not only reinforced their theoretical understanding but also instilled practical skills essential for future careers in aviation and aerospace engineering.

As the week drew to a close, the Summer Flight Test Academy left an indelible mark on its participants, equipping them with not just technical knowledge but also a profound appreciation for the limitless possibilities of aerospace exploration. With its blend of education, practical application and industry immersion, the academy stands as a testament to NTPS's commitment to shaping the future of aviation through education and innovation.