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United States Air Force Test Pilot School

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The U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (USAF TPS) is the Air Force's advanced flight training school that trains experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test navigators to carry out tests and evaluations of new aerospace weapon systems and also other aircraft of the U.S. Air Force. This school was established on September 9th 1944 as the Flight Test Training Unit at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (AFB) in Dayton, Ohio. To take advantage of the uncongested skies, usually superb flying weather, and the lack of developed zones in the event of crashing, the test pilot school was officially moved to its present location at Edwards Air Force Base in the northwestern Mojave Desert of Southern California on February 4th, 1951.

The Test Pilot School was created to formalize and standardize test pilot training in order to reduce the high accident rate during the 1940s and increase the number of productive test flights. In response to the increasing complexity of aircraft and their electronic systems, the school added training programs for flight test engineers and flight test navigators. Between 1962 and 1972, the test pilot school included astronaut training for armed forces test pilots, but these classes were dropped when the U.S. Air Force manned spaceflight program was suspended. Class sizes have been uniformly quite small, with recent classes having about twenty students. The school is a component of the 412th Test Wing of the Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC).

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