rw774477
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Test Flight Staff

Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:53 pm

How many engineers etc on board for test / certification flights .. any mandatory FAA presence ?

TIA

rw774477
 
roseflyer
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:59 am

If you are ever curious what a flight test is like, here is a trip report I wrote when I was on a 737 test flight as an engineer at Boeing:
Boeing 737 Test Flights + Jumpseat (predelivery) (by RoseFlyer Aug 24 2007 in Trip Reports)

As far as how many people are on board, It depends on what flight you are doing and what is being tested. First flights only ever have the pilots. After that, the minimum is three people usually. You have the two pilots and a flight test director. For safety reasons the number is kept as low as possible on a plane that is not certified (including factory fresh models of existing airplane types before they have been delivered to the customer).

On more complex flights where atypical work is being done, more engineers, technicians and sometimes mechanics are on board. I have been on test flights where there were about 15 people on board. Some were at specially designed monitoring stations with real live data on board which is where I sat. Others might be in passenger seats.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Wed Jan 06, 2010 2:44 am



Quoting Rw774477 (Thread starter):
How many engineers etc on board for test / certification flights

It varies, like RoseFlyer said. Anywhere from two (test pilots are usually engineers as well) to 40+.

Quoting Rw774477 (Thread starter):
any mandatory FAA presence ?

On a certification flight, the FAA must be represented. That may mean an actual FAA person, or an AR (authorized representative).

Tom.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:49 am



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 1):
here is a trip report I wrote when I was on a 737 test flight as an engineer at Boeing:

I remember that thread.......
I wish a manufacturer would document with pics or video an actual inside action of a Certification Flight.

regds
MEL.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:39 am



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 3):
I wish a manufacturer would document with pics or video an actual inside action of a Certification Flight.

Why a certification flight? They're generally more boring than a non-certification flight.

Tom.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:11 am



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 4):

Why a certification flight? They're generally more boring than a non-certification flight.

Not to someone technical.....The checks involved are educational.
If made into a documentary could be entertaining too.

regds
MEL.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
mattcawby
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:29 pm



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 1):
As far as how many people are on board, It depends on what flight you are doing and what is being tested. First flights only ever have the pilots.

I just saw an Emirates 777 leave Everett on a B1 and there were seven on board.
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roseflyer
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:16 am



Quoting Mattcawby (Reply 6):

I just saw an Emirates 777 leave Everett on a B1 and there were seven on board.

First flight for a design has minimal crew. First flight of the 787 had only 2 pilots. 1st flights of subsequent planes that are certified can have more crews since they are not experimental aircraft.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
474218
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:23 am



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 7):
First flight for a design has minimal crew. First flight of the 787 had only 2 pilots. 1st flights of subsequent planes that are certified can have more crews since they are not experimental aircraft.

All the 787's flown before type certification is granted must carry the word "experimental" over the entry doors.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:12 am



Quoting 474218 (Reply 8):

All the 787's flown before type certification is granted must carry the word "experimental" over the entry doors.

I believe first flight of all experimental aircraft carry the minimum crew and then after that the FAA is not as strict.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
474218
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:32 am



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 9):
I believe first flight of all experimental aircraft carry the minimum crew and then after that the FAA is not as strict.

If there is such a rule it was not in place in 1970. The first flight of the L-1011 had a crew four; (4) pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and flight test engineer, one (1) more than the required crew.
 
roseflyer
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:54 am



Quoting 474218 (Reply 10):

If there is such a rule it was not in place in 1970. The first flight of the L-1011 had a crew four; (4) pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer and flight test engineer, one (1) more than the required crew.

I believe it is FAR Part 23, but I don't know them well enough to be sure. Maybe someone else can answer it.

The FARs are a lot different now than they were in 1970. The first flights of the 787 and 777 only had the two pilots on board.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
tdscanuck
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RE: Test Flight Staff

Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:17 am



Quoting Mattcawby (Reply 6):
I just saw an Emirates 777 leave Everett on a B1 and there were seven on board.

Are you positive it was a B1? There should never be 7 people on a first flight.

Tom.

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