We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Test Pilot?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A test pilot is a pilot who flies experimental aircraft and aircraft under development, carefully documenting the flight experience to provide feedback for the engineers working on the aircraft. Working as a test pilot requires a great deal of experience, a high level of skill, and the ability to precisely follow test plans and report on their outcome. While test pilots are often viewed as daredevils by the general public, they are actually very methodical, safety-conscious, and deliberate, since a simple mistake can be very dangerous in a new aircraft.

This profession has its origins in First World War-era Britain, when companies working on military aircraft needed pilots to test them. Well through the Second World War, most test pilots were thrill-seekers, since aircraft technology in general was so new that flying experimental aircraft was viewed as a pursuit for the insane. As aircraft became more refined, however, a different type of test pilot evolved, and militaries and private companies began looking for more responsible men and women to test their aircraft.

When a test pilot is given an assignment, he or she is given a precise test plan. The test plan dictates a series of maneuvers which the plane must be taken through, and often includes a series of questions which the pilot is supposed to respond to. The pilot is usually taped during the flight, and readings on the aircraft's monitors are also recorded.

Test pilots usually take the time to acquaint themselves thoroughly with the aircraft they are testing while they are still on the ground, and they remain vigilant in the air to any signs that the plane may be developing a problem. The judgment of test pilots is a critical factor: pilots may take planes down if they feel unsafe, for example, or opt out of a maneuver which the plane does not appear equipped for.

Some notable test pilots include: Chuck Yeager, Fritz Wendel, Neil Armstrong, Roland Beamont, and John Lankester Parker. Test piloting isn't limited to men: Hanna Reitsh, Hitler's personal pilot, was also a test pilot who worked for the Luftwaffe testing aircraft in the Second World War. Because many test pilots have previous military experience and many militaries restrict the opportunities available to women, test pilots are commonly men, but this isn't always the case.

You might make a good test pilot if you are capable of handling massive amounts of sensory input, chaotic situations, and very rigid, controlled job environments. Working as a test pilot can certainly be interesting, and there is fun to be had on the job, but test pilots must be able to follow directions precisely and respond immediately to issues with their aircraft. The work of test pilots contributes directly to the development of all kinds of aircraft, from experimental military bombers to the commercial aircraft which criss-cross the globe with passengers and freight every day.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WikiMotors researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.