The Test Pilot community stands at the cusp of a revolution today. While AI and automation are the new buzzwords to enhance safety and reduce workload, hull losses continue to occur which are traced back to humble legacy pitot static systems and angle of attack vanes. Assumptions made by design teams fail in the real world with catastrophic consequences. All these areas rely on the domain expertise of the test pilot and require the community to step up and provide the necessary inputs to ensure Flight Safety. The community is responsible for the safety of the end users – the military and civilian pilots. It is an onerous task and a heavy burden.
Seldom has progress in any area been as spectacular as it has been in the realm of aerospace. A pilot from the first part of the twentieth century would be awestruck at the level of technology available in the cockpit today. The Test Pilot community has been a witness to the entire evolution, supporting it and providing the vital safety oversight. Where the Test Pilot inputs were sought well in time and considered, the program has benefited. Where this was not done or done late, the results can be inefficient at best and catastrophic at worst.