United States Naval Test Pilot School

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United States Naval Test Pilot School
US Naval Test Pilot School emblem 2014.png
Active1945 - present
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Navy
RoleTest pilot school
Part ofActive
Garrison/HQNaval Air Station Patuxent River

The United States Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS), located at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Patuxent River, Maryland, provides instruction to experienced United States Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and foreign military experimental test pilots, flight test engineers, and flight test flight officers in the processes and techniques of aircraft and systems testing and evaluation.[1]


The school was established in 1945, when the Navy's Flight Test Group transferred from Naval Air Station Anacostia, Washington, DC to Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The selection process is highly competitive, and applicants are chosen by a selection board. USNTPS is the primary test pilot school for U.S. Army aviators, as it is the only U.S. military test pilot school to offer instruction on rotary-wing aircraft.

Notable alumni include astronauts Alan Shepard (in 1951), Scott Carpenter (1954), Jim Lovell (1958), Wally Schirra (1958), John Young (1959), John Glenn (class 12), Pete Conrad (1958), Alan Bean, Frederick Gregory (Class 58), Charles Bolden (former NASA Administrator and former Space Shuttle Commander), Pierre Thuot (Class 83), Mark Kelly, Richard Gordon (Class 19), William "Willie" McCool (Class 101), Sunita Williams (1993), and Stephen S. Oswald. Additional alumni include Edward "Whitey" Feightner (class 2), Paul Sohl, James Bond Stockdale, and Richard G. Thomas (class 31).


  1. ^ Wilson, George (1992). Flying the Edge: The Making of Navy Test Pilots. Annapolis, Maryland, USA: US Naval Institute Press. p. 271. ISBN 9781557509253.

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