Test pilot and flight test engineer training requires access to a variety of different aircraft and helicopter types, equipped with flight test instrumentation to capture and record aircraft and systems parameters. The flight test instrumentation is crucial in the training process as it provides data in an accessible format that will otherwise not be available in standard production standard aircraft. Traditional flight test instrumentation installation involve extensive bespoke aircraft modification which results in the aircraft being restricted to test operations and operation under flight test permits only. While this is acceptable for aircraft used in developmental flight tests, it imposes significant management overheads and operational restrictions for test flying training. The specialised nature of flight test instrumentation also increase the risk of the project experiencing significant schedule and cost overruns.
GVH Aerospace was presented with the challenge of designing, modifying and certifying two Grob 120 TP procured by QinetiQ PLC for the UK Empire Test Pilot School. The aircraft is part of the fleet renewal and investment program. GVH Aerospace worked closely with QinetiQ to design the state-of-the-art flight test instrumentation that provides the next generation of test pilot training capability. The flight test instrumentation modification was certified as an EASA STC, allowing the aircraft to be operated in an unrestricted manner. The modified aircraft enters into service in 2019 to train the next generation of flight test pilots and engineers.