THE organization, training, attitude, and esprit of the crew are all-important for successful flight-testing of large aircraft, Mr. Allen shows. These problems, he explains, are similar to those involved in the functioning of a military unit or of a city government. Choosing the required personnel of from 3 to 10 men fitted to their various duties, training and coordinating them, and building up an efficient unit for collecting accurate flight-test data under conditions of hazardous operation devolves upon the chief test pilot.
Since flight-testing involves continuously extending the range of investigation of flight characteristics toward margins of safety, the principle of least hazard has been developed to guide all flight planning and all test operation. This least-hazard principle guides the testing of structure and functional systems through the initial flights, stability tests, performance tests, and flying qualities determination.
The high cost per minute of test flying is another factor of extreme importance brought out by Mr. Allen and, to keep this cost down, a detailed flight plan is followed accurately.
Flight-testing techniques have developed so rapidly during the last few years, and particularly during the last few months, Mr. Allen qualifies, that any attempt to define the status of the art becomes obsolete at once. “It is no longer a field for the test pilot of movie conception; it is the work of the aerodynamicist.”