QinetiQ has completed its modernisation of the new Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) fleet with the purchase of two Grob G 120TP fixed wing aircraft.
The Grob aircraft join the fleet alongside two new Pilatus PC-21 aeroplanes, purchased in December 2016, and four Airbus H125 helicopters, bought in March 2017. They will be used to train flight test engineers throughout all stages of their development.
Paul Shakespeare, QinetiQ’s Head of ETPS, said: “The Grob provides a safe and comfortable environment, ideal for new pilots learning the basics alongside their instructor. However, it is also extremely capable, allowing more experienced pilots to carry out advanced manoeuvres at high g-forces. Its low hourly operating cost reduces expense as barrier to practical learning, enabling students to get out of the classroom and spend more time in the air.”
The £6 million contract with Grob is part of QinetiQ’s commitment to modernising the UK’s test aircrew training through an £85 million programme of investment in the school. The investment was agreed as part of a £1billion deal with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD), announced on 2 December 2016, which ensures QinetiQ will continue to manage ETPS until at least 2028. The changes will reduce operating costs while improving capability, making the school more internationally competitive and providing a platform for future growth.
The strategy goes beyond new aircraft, with plans to revise the syllabus and the school having recently achieved Approved Training Organisation (ATO) certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). These developments support the training of test pilots for civil aircraft, creating opportunities for growth into new markets.
Steve Wadey, QinetiQ CEO, said: “In completing the new ETPS fleet we continue to deliver on our promise to update and future-proof test aircrew training. The success is part of our wider strategy to modernise the UK’s training and test and evaluation capabilities through a long-term programme of investment and innovation. We will continue to work alongside our customers to ensure their people and systems are mission-ready while achieving the best possible value for money.”