The Test Pilot’s Story

The Test Pilot's Story
WhenJune 10, 2023 at 13:30
WhereThe Library, Sturminster Newton
Bath Road
Sturminster Newton
Dorset
DT10 1EE

Event Type
Price£8
BookingPreferred
Tickets
Tickets for this event are also available at 1855, Sturminster Newton while stocks last. Click for opening hours.

Writer Chris Taylor talks about his extraordinary career as a test pilot both with the Royal Navy and with civilian aircraft.

Chris Taylor has had a very successful career as a Royal Navy officer, helicopter pilot, test pilot, instructor and as an internationally acclaimed civil certification test pilot. His first book, ‘Test Pilot’, concentrates on anecdotes and incidents from the most recent phase of his career.

This book is the prequel and his account of his ten years’ service as an experimental test pilot, from 1994 until 2004, at MoD Boscombe Down, the UK’s tri-Service home of military aircraft testing and evaluation. Chris explains what led to his passion to be a test pilot and how, with tenacity, he plays the cards he was dealt as well as he could. The story captures the difficulties and challenges associated with being selected for the single annual place at the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) and the dedication required to then complete the very demanding twelve month course.

Chris was one of only three helicopter experimental test pilots posted to the Experimental Flying Squadron (EFS). It was there that he worked with scientists from the Defence Research Agency (DRA) at Bedford and Farnborough on a number of cutting-edge technologies, specialising in ship/helicopter interface testing. In addition to flying the Westland Wessex, Lynx and Sea King, Chris was able to act as an evaluation pilot in the Hunter, Jaguar, Andover, Hawker Siddeley HS748, and the Comet. During his time as an active test pilot, EFS was merged into three platform squadrons which gave Chris the chance to play a full part in conventional ‘release to service’ activities in a wide variety of rotorcraft.

Asked to take on the role of a flight test instructor (FTI), Chris served at ETPS where he made sweeping changes to the syllabus, acquired a new helicopter type and had to deal with a number of students who could not cope with the rigours of the course. In his first year he suffered a ‘flame out’ in a Hawk jet, an engine failure during his first flight in the twin-engine Basset and crashed the school’s Westland Scout helicopter– all of which are fully discussed.

Following four successful years teaching helicopter flight test, Chris was recruited to manage the ETPS short course portfolio. This required the design, sale and delivery of numerous flight test courses, while also introducing innovative teaching methods and the use of civil registered aircraft.

In this new, exciting and rewarding role Chris taught both fixed wing and rotary wing students and the book explains the difficulties of learning the additional skills and flight test techniques required of a fixed wing test pilot.

This autobiography, explores the military flight test career of an individual who is arguably one of the best qualified and most experienced test pilots working today anywhere in the world.

Having wanted to be a pilot for as long as he can remember, Chris Taylor gained his private pilot’s licence at the age of seventeen. He joined the Royal Navy whilst studying for a degree in Electrical Engineering and, after serving as a Navigation Officer on numerous ships, went onto to operate Wasp and Lynx helicopters, flying in all weathers from frigates deployed worldwide. After five years instructing he became a Test Pilot and flew all manner of experimental aircraft for research and development purposes before returning to the Empire Test Pilot’s School as a Tutor. Having served at Boscombe Down for ten years he joined the UK Civil Aviation Authority as an aeroplane and rotorcraft test pilot. With the closure of the CAA’s Flight Test Department he formed Dovetail Aviation Ltd and has continued to test fly a wide variety of aircraft ever since.

Chris has flown four hundred different kinds of aircraft, is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and is a licensed Category 1 Test Pilot and Flight Test Instructor for both aeroplanes and helicopters, which arguably makes him one of the best qualified and most widely experienced test pilots working today. Additionally he finds time to be a Helicopter Examiner and Instructor for helicopters, aeroplanes and autogyros.

Chris has recently written a collection of anecdotes and humorous stories which is published by Pen and Sword 30 April 2022. This light hearted book was written as the stories have been previously told, usually by a roaring fire, with a glass in hand, and aims to capture just a few of the adventures from his most recent period of flight testing.

Book all three events at the library on Saturday for just £18: Eventbrite

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The Test Pilot’s Story

Writer Chris Taylor talks about his extraordinary career as a test pilot both with the Royal Navy and with civilian aircraft.

Chris Taylor has had a very successful career as a Royal Navy officer, helicopter pilot, test pilot, instructor and as an internationally acclaimed civil certification test pilot. His first book, ‘Test Pilot’, concentrates on anecdotes and incidents from the most recent phase of his career.

This book is the prequel and his account of his ten years’ service as an experimental test pilot, from 1994 until 2004, at MoD Boscombe Down, the UK’s tri-Service home of military aircraft testing and evaluation. Chris explains what led to his passion to be a test pilot and how, with tenacity, he plays the cards he was dealt as well as he could. The story captures the difficulties and challenges associated with being selected for the single annual place at the Empire Test Pilots’ School (ETPS) and the dedication required to then complete the very demanding twelve month course.

Chris was one of only three helicopter experimental test pilots posted to the Experimental Flying Squadron (EFS). It was there that he worked with scientists from the Defence Research Agency (DRA) at Bedford and Farnborough on a number of cutting-edge technologies, specialising in ship/helicopter interface testing. In addition to flying the Westland Wessex, Lynx and Sea King, Chris was able to act as an evaluation pilot in the Hunter, Jaguar, Andover, Hawker Siddeley HS748, and the Comet. During his time as an active test pilot, EFS was merged into three platform squadrons which gave Chris the chance to play a full part in conventional ‘release to service’ activities in a wide variety of rotorcraft.

Asked to take on the role of a flight test instructor (FTI), Chris served at ETPS where he made sweeping changes to the syllabus, acquired a new helicopter type and had to deal with a number of students who could not cope with the rigours of the course. In his first year he suffered a ‘flame out’ in a Hawk jet, an engine failure during his first flight in the twin-engine Basset and crashed the school’s Westland Scout helicopter– all of which are fully discussed.

Following four successful years teaching helicopter flight test, Chris was recruited to manage the ETPS short course portfolio. This required the design, sale and delivery of numerous flight test courses, while also introducing innovative teaching methods and the use of civil registered aircraft.

In this new, exciting and rewarding role Chris taught both fixed wing and rotary wing students and the book explains the difficulties of learning the additional skills and flight test techniques required of a fixed wing test pilot.

This autobiography, explores the military flight test career of an individual who is arguably one of the best qualified and most experienced test pilots working today anywhere in the world.

Having wanted to be a pilot for as long as he can remember, Chris Taylor gained his private pilot’s licence at the age of seventeen. He joined the Royal Navy whilst studying for a degree in Electrical Engineering and, after serving as a Navigation Officer on numerous ships, went onto to operate Wasp and Lynx helicopters, flying in all weathers from frigates deployed worldwide. After five years instructing he became a Test Pilot and flew all manner of experimental aircraft for research and development purposes before returning to the Empire Test Pilot’s School as a Tutor. Having served at Boscombe Down for ten years he joined the UK Civil Aviation Authority as an aeroplane and rotorcraft test pilot. With the closure of the CAA’s Flight Test Department he formed Dovetail Aviation Ltd and has continued to test fly a wide variety of aircraft ever since.

Chris has flown four hundred different kinds of aircraft, is a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and is a licensed Category 1 Test Pilot and Flight Test Instructor for both aeroplanes and helicopters, which arguably makes him one of the best qualified and most widely experienced test pilots working today. Additionally he finds time to be a Helicopter Examiner and Instructor for helicopters, aeroplanes and autogyros.

Chris has recently written a collection of anecdotes and humorous stories which is published by Pen and Sword 30 April 2022. This light hearted book was written as the stories have been previously told, usually by a roaring fire, with a glass in hand, and aims to capture just a few of the adventures from his most recent period of flight testing.

Book all three events at the library on Saturday for just £18: Eventbrite

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