Test flight monkey

I have nothing but admiration for test pilots. I assume that nowadays the procedures and safety precautions are on a higher level than what they were in the “startup” phase of aviation. But it still takes guts to be the very first to get into a new machine and fly that thing.

I wonder if we will ever see those swashbuckling, gung-ho types of phases history again, or if those days are gone forever. Maybe someday there will be something similar in the field of space exploration. But it seems that the money, resources and manpower needed to advance in that area necessitate giant social structures and are prohibitive for the “little guy in the garage” type of operations.

Or maybe we’ll see a Star Trek style “Zefram Cochrane” invent a warp drive? Somehow I feel I won’t live to see that day. But I’m willing to be surprised! What are your thoughts on that subject?


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3 comments on “Test flight monkey
  1. J Segal says:

    Hard to say, we’ve seen a little bit but not nearly as much as we did a century ago. I can take a guess why that’s the case, and also guess one of the main benefits of it being the case, but I think the tune below explains it best. [There are a few versions of this, but this is the…we’ll say the cleanest.]


    Note: It’s one thing to make a joke, it’s another thing to be stupid. Please don’t be stupid. [This disclaimer has been shoehorned in by Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe, Attorneys at Law.]

  2. Good ol’ Dewey, Cheatham & Howe! I used to see their office window sign every time I came up the escalators at Harvard Square when I was working in Boston back in the early 90s 🙂

    Meanwhile, don’t forget Dos Gringos, a pair of F-16 pilots who do songs that are definitely not safe for work 🙂

    As to “seat of the pants” heroic test pilots, I suspect we’ll have to wait for industry to leave Earth and be doing test runs from Lunar, Mars or the Belt. Hmmm, starting to sound like The Expanse, no? 🙂

  3. Keith says:

    Bob Hoover might have words to say about the mischaracterization of ‘post assembly / repair’ test pilots being monkeys. 😉

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