Training Aircraft: A Look at the Aircraft Used to Prep the World's Test Pilots

Here's a look at the unusual training aircraft used at the National Test Pilot School.

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First flown in 1967 and built by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm in Germany, the five-seat Bo-105 became a very successful light, twin-engine helicopter used both in military and civilian service.
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Designed in Italy during the late 1960s, the tailwheel, tandem two-seat AM3 Bosbok (Bush Buck) got its name from the South African Air Force where it was first put to use in 1972.
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NTPS operates two Saab Drakens — a single-seat J-35 and a two-seat SK-35. A distinguishing feature is the double delta wing, which caused the Swedish designer Saab to name it Draken — the Swedish word for kite.
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They say a dear child has many names, and the Hughes Cayuse is a fine example. The helicopter known to the general public as the Hughes 500 was developed as the Model 369 for an army contract competition in 1960.
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The Dove was the first aircraft used for test-pilot training at NTPS. It is powered by two 400 horsepower Gipsy Queen engines, each driving a three-bladed propeller.
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The S-55 Chickasaw first took to the skies in 1949. It pioneered commercial helicopter transport and was the first true transport helicopter used in the United States Army.
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The Aermacchi MB-326 was designed in Italy and made its maiden flight in 1957.
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Designed in late 1970s to simulate the handling of jet trainers, the Firecracker entered a competition to replace the BAC Jet Provost trainer for the Royal Air Force in the 1980s. Unfortunately for the Firecracker, the Embraer Short Tucano — a version designed by the British Short Brothers company — won the contract.