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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Aermacchi MB-326 was designed in Italy and made its maiden flight in 1957.
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.