Salutes & Awards

June 15, 2018
 

TPS Class 17B graduates sending 26 new flight testers into world

Kenji Thuloweit
Edwards AFB, Calif.

United States Air Force Test Pilot School Class 17B stood proudly before friends, families, base leadership and fellow testers in Hangar 1623 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., as they received their Master of Science Degree in Flight Test Engineering June 8, 2018.

As each graduate crossed the stage they received the graduate plaque from TPS, the diploma from Air University and the graduate coin.

The graduation is the culmination of an intense, 48-week program that included more than 2,500 hours of academics and approximately 120 hours of in-flight training; transforming top operational pilots, navigators and engineers into elite flight test professionals.

Students from Italy and Israel were among the mostly U.S. Air Force class. For their master’s degrees, the students demonstrated learning by planning and executing real-world test management projects, which formed the foundation for their thesis.

The guest speaker was TPS graduate Col. Jack Fischer, chief of the Space Operations Division for Air Force Space Command. Fischer spent nine years with NASA as an astronaut, which included 136 days in space. He recently returned to the Air Force May 31. He presented Class 17B a flag that was taken to space and recounted how he spoke with the students from the International Space Station.

“You have a skillset that can make a huge impact on the aerospace community and any acquisition program, anywhere,” said Fischer. “You all are comfortable being uncomfortable; you push the boundaries. You can apply your knowledge and experience to translate those requirements that the engineers use to build and create the capabilities the warfighters use to fight.”

Class 17A graduates join more than 3,000 alumni including 100-plus general officers and 60 astronauts.

Test programs across the Air Force Test Center and beyond integrate TPS graduates into test teams to shape the technology and weapon systems of the future for the Air Force, sister services and allied nations.

TPS CLASS 17B GRADUATES

  • Capt. Erin Alt
  • Maj. Charles Brantigan
  • Maj. Miguel Carrera
  • Maj. Catherine Chappell
  • Maj. Dustin Duke
  • Maj. Yehuda Eldan (Israel)
  • 1st Lt. Dario Esposito (Italy)
  • Capt. Neil Grigsby
  • Capt. David Guerrero
  • Maj. Brian Heemstra
  • Capt. Stephen Jude
  • Maj. Jared Krueger
  • Maj. John Kryzak
  • Capt. James Lancaster
  • Capt. Nathan McCaskey
  • Capt. David Meyn
  • Capt. Matthew Niemiec
  • Ms. Jessica Peterson
  • Capt. Andrew Rexford
  • Maj. Michael Riddick
  • Maj. Jason Schulze
  • Capt. Jonathan Tellefsen
  • Capt. Kevin Tinsley
  • Capt. Jennifer Yeom
  • Capt. Andrew Burns (National Test Pilot School)
  • Capt. Rich Agbeyibor (École du personnel navigant d’essais et de reception in France)



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