Job Overview


About the Agency

This position is included within a specialty that involves the piloting of aircraft used in research, development, and test programs; evaluating test parameters; performing flight and/or ground simulations of advanced missions and aircraft; and actively participating with project engineers and scientists responsible for the development, design, testing, evaluation, and reporting on aircraft modification or new aircraft systems; interfaces with research scientists to design, plan, execute and evaluate science data gathering flights in aircraft.


Duties are described at the full performance level.

Serves as a Project Pilot on research platform aircraft that are used airborne research in a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. Pilots new or critically modified models, such as aircraft with newly designed systems that materially change the flight characteristics of the aircraft or require certification in the type of aircraft. Will be assigned to fly large four-engine jets, two-engine jets, turboprop aircraft or unmanned or remotely piloted aircraft. On a wide variety of missions. Types of platform aircraft may include:B747 SOFIA, DC8, ER2, Gulfstream 2/3, Kingair, RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Predator.

Will perform world-wide atmospheric and earth science research flights in support of the Center's Airborne Science and Aeronautical research programs. Missions often require intense preparation, flight planning, and in-flight coordination often with multiple aircraft participating in research campaigns. Missions require flying in potentially hazardous conditions such as extended nightime operations, low altitude, severe weather conditions, and operations in austere locations worldwide.

The pilot develops and/or modifies aircraft operating procedures to accomplish research objectives. These may include operating the aircraft safely outside the normal altitude and temperature ranges. Prepares and conducts training for the aircrew and researchers aboard the aircraft. May assist test pilots during experimental test flights of new systems or equipment on Airborne Science aircraft. Writes research memorandums, papers, flight notes, articles, operating memorandums, and comments.

Performs duties as a Project Pilot for programs which have national impact and encompass difficult and diverse functions or issues that affect critical aspects of major agency-wide programs. Performs preflight planning, inspections and checks of the aircraft systems; performs weight and balance, takeoff and landing and performance data computations, manages navigation and clearances, monitors the operation of aircraft systems throughout the flight and control saircraft environmental systems. Coordinates the operation of the aircraft experiments with the mission director and controlling agencies.

Pilot assignment also includes operating turbojet or turboprop aircraft on a variety of program support flights. The program support missions involve flying in close proximity to research aircraft to provide visual and photographic surveillance while they are conducting flight tests and functional check flights. These aircraft are also used to transport personnel to and from a wide variety of locations.