VX-31 Website

Getting Started: Flight Tests

VX-31 F/A-18

VX-31 F/A-18 is one of several aircrafts used for testing at
China Lake.
(U.S. Navy Photo by Michael McGinnis)




Test Plan Approval

All NAVAIR test plans are written in accordance with NAVAIRINST 3960.4.

Initial test plan reviews are conducted by competency engineers, safety personnel, and project officers.

Final test plans (including a valid flight clearance and approved aircraft modification package) are submitted to the Chief Test Engineer (CTE) at least two weeks prior to any proposed Executive Review Board (ERB). The ERB consists of the Chief Test Pilot (CTP) and the CTE, who have final approval authority for all test plans. Flights shall not be scheduled prior to CTP/CTE approval.

  • More instructions on how to write a test plan are provided in NAVAIRINST 3960.4.
  • Contact information for the CTE and CTP is available on the Contact Us page.

Aircraft Modification Approval

The Aircraft Reporting Custodian (ARC) is responsible for authorizing all changes made to NAVAIR controlled test aircraft and/or stores carried on those aircraft.

VX-31 has established the Modification Coordination Office to review, approve and track RDT&E changes made to aircraft (or stores on aircraft) under either temporary or permanent control of VX-31.

Test teams submit an aircraft modification package to the VX-31 MOD Coordinator. The aircraft modification package consists of detailed engineering data, drawings, and specifications. The VX-31 MOD Coordinator distributes the package to engineering disciplines for review. After getting input from engineering disciplines, the Modification Coordination Office must approve and sign the aircraft modification package before aircaft modification may begin.

For more information, contact the VX-31 MOD Coordinator.

Flight Clearance Approval

The NAVAIR Flight Clearance Office (AIR 4.0P) maintains the overall responsibility for the Navy’s Flight Clearance, Naval Aviation Training and Operational Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) and Naval Aviation and Technical Information Publicaton (NATIP) approval processes. They designate regional Test Flight Clearance Officers (TFCOs) to oversee site specific requests. All new or modified aircraft stores, avionics, software, and aircraft modification must have an approved flight clearance prior to test plan approval.

NAVAIRINST 13034.1 governs the Flight Clearance Request Format and Approval Process.

For specific China Lake questions, please contact the Naval Test Wing Pacific (NTWP) TFCO or the NTWP Flight Clearance Facilitator.

Please contact the CTE or CTP for any questions regarding:

  • Types of test aircraft available;
  • Types of instrumentation and data recording systems available to support flight tests;
  • Project officer or flight test engineering assignment to support future test programs.



Last Update 20-Dec-2017 20:11