United States Naval Test Pilot School

The United States Naval Test Pilot School trains the world’s finest developmental test pilots, flight officers, engineers, industry and foreign partners in full spectrum test and evaluation of aircraft and aircraft systems. Located in Patuxent River, Maryland, the school is forefront in development of modern test techniques and leads aviation in standardization of flight test. It is the only domestic source of rotary wing test pilots serving as dedicated test pilot school of the U.S. Army. Its highly competitive program has graduated more than 90 NASA astronauts to date.

USNTPS

 

The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School's academic rigor and excellence lends to its highly competitive admissions process. Though not required, applicants typically hold degrees in engineering, physical science or math. Those without requisite math or engineering courses can make themselves competitive bolstering transcripts with these classes or completing correspondence courses at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Prospective test pilots have typically flown over 1,000 flight hours. Military aviators are evaluated by a selection board for flight qualification, professional performance, academic background and requirements of the service. Engineers are evaluated similarly with emphasis on experience, performance, and flight suitability.

Application is highly encouraged. Never second-guess what the selection board is looking for.

International Students

The United States Test Pilot School admits a number of international students each year. The school's International Military Officer adminsters security cooperation training and facilitates all stages of international participation from application to arrival. This is also the liaison for all attending international students.

International test directorates interested in sending students to long or short courses at USNTPS, please contact the Security Cooperation Officer at the Office of Defense Cooperation in your country's American Embassy.

The refined combination of classroom, simulation, inflight instruction and mentorship makes USNTPS the most prestigious flight test school in the world. Graduating two classes annually, the rigorous ten month program is made of 530 academic hours, 100 sorties, 120 flight hours and 25 technical reports. The syllabus is divided into three parts: fixed-wing, rotary-wing and airborne systems.

With emphasis on engineering depth and project variety, the course is designed to prepare students to meet requirements of both naval developmental and operational test and evaluation, in addition to other research, development test and evaluation activities across other U.S. military services, government agencies and international partners.

The school also offers a cooperative Masters program with the Naval Postgraduate School.

U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Short Courses

USNTPS offers high-impact condensed training in short-course form to the developmental flight test community including industry and academia aircrew, engineers or scientists, and military attendees including naval pilots, flight officers and enlisted personnel with relevant interest and experience.

Admission for short courses is non-competitive and consist of two-week introductory-level courses in aircraft and systems test and evaluation. The school's short courses provide a basis for safe and effective test project planning, execution and reporting and feature complete guided exercises with demonstration flights and ground simulators.

U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Short Courses | 2020

27 Jan - 07 Feb

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test Patuxent River

24 Feb - 06 Mar

Introduction to Systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test China Lake

23 Mar - 03 Apr

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation Patuxent River

06 Apr - 17 Apr

Introduction to Fixed Wing Flying Qualities Patuxent River

01 Jun - 12 Jun

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test Patuxent River

06 Jul - 17 Jul

Introduction to Rotary Wing Flying Qualities and Performance Patuxent River

10 Aug - 21 Aug  

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation Patuxent River

19 Oct - 30 Oct

Introduction to Fixed Wing Flying Qualities Patuxent River

 

INTRODUCTION TO AIRCRAFT AND SYSTEMS TEST & EVALUATION
Prepares attendees for airborne mission systems test and evaluation.

 

INTRODUCTION TO FIXED WING FLYING QUALITIES
Prepares attendees for fixed-wing aircraft flying qualities, performance and aircraft avionics systems test and evaluation.

 

INTRODUCTION TO ROTARY WING FLYING QUALITIES & PERFORMANCE
Prepares attendees for rotary-wing aircraft flying qualities, performance and aircraft missions and weapons systems test and evaluation.

 

INTRODUCTION TO UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS FLIGHT TEST
Introduces and exposes students to unmanned aerial systems flight test methods and techniques.

 

SPECIALTY COURSES
On request, specialized courses can be prepared and, if practical, presented at the customer’s site. Specialty courses durate from one to two weeks and typically include a simulation and/or flight portion of the course.

 

SHORT COURSE FLEET SEATS

*Application period for fiscal 2020 is closed. Application period for fiscal 2021 to be announced.

27 Jan - 07 Feb

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test at Patuxent River

 

24 Feb - 06 Mar

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation at China Lake

 

23 Mar - 03 Apr

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation at Patuxent River

 

06 Apr - 17 Apr

Introduction to Fixed Wing Flying Qualities & Performance at Patuxent River

 

01 Jun - 12 Jun

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test at Patuxent River

 

06 Jul - 17 Jul

Introduction to Rotary Wing Flying Qualities & Performance at Patuxent River

 

10 Aug - 21 Aug

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation at Patuxent River

 

USNTPS funds tuition for a limited number of short course seats per year on a competitive basis. Financial responsibility for temporary duty assignment resides with the attendee’s command.

Competitive candidates should be high performing individuals interested in learning more about developmental flight test, and possess a strong academic background in mathematics. Engineering and science degrees provide the requisite math background but are not prerequisites for selection. This opportunity may be beneficial for officers considering attendance to USNTPS, however, participation in short courses is not a requirement for acceptance into USNTPS’ long course.

Short courses are also available to fleet candidates for purchase. Please contact the USNTPS Short Course department if your command is interested in any of the short courses.

Short Course Fleet Seat Offerings and Organization Brochure

Contact Information

U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Short Course Department | 5.0_ct&[email protected] | 301-757-5049

History

The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) was founded March 12, 1945 at the Navy's Flight Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland, by Cmdr. Sydney Sherby. The purpose of the school was to ensure that test pilots of the day were formally trained to handle the high demands and expectations placed upon them by the rapidly evolving state of aircraft technology.

As Patuxent River's chief project engineer, Sherby proposed an indoctrination course for Navy flight test pilots with a curriculum that spanned aerodynamics, performance, stability and control characteristics, miscellaneous tests and trials, and flight test reporting.

The early Flight Test Pilot Training Program consisted of 37 hours of classroom academics and nine hours of flight time spread over a 10- week period. Classes met Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and were taught by Sherby. Students in Class 0 flew the F-6F Hellcat, FM-2 Wildcat, SBD Dauntless, TBM Avenger and SNJ and were taught in-flight test and evaluation techniques by Lt. Cmdr. H. E. McNeely.

The USNTPS flight test syllabus gradually grew beyond its humble "Class 0" beginnings and evolved into a full-time course of study that now consumes nearly a year of dedicated effort involving over 500 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of flight time in more than 15 different type/model/series aircraft. As many as 36 experienced pilots, flight officers, and test engineers from all branches of the U.S. military and international partners make up each class. Over 4,200 students have graduated from USNTPS.

In addition to the original fixed wing flying qualities and performance based curriculum, USNTPS added a rotary wing course of study in 1961 and an airborne systems curriculum in 1975 to ensure that the technical aspects of each of the Navy's primary test disciplines were being addressed.

Currently, USNTPS is the only U.S. institution with a formal rotary wing test pilot syllabus and the only test pilot school in the world with a dedicated airborne systems curriculum.

Today, USNTPS remains at the forefront of aviation education by continuing to investigate and develop new flight test techniques, publish manuals for use by the aviation test community in standardizing flight test techniques and project reporting, and conducting special projects as requested by the flight test community. The school maintains its staff as a focal point of expertise to provide the aviation test community with engineering and training consultation through active participation in technical councils, NATO flight test committees, and professional organizations such as the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Society of Flight Test Engineers.

Over 70 years have passed since Cmdr. Sherby's first test pilot class began formal training of naval aviators to perform duties as flight test pilots. The next 70 years promise to see the same level of innovative accomplishment, tireless energy, and dedicated performance by the school as the world of naval aviation evolves and moves on to new challenges and advanced technology.

Lt. Col. Rory Feely

Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School

Lt. Col. Rory Feely is a Marine Corps Acquisitions Officer and Experimental Test Pilot who specializes in the acquisition of military helicopters and associated weapons systems for the Department of the Navy.  As an Acquisitions Officer, he develops procurement strategies, interfaces with defense industry companies and leads government teams of engineering, logistics, financial, and contracting professionals while balancing cost, schedule and performance on U.S. Government defense contracts.

Prior to joining the United States Naval Test Pilot School as the Executive Officer in July 2018, he was assigned to the Marine Corps’ Heavy Lift Helicopter Program Office (PMA-261) where he was responsible for the CH-53K International team’s efforts in Germany and Israel.

Lt. Col. Feely’s other acquisition career billets include: Secretary of Defense Executive Fellow at 3M Corporation in St. Paul, Minnesota from 2016-2017; and Marine Corps Light/Attack Helicopter Program (PMA-276), Deputy Program Manager for Foreign Military Sales from 2015-2016.  While at 3M, he examined business best-practices of Fortune 500 companies in Human Capital Management, Innovation and Big Data.  While at PMA-276, he managed foreign programs for three countries and led business development efforts for seven other countries interested in purchasing the Marine Corps’ H-1 Helicopters.  He also worked for two years as an Integrated Product Team Lead in the Advanced Capabilities Office of the Presidential Helicopter Program during the solicitation, award and early development phases of the Sikorsky VH-92A Presidential Helicopter.

Lt. Col. Feely has 23 years in the Marine Corps and has deployed four times.  His first three deployments were as a combat helicopter pilot in the AH-1W Super Cobra flying in Iraq and Southeast Asia.  His fourth deployment in 2011 was supporting Special Operations Command in Central Asia where he led Special Forces Teams that conducted training for foreign military Special Forces of U.S. partner nations.

He graduated from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 2007 and worked as a Military Test Pilot for four years at Air Test & Evaluation Squadron 21 (HX-21).  The majority of his test work was on precision weapons and high-fidelity sensor systems integrated onto combat helicopters.  Lieutenant Colonel Feely was awarded the National Defense Industrial Association Marine Corps Tester of the year in 2009 for his work on the AH-1W and AH-1Z Attack Helicopters.  He is an active member of the Vertical Flight Society, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Marine Corps Aviation Association.

Lt. Col. Feely was born in Dublin, Ireland and has a bachelor’s degree in Physics (Honours) and a minor in Mathematics from University College Cork, Ireland.  He earned a Masters in Technical Program Management from Johns Hopkins University in 2009 and a Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School in 2015. 

Cmdr. Jeremy DeBons

Executive Officer, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School

A native of Richmond, Texas, Commander Jeremy DeBons graduated with distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2002 and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. Designated a Naval Aviator in 2004, he reported to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192 “Golden Dragons” in October 2005, flying the F/A-18C Hornet at NAF Atsugi, Japan as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces. During this assignment he supported embarked operations in the Pacific theater with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).

In 2008, Cmdr. DeBons attended the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California in preparation for an exchange tour to the French Test Pilot School (EPNER) in Istres, France. He graduated EPNER in 2010 as an Experimental Test Pilot – Airplanes and received a Specialized Master’s degree in Experimental Flight Test Engineering from the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE) in Toulouse, France.

In 2010, Cmdr. DeBons reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 “Salty Dogs” at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. While assigned to VX-23, he was project officer and test pilot for F/A-18 weapons integration programs, aircrew systems, avionics and engine upgrades, surrogate testing for X-47B unmanned shipboard operations, and F-35 instrument certification and initial weapons separation testing.

In 2013, Cmdr. DeBons reported to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137 “Kestrels,” where he served as Safety Officer, Maintenance Officer and Operations Officer. He supported numerous underway periods and international exercises with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and SOUTHERN SEAS 2015 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73).

Cmdr. DeBons was a fixed wing and airborne systems instructor at U.S. Naval Test Pilot School from 2016-2018, and was qualified in F/A-18F, T-6B, U-6A, NU-1B and X-26A aircraft. As an exercise monitor, he led major curriculum updates in augmented flying qualities and modern aircraft design. Cmdr. DeBons reported to PMA-259 in November 2018 and served as Deputy Program Manager for Advanced Development of Air-to-Air Missiles.

His personal decorations include three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal. Cmdr. DeBons has flown 3,500 mishap-free flight hours in over 100 different types of aircraft.

The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School's academic rigor and excellence lends to its highly competitive admissions process. Though not required, applicants typically hold degrees in engineering, physical science or math. Those without requisite math or engineering courses can make themselves competitive bolstering transcripts with these classes or completing correspondence courses at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Prospective test pilots have typically flown over 1,000 flight hours. Military aviators are evaluated by a selection board for flight qualification, professional performance, academic background and requirements of the service. Engineers are evaluated similarly with emphasis on experience, performance, and flight suitability.

Application is highly encouraged. Never second-guess what the selection board is looking for.

International Students

The United States Test Pilot School admits a number of international students each year. The school's International Military Officer adminsters security cooperation training and facilitates all stages of international participation from application to arrival. This is also the liaison for all attending international students.

International test directorates interested in sending students to long or short courses at USNTPS, please contact the Security Cooperation Officer at the Office of Defense Cooperation in your country's American Embassy.

The refined combination of classroom, simulation, inflight instruction and mentorship makes USNTPS the most prestigious flight test school in the world. Graduating two classes annually, the rigorous ten month program is made of 530 academic hours, 100 sorties, 120 flight hours and 25 technical reports. The syllabus is divided into three parts: fixed-wing, rotary-wing and airborne systems.

With emphasis on engineering depth and project variety, the course is designed to prepare students to meet requirements of both naval developmental and operational test and evaluation, in addition to other research, development test and evaluation activities across other U.S. military services, government agencies and international partners.

The school also offers a cooperative Masters program with the Naval Postgraduate School.

U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Short Courses

USNTPS offers high-impact condensed training in short-course form to the developmental flight test community including industry and academia aircrew, engineers or scientists, and military attendees including naval pilots, flight officers and enlisted personnel with relevant interest and experience.

Admission for short courses is non-competitive and consist of two-week introductory-level courses in aircraft and systems test and evaluation. The school's short courses provide a basis for safe and effective test project planning, execution and reporting and feature complete guided exercises with demonstration flights and ground simulators.

U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Short Courses | 2020

27 Jan - 07 Feb

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test Patuxent River

24 Feb - 06 Mar

Introduction to Systems and Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test China Lake

23 Mar - 03 Apr

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation Patuxent River

06 Apr - 17 Apr

Introduction to Fixed Wing Flying Qualities Patuxent River

01 Jun - 12 Jun

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test Patuxent River

06 Jul - 17 Jul

Introduction to Rotary Wing Flying Qualities and Performance Patuxent River

10 Aug - 21 Aug  

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation Patuxent River

19 Oct - 30 Oct

Introduction to Fixed Wing Flying Qualities Patuxent River

 

INTRODUCTION TO AIRCRAFT AND SYSTEMS TEST & EVALUATION
Prepares attendees for airborne mission systems test and evaluation.

 

INTRODUCTION TO FIXED WING FLYING QUALITIES
Prepares attendees for fixed-wing aircraft flying qualities, performance and aircraft avionics systems test and evaluation.

 

INTRODUCTION TO ROTARY WING FLYING QUALITIES & PERFORMANCE
Prepares attendees for rotary-wing aircraft flying qualities, performance and aircraft missions and weapons systems test and evaluation.

 

INTRODUCTION TO UNMANNED AERIAL SYSTEMS FLIGHT TEST
Introduces and exposes students to unmanned aerial systems flight test methods and techniques.

 

SPECIALTY COURSES
On request, specialized courses can be prepared and, if practical, presented at the customer’s site. Specialty courses durate from one to two weeks and typically include a simulation and/or flight portion of the course.

 

SHORT COURSE FLEET SEATS

*Application period for fiscal 2020 is closed. Application period for fiscal 2021 to be announced.

27 Jan - 07 Feb

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test at Patuxent River

 

24 Feb - 06 Mar

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation at China Lake

 

23 Mar - 03 Apr

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation at Patuxent River

 

06 Apr - 17 Apr

Introduction to Fixed Wing Flying Qualities & Performance at Patuxent River

 

01 Jun - 12 Jun

Introduction to Unmanned Aerial Systems Flight Test at Patuxent River

 

06 Jul - 17 Jul

Introduction to Rotary Wing Flying Qualities & Performance at Patuxent River

 

10 Aug - 21 Aug

Introduction to Aircraft and Systems Test & Evaluation at Patuxent River

 

USNTPS funds tuition for a limited number of short course seats per year on a competitive basis. Financial responsibility for temporary duty assignment resides with the attendee’s command.

Competitive candidates should be high performing individuals interested in learning more about developmental flight test, and possess a strong academic background in mathematics. Engineering and science degrees provide the requisite math background but are not prerequisites for selection. This opportunity may be beneficial for officers considering attendance to USNTPS, however, participation in short courses is not a requirement for acceptance into USNTPS’ long course.

Short courses are also available to fleet candidates for purchase. Please contact the USNTPS Short Course department if your command is interested in any of the short courses.

Short Course Fleet Seat Offerings and Organization Brochure

Contact Information

U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Short Course Department | 5.0_ct&[email protected] | 301-757-5049

History

The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) was founded March 12, 1945 at the Navy's Flight Test Center in Patuxent River, Maryland, by Cmdr. Sydney Sherby. The purpose of the school was to ensure that test pilots of the day were formally trained to handle the high demands and expectations placed upon them by the rapidly evolving state of aircraft technology.

As Patuxent River's chief project engineer, Sherby proposed an indoctrination course for Navy flight test pilots with a curriculum that spanned aerodynamics, performance, stability and control characteristics, miscellaneous tests and trials, and flight test reporting.

The early Flight Test Pilot Training Program consisted of 37 hours of classroom academics and nine hours of flight time spread over a 10- week period. Classes met Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and were taught by Sherby. Students in Class 0 flew the F-6F Hellcat, FM-2 Wildcat, SBD Dauntless, TBM Avenger and SNJ and were taught in-flight test and evaluation techniques by Lt. Cmdr. H. E. McNeely.

The USNTPS flight test syllabus gradually grew beyond its humble "Class 0" beginnings and evolved into a full-time course of study that now consumes nearly a year of dedicated effort involving over 500 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of flight time in more than 15 different type/model/series aircraft. As many as 36 experienced pilots, flight officers, and test engineers from all branches of the U.S. military and international partners make up each class. Over 4,200 students have graduated from USNTPS.

In addition to the original fixed wing flying qualities and performance based curriculum, USNTPS added a rotary wing course of study in 1961 and an airborne systems curriculum in 1975 to ensure that the technical aspects of each of the Navy's primary test disciplines were being addressed.

Currently, USNTPS is the only U.S. institution with a formal rotary wing test pilot syllabus and the only test pilot school in the world with a dedicated airborne systems curriculum.

Today, USNTPS remains at the forefront of aviation education by continuing to investigate and develop new flight test techniques, publish manuals for use by the aviation test community in standardizing flight test techniques and project reporting, and conducting special projects as requested by the flight test community. The school maintains its staff as a focal point of expertise to provide the aviation test community with engineering and training consultation through active participation in technical councils, NATO flight test committees, and professional organizations such as the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Society of Flight Test Engineers.

Over 70 years have passed since Cmdr. Sherby's first test pilot class began formal training of naval aviators to perform duties as flight test pilots. The next 70 years promise to see the same level of innovative accomplishment, tireless energy, and dedicated performance by the school as the world of naval aviation evolves and moves on to new challenges and advanced technology.

Lt. Col. Rory Feely

Commanding Officer, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School

Lt. Col. Rory Feely is a Marine Corps Acquisitions Officer and Experimental Test Pilot who specializes in the acquisition of military helicopters and associated weapons systems for the Department of the Navy.  As an Acquisitions Officer, he develops procurement strategies, interfaces with defense industry companies and leads government teams of engineering, logistics, financial, and contracting professionals while balancing cost, schedule and performance on U.S. Government defense contracts.

Prior to joining the United States Naval Test Pilot School as the Executive Officer in July 2018, he was assigned to the Marine Corps’ Heavy Lift Helicopter Program Office (PMA-261) where he was responsible for the CH-53K International team’s efforts in Germany and Israel.

Lt. Col. Feely’s other acquisition career billets include: Secretary of Defense Executive Fellow at 3M Corporation in St. Paul, Minnesota from 2016-2017; and Marine Corps Light/Attack Helicopter Program (PMA-276), Deputy Program Manager for Foreign Military Sales from 2015-2016.  While at 3M, he examined business best-practices of Fortune 500 companies in Human Capital Management, Innovation and Big Data.  While at PMA-276, he managed foreign programs for three countries and led business development efforts for seven other countries interested in purchasing the Marine Corps’ H-1 Helicopters.  He also worked for two years as an Integrated Product Team Lead in the Advanced Capabilities Office of the Presidential Helicopter Program during the solicitation, award and early development phases of the Sikorsky VH-92A Presidential Helicopter.

Lt. Col. Feely has 23 years in the Marine Corps and has deployed four times.  His first three deployments were as a combat helicopter pilot in the AH-1W Super Cobra flying in Iraq and Southeast Asia.  His fourth deployment in 2011 was supporting Special Operations Command in Central Asia where he led Special Forces Teams that conducted training for foreign military Special Forces of U.S. partner nations.

He graduated from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in 2007 and worked as a Military Test Pilot for four years at Air Test & Evaluation Squadron 21 (HX-21).  The majority of his test work was on precision weapons and high-fidelity sensor systems integrated onto combat helicopters.  Lieutenant Colonel Feely was awarded the National Defense Industrial Association Marine Corps Tester of the year in 2009 for his work on the AH-1W and AH-1Z Attack Helicopters.  He is an active member of the Vertical Flight Society, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Marine Corps Aviation Association.

Lt. Col. Feely was born in Dublin, Ireland and has a bachelor’s degree in Physics (Honours) and a minor in Mathematics from University College Cork, Ireland.  He earned a Masters in Technical Program Management from Johns Hopkins University in 2009 and a Masters in Aerospace Engineering from Naval Postgraduate School in 2015. 

Cmdr. Jeremy DeBons

Executive Officer, U.S. Naval Test Pilot School

A native of Richmond, Texas, Commander Jeremy DeBons graduated with distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 2002 and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. Designated a Naval Aviator in 2004, he reported to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 192 “Golden Dragons” in October 2005, flying the F/A-18C Hornet at NAF Atsugi, Japan as part of the Forward Deployed Naval Forces. During this assignment he supported embarked operations in the Pacific theater with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).

In 2008, Cmdr. DeBons attended the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California in preparation for an exchange tour to the French Test Pilot School (EPNER) in Istres, France. He graduated EPNER in 2010 as an Experimental Test Pilot – Airplanes and received a Specialized Master’s degree in Experimental Flight Test Engineering from the Institut Supérieur de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace (ISAE) in Toulouse, France.

In 2010, Cmdr. DeBons reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 “Salty Dogs” at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland. While assigned to VX-23, he was project officer and test pilot for F/A-18 weapons integration programs, aircrew systems, avionics and engine upgrades, surrogate testing for X-47B unmanned shipboard operations, and F-35 instrument certification and initial weapons separation testing.

In 2013, Cmdr. DeBons reported to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 137 “Kestrels,” where he served as Safety Officer, Maintenance Officer and Operations Officer. He supported numerous underway periods and international exercises with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and SOUTHERN SEAS 2015 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73).

Cmdr. DeBons was a fixed wing and airborne systems instructor at U.S. Naval Test Pilot School from 2016-2018, and was qualified in F/A-18F, T-6B, U-6A, NU-1B and X-26A aircraft. As an exercise monitor, he led major curriculum updates in augmented flying qualities and modern aircraft design. Cmdr. DeBons reported to PMA-259 in November 2018 and served as Deputy Program Manager for Advanced Development of Air-to-Air Missiles.

His personal decorations include three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal. Cmdr. DeBons has flown 3,500 mishap-free flight hours in over 100 different types of aircraft.