Skip to content

First Flight of 5th gen. Surrogate Training Aircraft (5STA)

September 26, 2023

The International Test Pilots School (ITPS) conducts first flight of 5th gen. Surrogate Training Aircraft (5STA).

London, Ontario – (September 21, 2023) – The high operating costs of 5th generation fighters have many current and prospective operators looking at ways to cut the number of training flight hours on these assets, and transfer them to Surrogate Training Aircrafts which have much lower operating costs, and a useful performance envelope featuring avionics representative of those to be found in the latest generation fighters.

Facing a similar challenge with training the test pilots of the future, the International Test Pilots School (ITPS) started development three years ago of the 5th generation Surrogate Training Aircraft (5STA). This unique training asset is a Hawker Hunter, featuring a 5th gen. Human Machine Interface (HMI), Helmet Mounted Display (HMD) and Live Virtual Constructive Training (LVCT) via data link. The aircraft will be employed at the school, on fundamental avionics testing exercises but also on a new series of exercises evaluating workload and system mission suitability during representative missions.

The transonic jet trainer will also be employed for Performance and Flying Qualities testing exercises. 5STA makes ITPS is the first test pilot school to offer its students this novel capability which is based on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware and software, therefore accessible by all customers.

Giorgio Clementi, the concept originator, Chief Engineer and Head of Flight Test for ITPS commented, “Meticulous planning and flawless execution led to success! Congratulations to the team on the first flight of our 5th gen. Surrogate Training Aircraft (5STA). It has been a long road with many hurdles, but the ITPS team kept the faith and it has borne fruit. Over the coming months, we will develop it to its full capabilities! Well done, team! We can justifiably be proud of this achievement!”.

ITPS Canada Ltd. is the largest school of experimental flight testing in the world, with campuses in Canada and Turkey. It is an internationally recognized school of experimental flight testing and advanced military flight training, offering countless courses such as the one-year Test Pilot and Flight Test Engineer Graduate Courses, Diploma Courses, bespoke Short Courses and online Professional Certificates.

ITPS is an Ontario Ministry of Education Designated learning Institution, offering Master of Science degrees in Flight Test Engineering that are recognized worldwide. ITPS is also a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Approved Training Organization (ATO) 00.30, and is recognized by the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) and the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE).

ITPS team stands with 5STA hawker hunter celebrating with arms in the air
Hawker Hunter pilot, Thiago Macedo waves from cockpit during taxi
hawker hunter 5STA taxiing for first flight on ITPS ramp
hawker hunter 5STA on runway after first flight
Hunter bringing wheels off ground during takeoff
Hawker Hunter ready for lift-off on runway
hawker hunter 5STA taking off at high speed on runway
Giorgio Clementi stands with Thiago Macedo after first flight of hawker hunter 5STA
Water dumped on Thiago Macedo, Hawker Hunter 5STA first flight pilot