This article first appeared in the January 2018 Flight Test News.

(Credit: USN Public Affairs) The U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) held a graduation ceremony for Class 152 at the Holiday Inn in Solomons on Friday, December 15, 2017. Thirty-four students successfully completed an intense 11-month course of instruction and were designated as Engineering Developmental Test Pilots, Test Flight Officers and Test Engineers.

Mr. Michael Carriker a USNTPS Class 87 graduate and former USNTPS instructor delivered the keynote address. He currently is Chief Engineering Pilot, Boeing Test and Evaluation and Chief Pilot, Airplane Development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. 

Rear Admiral Shane Gahagan (Commander, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division), Captain Thomas Tennant (Commander, Naval Test Wing Atlantic) and Commander William E.R. Hargreaves (Commanding Officer, USNTPS) presented diplomas and offered congratulations to the new “Testers”.  Graduates included members of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force; students from Australia, Great Britain, Finland, and Italy; and civil service engineers from the Departments of the Army Navy and NASA.

Capt Nathan Houle, USMC was presented the Outstanding Developmental Phase II Award from Commander Stephen Crockatt, Royal Navy representing Empire Test Pilots’ School in Boscombe Down, UK. This award recognizes that individual in the class who produced the best final report and is symbolic of the long standing and mutually supporting relationship between the Empire Test Pilots’ School in the United Kingdom and USNTPS.

Mr. Alan Flint, a NASA Engineer, was awarded the Commander Willie McCool Outstanding Student award which recognizes the top performing student in the categories of academics, flight performance, and technical report writing. The Willie McCool Award was presented by Mr. Tom Ganse representing the Association of Naval Aviation. The award is named after Commander Willie McCool, an alumnus tragically lost in the space shuttle Columbia accident. 

Lieutenant Commander Adam Madson, U.S. Navy was presented with the Syd Sherby Leadership Award. Mr. James S. Moran representing the Patuxent River Council of the Navy League of the United States presented the award. The award is named after Captain Sydney Sherby who established the test pilot training division, now the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, in 1945. It is presented to the student who displays exemplary leadership in the class. 

Twenty-four students completed the requirements for the engineering test pilot course. The new test pilots are: LCDR Adam D. Abitbol, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; LT Robert E. Ball III, U.S. Navy; Capt  James M. Cappabianca, USMC; Capt Derek J. Carden, USAF; LT David M. Chapelle, U.S. Navy; LT Matthew J. Dickens, U.S. Navy; Maj Peter G. Farrimond, AAC (British Army); LT Noah J. Gray, U.S. Navy; Maj Benjamin D. Hartley, USMC; Capt  Nathan E. Houle, USMC; CPT Nathan A. Klein, USA; LT Daniel M. Krier, U.S. Navy; LT James M. Licata, U.S. Navy; Capt Mikko P.P. Luukkanen, FiAF; LCDR Adam M. Madson, U.S. Navy;

CPT  Michael J. Monfreda, USA; Maj Aaron E. Okun, USMC; CPT  Daniel L. Pechacek, USA; LT Christopher A. Polhemus, U.S. Navy; SQNLDR Mark Searle, RAAF; CW2 Zealand D. Shouse, USA; Capt  Davide Sottotetti, ItAF; LT Megan J. Stateler, U.S. Navy and LT Neil W. Whitesell, U.S. Navy.

Five students completed the engineering test flight officer course. They are: LT Sarah E. Gunn, U.S. Navy; LT Jason D. Miller, U.S. Navy; LT Ryan W. Miller, U.S. Navy; LT Tara A. Palmer, U.S. Navy; LT Kyle J. Saraceni, U.S. Navy.  Five students also completed the test project-engineering course. They are: Mr. Benjamin D. Breitberg, Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division; Mr. Alan N. R. Flint, National Aeronautical and Space Administration; Mr. Andrew J. Macemon, Department of the Army Civilian; Ms. Justine M. Roemer, Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division; FLTLT Aaron P. Thompson, RAAF.

This article first appeared in the January 2018 Flight Test News.

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