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Navy Test Pilots Have Been Learning Their Craft at Pax River For Decades

The US Naval Test Pilot School Produces Much More Than Just Test Pilots

Official US Navy Photograph

The 1959 film “United States Naval Test Pilot School” (USNTPS) was made to introduce personnel to the Command and to the Naval Air Test Center (NATC) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River in Maryland. The variety of aircraft in test during the filming is impressive. There are plenty of shots of the school’s students in the classroom and on the flight line, but what makes the film really interesting is that variety of aircraft in test and in use at the time. Thanks to YouTuber AirBoyd for uploading this video of the state of naval air to come in the 1960s.

The Navy jets starring in the film include the Vought F8U Crusader and F8U-1P Photo Crusader, the North American FJ Fury, the Douglas A4D Skyhawk, the McDonnell F3H Demon, the Grumman F9F-8 and F9F-8T Cougar, the Lockheed T2V Seastar, and the Douglas F4D Skyray, A3D Skywarrior, and F11 Tiger. The aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CVA-60) makes an appearance in the film as does Carrier Air Wing Three (CVW-3) and the A4D-2 Skyhawks flown by Attack Squadron 34 (VA-34) Blue Blasters.

Official US Navy Photograph

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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