While Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) accidents represented just 8% of flight accidents from 2012 to 2021, the fatality rates caused by LOC-I accidents stands at an alarming 63%. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recommends pilots seek upset training to ensure they’re prepared for such incidents and to prevent accidental loss of life.

With Flight Research International, pilots learn how to effectively respond to more than 30 upset scenarios, including inverted spins, upright spins and bank angle upsets from 70 to 180 degrees with FRI upset training.

In-Flight vs. Simulation Training

In-flight training gives professional pilots the training they need to understand and practice responding to upsets. While simulation training can provide some preparation in this area pilots in training, a simulator doesn’t provide the same feel or accuracy as in-flight training and as a result, pilots are unable to adequately prepare for upset recovery in the real world, especially in heavy jets and supersonic speeds, both of which result in different behaviours. Hear from pilots who have completed our courses below:

“All airline guys and corporate pilots have the attitude Don’t spill the boss’s drink or upset the flight attendant,’ but if you need to then you have to. You can’t beat this kind of training; you just cannot do it in a simulator. You cannot simulate a high G load, getting the inverted feeling and simulate the queasiness. It just cannot be done. It can happen on any flight; getting into an upset condition. This training gives you great confidence. Do it if you need to. Absolutely feel that I’m better qualified and know that if something happened I would be able to get out of that situation.”

Chris Buckland, Geico

“I personally view this training to be invaluable. If you take your Citation desk model right now, hold it in a 10-degree nose low descent, and then roll it 180 degrees, you will be in an inverted upset situation that is not far-fetched. Picture yourself in the cockpit, seeing nothing but ground. The training teaches you how to address that and make the first move the correct move.”

Charlie Precourt, CJP Safety Committee, former Air Force F-15 test pilot / instructor and a four time NASA space shuttle astronaut

“I come away knowing I’m a better pilot. That is phenomenal. The highlight of the academic portion is the understanding of where the Flight Envelope is from a certification standpoint and understanding how planes are given their manoeuvring speeds, design speeds and stall speeds, where the engineers are coming from, where the FAA are coming from and taking that and seeing where they want us to fly. Your initial reaction may not be the right reaction and there may be a better solution to come out of an upset condition. I now know that I can handle these upsets at a very high level. I feel like a much more proficient pilot. I recommend this training for all pilots from a small aircraft to 747 pilots. Fantastic course!”

Lt. Commander David Cowan, NOAA Hurricane Hunter

“Without question, Flight Research is the premier aviation training facility I have had the privilege of attending; from top to bottom, their staff’s experience in all facets of the aeronautical and aerospace industries give Flight Research the best team to educate and demonstrate manoeuvres which push the flight envelope. From the moment I stepped in the door, I was overwhelmed with the state-of-the-art facilities and first-class operation based at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Upon meeting the staff, I was left with no doubt that they are passionate about what they do and provide every resource available to instil critical areas of knowledge to each student. For the three days I attended, each minute was spent talking, breathing and living airplanes; I have never learned so much in such a short period of time.”

Steve Hinton, a six-time National Championship Air Races winner

“In the 20 years I have been flying I’ve participated in and received quite a bit of training, both in planes and in simulators. The URRT experience at Flight Research without question ranks among the best in every facet, and certainly the most exciting.
The takeaway for me is the direct benefit of this training for safety in the way we fly, single pilot. No amount of simulator training can replicate the stress and confusion caused by encountering higher G loads and the other sensations that come from unusual attitudes. Doing this in my own plane and in a jet with control forces similar to my own plane, as opposed to a light acrobatic plane, really reinforced the feel and recovery methods that FRI is imparting on us. I will go back for more. I urge all of you to consider this type of training.”

Captain Thomas Abood, Citation Jet Pilot Association

“I had in my mind, before I began training, what it would be like to train here. Flight Research far exceeded my expectations. The overall experience was that you can never compare what happens in the aircraft to any simulated training. Definitely eye opening!”

Michael Delay, Chief Pilot – Level 3 Communications
“In late March, three CJP owner members, including Fred Gibbons, Dan Coury and I, traveled to Mojave CA in our Citations for two full days of upset recovery training with the talented professionals at Flight Research. Our key upset recovery learning headline? UTAP: UNLOAD-THROTTLES-AILERONS- PITCH! All three of us wished that we had completed the specialized training much sooner in our flying careers. Our instructors included: Billy Oefelein, Flight Research’s Chief Pilot, who flew F-18’s in the US Navy, then joined NASA to fly the Space Shuttle; Eric Brye, a US Naval Academy grad, who flew F-18’s in the US Marines and regularly flies F-5’s in the Reserve; and, Mark Scarf, a US Air Force Academy grad, who flew F-16’s in combat while in the US Air Force and now flies Boeings as a Captain for a major US air carrier. I wanted to share a few other details with you, hoping that you seriously consider adding one of Flight Research’s world class flight training programs to your upcoming training plans. Also as a reminder, their upset recovery training qualifies for credit toward your CJP Gold Standard award.”

It was immediately clear once we started training that we had made the right decision. The weather was not cooperating the first day, so that day was mostly spent on academics. Slash was doing most of the instruction, with Beast and Smurph weighing in from time to time from the back of the class. With Slash’s background in aeronautical engineering, repeatedly throughout the day I was saying to myself “So that’s how that works!” and “I had that completely backwards…”. Literally, it wasn’t once or twice I made those statements, it was probably a dozen times. The Flight Research academics are clearly structured so that the student will leave with not only the “how to recover..”, but also the “why this works”. In my opinion the classroom portion was just as valuable as the flights.

Flight Research International:
Then & Now

The Heritage Room

Since 1981, Flight Research has held a tradition in which pilots and trainees are escorted into the Heritage Room after they’ve completed their training.

The Heritage Room represents a single symbolic location where a transition of knowledge is handed off to the next generation of pilots. Each pilot who earns the opportunity to experience the Heritage Room and receives special recognition as part of an elite community of specially-trained pilots that we consider to be the top one percent in aviation. They are a particularly special breed of pilot who’ve trained and received special commendation for superior skills in flight.

Fixed, rotary wing and spacecraft pilots have earned the distinction of being recognized in the Heritage Room.

Former Veteran-Owned
Small Business (VOSB)

FRI was recognized as a HUBZone-qualified Veteran-Owned Small Business under the leadership of retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel William Koener from 2012 to 2015.
Today, FRI operates under the leadership of the National Test Pilot School (NTPS), which acquired the business in December 2022. Together, FRI and NTPS strive to provide advanced flight training to military and civilian pilots with a special focus on upset prevention and recovery training.

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