Competing with the best

The French academy for test pilots, the École du Personnel Navigant d’Essais et de Réception continues to develop in a fast-paced world. Frédéric Lert profiles this fascinating unit.

Flight test focus


For the centenary of Dassault Aviation, the French Air Force’s Rafale Solo Display joined the Falcon 8X for a flight over the Mediterranean. Dassault makes good use of test pilots – all former EPNER students. For this promotional shoot, Philippe Deleume and Eric Gérard were flying the Falcon, with Capitaine Benoit ‘Tao’ Planche in the Rafale. Anthony Pecchi

Colonel David Caroff, former director of the EPNER, ready to leave for a test flight. Frédéric Lert

The Spanish Tiger HAD was also test flown by EPNER pilots. Serial 5001 (French test registration F-ZWBZ) is the HAD prototype, subsequently HA.28-24. In common with all the major test pilot schools, EPNER crews maintain dual qualifications on fixed- and rotarywing types. Anthony Pecchi

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