Thursday, October 22, 2020

Navy will use World War II B-25 to train test pilots

The Naval Air Warfare Center- Aircraft Division and U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS) in Patuxent River, Md., announced Thursday its intention to solicit and negotiate a firm fixed-price purchase order on a sole source basis with Rag Wings and Radials Aircraft Leasing, LLC for flight hours aboard the company's B-25 Mitchell aircraft.

The anticipated period of performance under the contract is Nov. 1 to Sept. 30, 2022.

“The aircraft to be provided for this exercise, the B-25 Mitchell, is a unique configuration not readily available for hire commercially,” Navy officials said in contract documents. “Extensive research of all known contractors possessing this model aircraft has been completed. This is the only known contractor possessing a suitable aircraft, with acceptable safety posture and desired configuration, pre-qualified by USNTPS staff personnel, and is available for hire at the specified time and having a proven instructional training program compatible with USNTPS standards, that can provide the training and demonstration flights. Also, with the current COVID situation, TPS is not willing to expose its personnel to additional risk incurred by vetting a new vendor at this time. Due to an extremely tight schedule, the contract start date is mandatory to meet USNTPS syllabus requirements.”

The contractor shall provide up to 18 demonstration flight hours per period in a B-25 aircraft to USNTPS student and instructor personnel to support the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School Qualitative Evaluation Program. The typical flight duration will depend on the number of students/staff on board, but will be planned as one hour flight time per student/staff member. Flight demonstrations shall take place at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

In 2015, the Air Force Test Center Contracting Directorate at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., used a B-25 bomber to provide test pilot training for up to 50 U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School (TPS) students and staff members.

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