Experimental Test Pilot (with Shawn Disarufino)

I wasn’t selected a few times and I got to the point where I thought I wouldn’t be selected, but another board came up and I thought “he always told me to keep trying” so I did and I got selected...I think that’s a common theme if you just keep pushing on the door it may or may not open, but other things will open and you’re better for it for trying.

There’s so much that goes on behinds the scenes in the world.  So many people that make it so we can just live our day to day lives without much interruption.  One such major role is that of product tester.  Nothing makes it into our world without somebody messing around with it out first.  Did you put some oatmeal in the microwave this morning?  Best believe that microwave was tested…and probably the oatmeal too.  Some product testers take on much more bold jobs than oatmeal, and today’s guest is one of them.  Shawn is an experimental test pilot.  Planes and helicopters need testing just like anything else, and Shawn is the man to do it.

Any time a human being interacts with a machine the human being has to compensate for inefficiencies in the machine.
People sometimes ask me what I do and they envision Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, but it’s usually a lot more like the old Verizon commercial

Interview Contents

1:55 - What differentiates being an experimental test pilot?
5:40 - How much time do you actually spend flying?
7:50 - Specifics of testing.
9:20 - Discovering something outside your test parameters.
12:20 - Advanced testing vs. incremental testing.
13:50 - Dangerous experiences.
15:40 - The path to becoming an experimental test pilot
18:30 - The checklist.
19:00 - Performance.
20:15 - Stability.
20:55 - Handling Qualities.
31:20 - Human interface qualities.
22:40 - Systems.
23:35 - How being a test pilot has changed shawn.
24:40 - How advanced are the aircraft Shawn is working on?
28:35 - Advice for becoming a pilot.

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Blake Fletcher

San Francisco, CA

Livin it up!