Helicopters Magazine

Test pilot selected for astronaut training

May 21, 2009  By

astroMay 21, 2009 - AgustaWestland congratulates Senior Test Pilot Tim Peake on his selection by the ESA as the first British astronaut to join the European Astronaut Corps.

 Tim Peake, AgustaWestland Senior
Test Pilot

May 21, 2009 – AgustaWestland,
a Finmeccanica company, congratulates Tim Peake, AgustaWestland Senior
Test Pilot, on his selection by the European Space Agency as the first
British astronaut to join the European Astronaut Corps. The Corps
currently consists of eight members from Germany, France, Italy,
Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden. The European Space Agency
commenced a search for four new astronauts in May 2008 to conduct
future missions to the International Space Station, and one day to the
moon and beyond.

The selection process involved several stages over a
12 month period to select four people from the 8413 valid applications.
Following the announcement Tim said “I am delighted to have been
selected as a member of the European Astronaut Corps. I think that the
space industry is going to play an increasingly important role in
overcoming many of the challenges that humankind faces and to be a part
of ESA’s team working towards that goal is a great privilege.”

Peake was commissioned into the Army Air Corps (AAC) in August 1992 and
gained his wings in June 1994 and was subsequently posted to Germany as
a Gazelle pilot. In January 1998, he became a Qualified Helicopter
Instructors (QHI) and in September 1999 was selected for an Exchange
posting to the USA where he flew Apache helicopters with the US Army.
On his return to the UK Tim was posted to Middle Wallop as one of the
first British Army QHI’s instructing on the AgustaWestland Apache AH
Mk.1. He was awarded a 4* Commendation for his efforts in introducing
the Apache AH Mk.1 into service.

January 2005 he was selected for Empire Test Pilot School course and on
graduating was posted to Rotary Wing Test Squadron (RWTS), Boscombe
Down. He was employed as the senior Apache test pilot and Squadron
Training Officer, in addition to conducting Special Forces projects. On
completion of his tour at RWTS, Major Peake retired from the Army Air
Corps aged 37, having served for 17½ years. Tim was then employed by
AgustaWestland in February 2009 as a Senior Test Pilot, primarily
flight testing Apache and Lynx helicopters. He is married to Rebecca
and has a four month old son, Thomas.



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