Rocketplane Global Appoints Paul Metz as New Test Pilot, Promotes Faulkner to CTO

Source: Rocket Global Press Releases

Oklahoma-based Rocketplane Global has announced the appointment of Paul Metz as its new vice president and chief test pilot. The company has also promoted David G. Faulkner to the position of chief technology officer.

As Chief Test Pilot, Metz will be responsible for all aspects of the pilot and passengers interfaces on the Rocketplane XP as well as training of the flight test team that will perform the flight test and licensing of the first XP. He will also work closely with the engineers developing the flight control system to ensure the best possible flying qualities for the vehicle and develop and supervise the training programs for passengers and future XP pilots.

“Paul is one of the most respected and capable test pilots in the country and we are very pleased to have him join the team,” Faulkner said. “His experience is second to none as a test pilot. Paul has been involved in three complete vehicle developments from concept to flight test as Chief Test Pilot for the F-20, the YF-23 and the F-22. In addition, he has had significant involvement during the development and flight testing phases of the F-5, B-2 and F-35. This experience makes Paul invaluable to the Rocketplane XP Program.”

Prior to joining Rocketplane Global, Paul Metz served as Vice President for Integrated Test and Evaluation (Flight Test) on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program from 2001 until his retirement in February 2006.

He had previously served as Lockheed Martin’s Chief Test Pilot for the F-22 Advanced Tactical Fighter from 1992-2001 and made the first flight on the F-22A Raptor on September 7, 1997. Prior to joining Lockheed Martin, he was an Engineering Test Pilot and Chief Test Pilot for Northrop Aircraft for 12 years. He made the first flight of the YF-23A Advanced Tactical Fighter in August 1990 while at Northrop Grumman. He also served as an engineering test pilot on the B-2 program, was an F-105G Wild Weasel pilot in the USAF for twelve years and was decorated for combat missions in Southeast Asia.

Metz is a Fellow and past-president of the Society of Experimental Test. In 1992, he received the Kincheloe Award, the test pilot profession’s highest award, for his flight testing of the YF-23 Advanced Tactical Fighter prototype. In 2002 he was enshrined in the Aerospace Walk of Honor at Lancaster, California, the gateway to the USAF Flight Test Center. He has written numerous articles on the flight test of modern fighter aircraft. He has over 7,000 hours and more than 37 years of experience flying 70 aircraft types including the F-86, F-105, F-4, F-5, F-15, F-20, YF-23 and F-22.

In his new position, Faulkner will manage and direct the development of the company’s technology and vehicle programs. As part of this role, he will also serve as Program Manager for the Rocketplane XP suborbital vehicle. This organizational change emphasizes the importance Rocketplane Global is placing on its development of the Rocketplane XP suborbital space vehicle as well as its plan to develop technologies and concepts that will lead to future vehicles.

“David has shown real leadership and innovation in driving the development of the Rocketplane XP,” stated George D. French, Jr., Rocketplane Global’s Chief Executive Officer and President. “We are confident in his ability to lead the XP vehicle development to success and at the same time provide leadership to our advanced program areas where we are working on derivatives and next generation vehicles. This change underscores our commitment to the Rocketplane XP vehicle program by elevating the XP Program Manager position several steps.”

Mr. Faulkner joined Rocketplane Global in 2005 and previously served in key development and leadership roles with Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. He holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering both from the University of Oklahoma. He and his wife, Michele, and their four children reside in Norman, Oklahoma.