The Pilot 'Hat Trick'

Three different Boeing jets. One pilot. One day.

November 28, 2017 in Defense

On Oct. 13, 2017, in St. Louis, Mo., Boeing experimental test pilot Steve “Bull” Schmidt flew in the Advanced F-15, T-X and EA-18 Growler ‒ all within a span of approximately eight hours. The day marked the first time in Boeing’s history that one pilot flew in three different fighter jets from three different Boeing platforms in a single day.

“To pull off the ‘hat trick’– it’s hard not to have fun,” Schmidt explained. “Because it definitely is a lot of fun being able to fly three different aircraft in a single day.”

The morning began with a test flight briefing for the Advanced F-15 at 6:30 a.m., with takeoff at 9:00 a.m. Next came the T-X test flight briefing and takeoff at Noon. The milestone day concluded with the EA-18 Growler taking flight at 4:00 p.m., and landing shortly after 5:30 p.m.

Multiple test flights in the same day are not uncommon at the Boeing St. Louis site, but having one pilot take part in all three flight is unprecedented.

Schmidt acknowledged the importance of great teamwork from the flight and ground crews of all three different Boeing programs for making the milestone day happen. “The common denominator of the three flights was a safe and successful outcome,” said Schmidt. “This is a direct result of the hard work of the crews.”

Boeing experimental test pilot, Steve "Bull" Schmidt, approaches the third and final fighter jet, an EA-18 Growler, of his milestone day when he flew three different aircraft from three different Boeing programs in one day.