Virgin Orbit, LLC

  • Chief Test Pilot

    Job Locations US-CA-Long Beach
    Req No.
    Regular Full-Time
  • Who we are




    At Virgin Orbit, we launch the small satellite revolution, accessing space for missions that were previously unimaginable and fostering new ideas and technologies to create a truly spacefaring civilization. We deliver Virgin’s legendary customer service by pairing technological advancements with a clear focus on our customers’ needs. We build a workplace and a workforce for the future, knowing that our decisions and investments of today will launch the industries of tomorrow. We engage a diverse and inclusive community of dreamers and achievers in a shared mission to access space to improve life on Earth. At Virgin Orbit, we boost imagination. Search all of our job openings on our career portal.


    Position Summary


    Virgin Orbit (VO) is seeking an experienced Chief Test Pilot.  This role will lead the flight crew and operations effort to flight test and put into standard operations a 747-400 modified to serve as an airborne launch platform for LauncherOne, a 2 stage liquid fueled rocket.  This is a full-time position at Virgin Orbit’s aerospace facility in Long Beach, California.  Flight test planning and engineering work will be performed at the Long Beach facility.  Flight testing will be executed out of Long Beach Airport, the Mojave Air and Spaceport, and Victorville Airport. Launch Operations will be flown out of the Mojave Air and Spaceport and Guam.

    Your Mission

    • Manage Virgin Orbit’s flight crew and aircraft operations.
    • Plan all flight activities and serve as Pilot-in-Command (PIC) on an experimental 747-400
    • Contribute to design evolution and systems development.
    • Assist in directing, planning and executing the flight test program to include flutter, stability and control, structures, systems integration, safe separations and airborne launch operations.
    • Play a primary role in flight test plan development, technical and safety reviews.
    • Develop aircrew training curriculum in support of launch operations.
    • Plan and perform flight simulation evaluations.
    • Lead the development of launch operations procedures and development of the aircraft flight manual.
    • We are looking for someone who will work well in a small, dynamic and high caliber team.


    What you bring

    If you want to join us, you’d better have all of these…

    • Graduate of any SETP (Society of Experimental Test Pilot)
    • A minimum of 3 years fixed-wing Developmental Test & Evaluation envelope expansion experience in large transport or high-performance aircraft
    • A minimum of 3 years of experience in heavy, multi-engine aircraft flight operations. (highly desired)
    • A minimum 1,500 hours PIC time in large transport or high performance aircraft, to include 100 hours as PIC during developmental flight tests
    • Exceptional communication skills to meet both engineering and marketing needs
    • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering or science, with 5+ years’ relevant industry experience.
    • Working knowledge of aircraft and space systems and familiarity with relevant aerospace standards (FAA, FAA‐AST etc.).


    ITAR Requirements


    To conform to U.S. Government space technology export regulations, applicant must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident of the U.S., protected individual as defined by ITAR (22 CFR §120.15) or eligible to obtain the required authorizations from the U.S. Department of State.


    Personal Requirements


    Our idea of a happy life: build rockets, work with brilliant people, serve purposeful customers, and open access to space. Sir Richard Branson’s belief is “If you get the perfect mix of people working for your company, you have a far greater chance of success.” From the very start, we have placed top priority on growing and fostering a team of creative, diverse, and talented women and men. In the words of Sir Richard Branson “We believe it’s better to have a hole in your team than an asshole in your team!”


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    Virgin Orbit is an Equal Opportunity Employer; employment with Virgin Orbit is governed on the basis of merit, competence and qualifications and will not be influenced in any manner by race, color, religion, gender, national origin/ethnicity, veteran status, disability status, age, sexual orientation, marital status, mental or physical disability or any other legally protected status.


    Not ready to apply? Build the Future with Us for general consideration.