Chris Clark

Christopher Clark

Chief Test Engineer, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23
Naval Air Warfare Center (Retired)
MSAAE 1987

"My time at Purdue gave me a deep-seated regard for the intersecting disciplines and systems integration issues that are inherent to air vehicle design and flight testing. The outstanding professors at Purdue, through their academic rigor, really encouraged students to seek a granular understanding of first principles across multiple disciplines.”

Christopher Clark started his career with Navy flight test in 1981 at the Naval Air Test Center and accumulated 37 years of flight test experience before retiring in February 2018. He was assigned as the Chief Test Engineer at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 23 (VX-23) in May 2001 and held that position with the Naval Air Systems Command for his last 17 years.

Throughout his career, Clark served in numerous positions on a variety of Navy tactical aircraft programs, including the F-4, F-14, T-45, X-47B UCAS-D, and F/A-18A through F, and EA-18G. His technical engagement spanned the fields of applied aerodynamics, flight mechanics and flight controls, aircraft/weapons integration, avionics, propulsion/mechanical systems and aircraft-ship suitability.

Clark provided technical direction to a network of more than 400 engineers, technicians and support personnel from the NAVAIR Flight Test and Engineering communities, support contractors and the airframe prime or product manufacturers.

The test teams under Clark’s direction conducted technology insertion experiments, mission capability evaluations and concept exploration using flight test and fleet exercise participation, as well as Live, Virtual, and Constructive (LVC) test methodologies. As a Chief Test Engineer, he was the final test engineering review and approval authority for the most hazardous, high-risk flight test projects for U.S. Naval tactical aircraft.

Clark earned a master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University in 1987 and a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland in 1981. He is a 1983 graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School’s Fixed Wing Flight Test Engineering Curriculum.

Class of 2020 OAE feature series: Chris Clark