James O’Connell

Pegasus VTOL Business Jet Senior Test Pilot

James O’Connell is an experienced experimental Test Pilot in both the Rotary Fixed Wing environment.  James has over 36 years of flying experience of which 25 years are vested in experimental flight testing.  James has flown in excess of 4000hrs on Rotary Wing aircraft and 1600hrs on Fixed Wing aircraft.  He was the lead Test Pilot for the South African Air Force A109 LUH helicopter replacing the well regarded ALO III.  He was also the lead Test Pilot for the Oryx helicopter mid-life upgrade and responsible for the operational release-to-service of both types.  James has unique experience in arctic operations and was part of the test team that provided the release-to-service for Oryx M2 helicopter operations in Antarctica.  As an experienced operational pilot, he brings insight into typical Pegasus mission scenarios.  In his experience as a Test Pilot, he not only has experience as a test and evaluation practitioner but also in system program development, from writing a User Requirement Specification up to and including full civil certification and release-to-service.

James is a decorated, retired senior officer of the South African Air Force where he served for 29 years amongst others, as an operational helicopter pilot and senior Test Pilot advising the Chief of the South African Air Force on all flight test related matters.  He is a member of the South African Test Pilot Association, The Society of Experimental Test Pilots and presently the Chief Flight Instructor for Test Flying Academy of South Africa.