Eric “Pinto” Mitchell is currently a Flight Test Captain at United Airlines and part-time consultant Test Pilot with Draken International. Mitchell has served on the Flight Test Safety Committee since 2012 and he also serves as the SETP East Coast Educational Outreach Chairman. He is an SETP Associate Fellow and was a USNTPS Class 113 Fixed Wing Pilot Graduate.
Mitchell obtained his pilot’s license in 1984 and joined the Navy in 1988. Since then, he has flown and tested nearly 100 aircraft including jet fighters, trainers, large transports, turboprops, and helicopters. He flew navy fighters from twelve different aircraft carriers and amassed 650 arrested landings. From 1996 to 2012 he was posted to six sequential test tours at VX-23, ETPS and USNTPS, as well as the Test Wing where he specialized in high risk weapons separation, loads, FQ&P, systems integration and shipboard suitability in the F-14 and F/A-18 as well as instruction in various jet fighters and trainers.
“Retiring” after 23 years in the U.S. Navy, Mitchell was subsequently employed as a test pilot for Northrop Grumman Corporation at Pax River and Baltimore (5 years) where he conducted developmental flight test on the X-47B UCAS aircraft and electronic systems developmental flight testing on several highly modified aircraft.
Mitchell has served on the Executive Board of SETP and served in every office of the East Coast Section. He has authored “Welcome to Flight Test” outreach presentations for TPS and STEM students, inducted nearly 100 SETP PAMs, presented quality papers and chaired SETP symposia.
Pinto also opened and established the world famous “Flight Deck Lounge” Bar on board NAS Patuxent River as the clubhouse of the USNTPS Alumni Association.