Top Stories
Top Stories

I get paid to be a Boeing test pilot

I get paid to be a Boeing test pilot

Craig Bomben's office can go to Mach 2, faster than the speed of sound.

"We take airplanes that have never flown before, or equipment that's never flown before and we go out and we put them in an environment they've never been in," he said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch. "

Bomben is the chief test pilot and vice president of flight operations at Boeing. He's been flying since 1985, and a test pilot since 1992.

Bomben said all test flights are different but the basic preparation is the same.

Read MoreI get paid to be a heli-ski guide

"We get together as a team. The day prior we typically receive what the plan is. We review the plan, we make sure that all the steps are appropriate," he said.

"We think of all the what ifs, we think of getting into the maneuvers, getting out of the maneuvers, we talk about each individual person's role on that flight. We talk about risk…and we talk about ways that we take the risk and minimize it to the lowest level possible so that we go out and execute the test safely,"

Craig Bomben, Boeing’s Chief Test Pilot, at work in the cockpit.
Source: Boeing

The stakes in Bomben's line of work are high, and the margin for error small.

"If you mess up inside of an office you end up with a paper cut or stapler injury, if you're in an airplane and you mess up you could hurt somebody, you can damage some metal, bend an airplane so we keep that in mind at all times," he said.

Bomben said he hasn't had any close calls. "We had things occur that we didn't anticipate but the airplane is always safe… 99.9 percent we're just going out and validating that we know what the actual answer is," he said.

Testing all the "what-ifs" in an airplane gives Bomben great satisfaction.

"Every day we go out and fly… we're making airplane travel safer, we're making it more enjoyable, we're making it more comfortable, and it's pretty satisfying to go home and know that you're doing that," he said.