News>Classroom renovations keep TPS students on cutting-edge
Col. Lawrence Hoffman, United States Air Force Test Pilot School commandant cuts the ribbon after completion of the first classroom renovation at the school in 15 years. The renovations better support the curriculum, Air Force trends and give students the necessary resources to better prepare them for their futures in test and development. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Laura Mowry)
With the last major renovations approximately 15 years ago, the Test Pilot School updated the classroom with state-of-the-art technology that will support the curriculum for years to come. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Laura Mowry)
10/31/2012 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- For 68 years, the United States Air Force Test Pilot School has transformed top pilots, engineers and navigators into test pilots and flight test engineers with a commitment to staying on the forefront of emerging technologies; developing cutting-edge technologies for the Air Force, sister services and U.S. allies.
The school's 48-week master's program includes a rigorous combination of flying and academics covering performance, flying qualities, systems and test management. With the new classroom renovations, the school's curriculum will be well supported by some of the most advanced classroom technologies available.
"This school is teaching the subjects that are at the very leading-edge of technology in the United States and our Air Force. We believe our facility needs to support that curriculum and support those subjects. We continue to upgrade our facility to support the quality education the students are getting here," said Col. Lawrence Hoffman, USAF TPS commandant.
Renovations included removing the stage at the front of the classroom to provide instructors with more space. Lighting was upgraded to include zone dimming to improve presentation quality and controls were installed in the instructor's lectern. Additional controls in the lectern were added for the projector, projection screen and audio system.
A six camera DVR system was installed, allowing lectures to be recorded from multiple angles. Also mounted in the ceiling are two microphones to record the audio.
Additional equipment for the classroom includes a ceiling-mounted remote controlled projection screen and a ceiling-mounted high-definition projector. A 70-inch wall-mounted flat screen monitor and two Promethean ActivBoard 500 Pro smart boards are mounted on the wall at the front of the classroom. A Yamaha sound system was also installed to improve the audio quality for students.
"The technology in the old classrooms was out-of-date. It wasn't supporting some of the new concepts and new ways of teaching we have introduced to the curriculum, for example talking about cyberspace and space subjects. There are tools out there like the smart boards that allow us to show material in a different, more effective way for these difficult subjects," said Hoffman.
With the last major renovations approximately 15 years ago, TPS decided now was the perfect time to update the classroom with state-of-the-art technology that will support the curriculum for years to come.
"We thought it was time to both update and upgrade the classrooms. We began working on this in 2010 and the idea is that this classroom will support the cutting-edge curriculum and take us to 2020 and beyond," said Hoffman.
The classrooms are not the only area where TPS is staying out in front of technology. They have also upgraded their labs, simulators and curriculum aircraft. To help the school make informed decisions about integrating state-of-the-art technology, they looked to studies outside the school for emerging Air Force trends.
"We looked outside the school to see where the Air Force is headed. There are a lot of studies looking at the future of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), cyberspace and space. Aircraft, weapons, sensors - we are looking at the future visions of where we are going with the technology of the Air Force. Remotely piloted aircraft is one area that we believe is going to grow greatly in the coming decades. We want to make sure our curriculum, facilities and technologies support that growth," said Hoffman.
"For example, right now we're working on a surrogate RPA project. A Learjet and our Variable Stability In-Flight Simulator Test Aircraft (VISTA) F-16 can be flown from inside the school with people sitting in the aircraft as safety pilots. We are making the move today to stay on the very leading edge of that technology," he continued.