AFMC Command News

Two AEDC Aeropropulsion team members receive special recognition

  • Published
  • By Deidre Moon

Two Arnold Engineering Development Complex team members within the Aeropropulsion Test Branch at Arnold Air Force Base have received special recognition by the Air Force.

Steve Arnold, technical advisor for Aeropropulsion, was selected as the Air Force Materiel Command Science Engineering and Engineering Management Senior Career Civilian Scientist/Engineer of the Year. Maj. Michael Knauf, former operations officer for Aeropropulsion, was selected as an Air Force nominee for the Air Force Association Award Citation of Honor.

Arnold, part of the AEDC team for 30 years, received this recognition for providing technical leadership for eight highly complex engine development projects worth over $100 million.

Mr. Arnold’s leadership and professionalism were critical to the success of the nation’s highest-priority engine development test campaign,” said Lt. Col. Lane Haubelt, AEDC Aeropropulsion Test Branch Materiel Leader. “The superior performance of Mr. Arnold reflects great credit upon himself, Air Force Materiel Command and the United States Air Force.”

Arnold drove the analysis for the unit’s first rapid acquisition program and directly ensured the first flight success of a high-priority weapon system. Additionally, he made innovative approaches to increase test efficiency through repurposing test cell acoustic instrumentation to combat unexpected vibrations and identified unique methods to couple test data with computational fluid dynamics, preventing an expected three-month delay to critical test schedules.

Arnold also spearheaded technical initiatives, identified unique solutions to prepare AEDC for next-generation engine test programs and oversaw the technical team evaluating critical sustainment improvement for the F135 engine test. His efforts enabled the development and analysis of a unique safety-of-test metric that led to saving 45 days of test schedule.

Additionally, Arnold was praised by leadership for his innovative improvements and customer-focused approach. He led a Small Business Innovate Research initiative to characterize engine vibrations through high-speed camera technology, which was applied directly to a multimillion dollar engine reliability test.

Arnold said he is humbled by this recognition from AEDC, AFTC and AFMC, and that it wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of his team.

“I consider it more of an acknowledgement of the talented craftsmen and engineers I’ve had the fortune to work with than any of my individual contributions,” he said. “I appreciate Melissa Tate and Lt. Col. Lane Haubelt for taking the time to nominate me. One of the advantages to working on their team is they go the extra mile to recognize everyone’s effort.

“Out of all the people who have taught me through the decades, I also want to say a special ‘thank you!’ to Margaret Ervin. She was my first mentor and the person most responsible for instilling in me a mix of curiosity with a solid dose of reality.”

Haubelt also commented that Knauf is another exceptional team player, who distinguished himself while in the role of Aeropropulsion Operations Officer.

“Maj. Knauf provided exemplary leadership of a 400-personnel test unit, driving all aspects of test operations for the world’s most advanced and dynamic engine test facility,” Haubelt said. “He personally ensured the success of 11 extensive test campaigns, each critical to the continued security of our nation.”

Knauf drove test operations for a United States Navy rapid engine test, reducing cost and timeline by 25 percent. He also championed an ingenious test execution approach for the Joint Strike Fighter engine, providing around-the-clock testing to deliver key reliability data weeks ahead of schedule.

Moreover, Knauf led extensive test cell reconfigurations, overcame challenges to prevent loss of a critical test schedule to meet vital early development milestones, and cleared the engine test envelope for top-priority combat systems.

“I am incredibly humbled by this award nomination,” Knauf said. “None of this would be possible without the hard work put forth by the men and women of Aeropropulsion and the rest of Arnold AFB who support our operations. I continuously boast about the great successes the team has brought about and the amazing facilities we have.

“I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to be the operations officer for Aeropropulsion and for all the encouragement along the way.”

Haubelt applauded the efforts and dedication of Arnold and Knauf.

“Congratulations to both Steve Arnold and Maj. Michael Knauf for their excellent representation of AEDC and the United States Air Force,” he said.
“Both individuals exemplify the high caliber of technical acumen and leadership the nation requires to maintain its aerospace edge. Well done!”