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Ten days at the Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe

The Edwards AFB TEDx team pose for a group photo at the Benefield Anechoic Facility on Edwards Air Force Base, California, Nov. 12. (Air Force photo by Richard Gonzales)

The Edwards AFB TEDx team pose for a group photo at the Benefield Anechoic Facility on Edwards Air Force Base, California, Nov. 12. (Air Force photo by Richard Gonzales)

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Nearly a year ago, I shared the scope and scale of activities that took place during a single weekend at Edwards Air Force Base (https://www.edwards.af.mil/News/Article/1706372/one-weekend-at-the-center-of-the-aerospace-testing-universe/).  It is time to do so again, this time focusing on the activities that have taken place in the last ten days here at The Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe.

Readiness, Effectiveness and Development:

  • Security Forces Defenders found a kidnapped woman on the edge of our property; she had been apparently left for dead by her captors.  Our Defenders genuinely cared for her, they diligently preserved the evidence, and they flawlessly handed off the crime scene to the proper authorities.
  • Our team aced the Air Force Materiel Command Unit Effectiveness Inspection, with the inspectors highlighting 43 Outstanding Performers and 9 Outstanding Teams.
  • Our Senior Class of Test Pilot School Students started their Comprehensive Oral Exams, a requirement before graduating as test professionals early next month.
  • The Company Grade Officer’s Council executed a day-long professional development day.
  • We finalized the syllabus for our Civilian Leadership School (CLS) training program, the first of its kind in the United States Air Force.
  • We held the 5th annual technical symposium for the entire Edwards Air Force Base technical community, with classified and unclassified components and a multi-domain focus.

Community:

  • We flawlessly flew two F-16s over the Monday Night Football game in San Francisco immediately following the national anthem, and their timing was perfect.
  • We hosted our annual Civilian-Military Banquet for the world’s best Civilian-Military Support Group.
  • We fully participated in Veterans Day weekend activities throughout the Aerospace Valley, including a powerful Aerospace Valley Wall Veterans Day Ceremony.
  • We hosted the 7th Annual STEMposium, bringing educators, students, and employers together to improve STEM education and opportunities throughout Los Angeles and Kern counties.
  • We sent our Air Show Team to the Nellis Air Force Base Air Show preparation week as a dress rehearsal for our Aerospace Valley Air Show in October of 2020.
  • We performed a progress check on the construction activity going on at the new Wingstop that will open on the base in December.

Innovation:

  • We hosted an Innovation TEDx event in the Benefield Anechoic Facility with an amazing F-16XL backdrop.  Our world class speakers were Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Kelly Latimer, Mr Peter Newell, Colonel Laz Gordon, and Chief Master Sergeant Ian Eishen.
  • Our SparkED Team kicked off our 19.2 Innovation Challenge to generate ideas to improve workforce efficiency and create new test capabilities.  This follows our previous challenge in which our innovation activity dwarfed that of the rest of the United States Air Force.

All of this was on top of our day-job of test and evaluation for the warfighter:

  • NASA unveiled its all-electric plane prototype, the X-57, during a media day.
  • We performed the first test, a fit-check, of the Tactical Boost Glide hypersonic weapon.  The TBG is one of five hypersonic weapons programs that are to be fully tested here at Edwards.
  • We hosted an E-3 and a KC-10 on our ramp to perform receiver testing with the KC-46.
  • Our test team participated in test planning working groups and control law development with the contractor for the T-7A.
  • The contractor and government test team prepared for initial engine runs for the 5th Generation Aerial Target aircraft.
  • The Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force executed aircraft artificial intelligence testing on the Skyborg system.
  • We approved the F-35’s first-ever combined test OT/DT test plan with our joint partners setting the stage for full-spectrum, agile test.
  • The Air Force Research Lab team brought the world’s largest satellite thruster static chamber on-line.  This chamber will establish the benchmark for verifying the performance of all future Air Force chemical satellite thrusters.
  • Test Pilot School continued refining their requirements for the creation of a Space Test course that will begin in FY21.
  • Our team continues to make great strides in creating and developing a novel Virtual Reality Maintenance training concept for the entire F-35 fleet.
  • We continue to plan, support, execute, and report on 139 test programs worth $1.1B for our nation and her allies.

And that is just a small subset of the important activity going on around this amazing base as we make history today here at The Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe.  Thank you for continuing to be a world class team that has a passion for shaping and molding our nation’s arsenal for the warfighter.

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