This picture highlights the collaborative effort it takes to execute successful flight test. There are engineers, aircrew, maintainers, schedulers, range, special instrumentation, control room, and range safety personnel. This not only involves different disciplines, but multiple companies as well; US Air Force active duty, government civilians, NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. All from varying agencies; multiple contractor facilities, Air Force Test Center, Air Force Research Labs, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Naval Air Systems Command. And, the last mission involved a B-52 from Barksdale AFB, flown by Edwards AFB military and contractor aircrew, being chased by a NASA F-15 and an USAF F-16. The flight transitioned from Edwards’ restricted airspace, across National Airspace Space, into the Sea Range at Point Mugu, CA.
The Society of Flight Test Engineers embraces the diverse set of disciplines it takes to make flight test safe, effective, and efficient. It remains the goal of the Society to foster these attributes through collaboration, symposia, and community outreach. Those in school today will be the flight testers of tomorrow. College students of mine recently graduated and have started their new careers with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the US Air Force. I encourage all of you to get engaged with the Society; to contribute, participate in local STEM activities, network, develop new flight test techniques, mentor, create safer strategies for flight test, and share lessons learned.