Team AEDC Spotlight: Data analysis is top priority to AEDC Flight Systems Combined Test Force

ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. -- Test customers are drawn to the AEDC Flight Systems Combined Test Force because of the tremendously capable people, the world renowned facilities and, now more than ever, the data analysis capability that AEDC offers.

In the past, customers would bring their own data analysts when testing at AEDC facilities. As AEDC analytical capabilities have increased, customers have become more reliant on the AEDC analysis team and have grown to expect and depend on the team’s support.
During a recent Tunnel A test in the von Kármán Gas Dynamics Facility, a customer chose to send a minimal team of analysts and rely on the capabilities of the AEDC analysis team. According to Dr. Craig Morris, a Flight Systems Analysis lead, this speaks volumes to the confidence that customers have in AEDC analysts and the value that the analysis team brings.

“Based on experience and trust developed with the AEDC analysis team, on past tests at Arnold Air Force Base, the test customer decided to leverage the capabilities of the AEDC analysis personnel. The test had very demanding, near-real time analysis objectives with more than a dozen mid-test customer report deliverables. The customer was extremely satisfied with the performance and technical skill of the AEDC analysts.”

Working on this test was the SFO-100 analysis team, which consisted of analysts Wes Brueland, Dr. Carl Hall, Dr. Grant Patterson, Chris Rudolf, Will Stevens and Josh Webb. Together they produced 16 Configuration Analysis Reports, which totaled more than 700 annotated slides that were delivered to the customer during testing to provide timely, decision-critical information that was required to make online configuration down-selects, saving the program both time and money.

Morris explained these reports were critical to the customers’ decision making process, and were frequently transmitted to the customer central office, allowing their team at home to participate in significant decisions.

“The analysis team also conducted their post-test analysis within 10 days of end-of-test, and provided additional decision-critical information to the customer team. Feedback from the customer was very positive and identified the analysis team as a significant contributor to the success of their test and their overall acquisition program.”

Joshua Webb, the SFO-100 analysis team lead, mentioned that the SFO-100 analysis team worked to develop open communications with both test customers and AEDC test engineers.

“We were able to prepare and finalize test specific analysis techniques in the weeks leading up to the test and quickly respond to any additional customer requests during air-on testing,” Webb said. “The entire team understood the important role that AEDC test analysts play in test critical decision-making and made it a top priority to provide the customer with the support required to facilitate diagnosis and real-time decision making throughout the down-select process.”

Lt. Col. David Hoffman, AEDC Flight Systems CTF director, commended the team and mentioned how this recent test is representative of the positive relationships between AEDC test teams and its test customers.

“AEDC has made test data analysis a priority and has continually promoted AEDC and test customer interaction and coordination for all testing activities,” he said. “Our increased interaction with test customers and sponsors has facilitated the growth of a group of real experts in wind tunnel data analytics. It is extremely rewarding when our team becomes a meaningful contributor to a program’s success. The analysts in Flight Systems have done a fantastic job developing the technical knowledge, establishing customer relationships, and promoting the AEDC mission. These are truly impressive individuals.”