Edward Kraft, pioneer of Integrated Testing and Evaluation, retiring from AEDC
By Deidre Ortiz, AEDC/PA
/ Published January 24, 2017
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. --
Dr. Edward Kraft, a Senior Level executive for the Department of Defense and one of the pioneers for integrating modeling and simulation into Testing and Evaluation for the DOD, is retiring as AEDC chief technologist.
During his time as chief technologist at AEDC, Kraft has served as the principal technical advisor to the commander and top technical expert for the Complex in the testing of hardware in aerodynamic, propulsion and space ground test facilities that simulate flight conditions; and in developing advanced test techniques, instrumentation and facilities by exploiting current research and applying new technologies. He has provided technical leadership in identifying future technical needs and innovative strategies to support advanced test facilities, systems and equipment.
Kraft is a widely recognized authority on the integration of modeling and simulation into test and evaluation processes. He is also a leader in the application of systems dynamics and lean thinking to enterprise processes.
Though leaving AEDC, Kraft doesn’t plan to end his legacy here. He will be starting a new opportunity as associate director of research at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.
“This will give me the opportunity to expand on what I’ve worked on at AEDC and enable me to support the Complex in a different capacity,” he said.
AEDC is the place Kraft first started his career as a co-op student in June 1964, and the number of projects that Kraft has been involved in while at AEDC is a lengthy list.
“I finished my bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 1968,” Kraft said. “After working on my master’s degree at UTSI, I started full-time at AEDC in 1969 working in the Propulsion Wind Tunnels.”
At that time, as a contract employee, Kraft worked mainly in the 16-foot transonic tunnel at AEDC before moving into the field of technology and analysis. He worked as contract employee from 1969 until 1995, and during this time became general manager of one of the operating contracts.
In 1995, he left to work in industry but later came back to AEDC in September 2001 as a federal employee.
“Starting here as a young engineer in the 1960s, I was able to see a lot of these facilities come out of the ground,” Kraft said, who even assisted in the design of the 4-foot propulsion wind tunnel at AEDC.
Throughout his time at AEDC, he has seen many an engineer begin his or her journey at the Complex, and has no doubt served as mentor for many. A piece of advice he leaves with the present and future engineers that set foot inside the facilities at AEDC is that networking is key to growing and learning within their chosen career field.
“It’s beneficial for young engineers to be involved in conferences and write papers on their area of expertise,” he said.
Out of all he has been a part of at AEDC over the years, Kraft’s most memorable accomplishment is the successful development of the F-22 Raptor program using the integrated modeling and computational fluid dynamics software.
“The only place we could have done this is here at AEDC because of our team of experts in testing, flight and technology,” he said.
Kraft is also largely known for work he’s done outside of AEDC within
the aerospace industry. Industry positions he has held over the years include vice president and chief technical officer of Allied Aerospace Industries, Inc.; executive vice president and chief operating officer and vice president for Enterprise Development, Micro Craft, Inc. and general manager, Micro Craft Technology.
In recognition of his endless research and findings benefitting the Air Force and DOD, he was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, as well as Fellow of AEDC. He has also been presented with the General H. H. Arnold Award from the AIAA Tennessee Section and Special Achievement Award from the AIAA Tennessee Section.