AEDC test facilities impress visiting Junior Force Council groups
By Brad Hicks, AEDC/PA
/ Published November 08, 2017
ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, TENN. --
In late August, Arnold Air Force Base simultaneously hosted members of Junior Force Council groups from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Edwards Air Force Base.
During their three-day visit, the groups, each of approximately eight members, toured Arnold AFB and the University of Tennessee Space Institute campus to get an up-close look at the practices and processes occurring each day throughout the Complex and campus.
The tours were coordinated by Daniel Ogg, research mechanical engineer with the High Speed Systems Division of the Air Force Research Laboratory at Arnold. Ogg is also vice president of the Arnold JFC.
“These kinds of trips provide a good opportunity for them to see all the other research, all the other testing, all the other activities going on in the Air Force and provides ample opportunities to coordinate and network with their peers at these other Air Force bases,” Ogg said.
During the visit, the JFC toured the Engine Test Facility, ballistic ranges, the Arc Heater facilities, the von Kàrmàn Gas Dynamic Facility, and the Space Threat Assessment Testbed, as well as other laboratories and research areas.
The JFC groups were made up of not only engineers, but also program managers, financial analysts and information technology personnel from Edwards and Wright-Patterson.
Aside from Dr. Richard Fingers, AFRL Integration and Operations (RQO) Division chief at Wright-Patterson AFB who acted as an advisor to the visitors, the visit to Arnold AFB was the first for those in the groups.
These visits, sometimes referred to as “bluing trips,” give Air Force personnel an opportunity to observe the processes at other bases, offer their expertise or input and possibly take some best practices back to their respective facilities. Arnold AFB personnel also takes part in such visits. Last year, a group from Arnold visited Tyndall Air Force Base and Eglin Air Force Base for this purpose.
“I would say between all of these tours, it gives these folks, whether it’s the engineers or the IT folks or the finance folks, a great view into how things are done here at Arnold and opens their eyes to things they never had any idea were going on,” Ogg said. “A lot of the testing going on here may be directly relevant to things going on at Edwards or things going on at Wright-Patterson, so it kind of opens a lot of folks’ eyes to the things going on where there may be a good partnership or collaboration or assistance in the future and how they can assist with some of the research and testing going on here.”
He added that several visitors were unaware of the existence of Arnold AFB prior to the tour, but they came away impressed by the site and the operations of Complex.
“They were just blown away by the infrastructure here,” Ogg said. “Like I said, some of them didn’t even know that Arnold AFB was a thing until this trip was advertised to them, but just the overall infrastructure, the scale of testing and overall operations and, basically, all the testing going on here, from things like the arc facilities up to the transonic and supersonic wind tunnels and the 16-foot test sections, they were very impressed with everything going on here.”
Members of the visiting JFC groups are also affiliated with the AFRL, a collection of directorates with the goal of conducting research to enable testing and advancement of technologies to help support warfighters and their needs. The leadership of AFRL is based out of Wright-Patterson AFB. The visitors are part of the Aerospace Systems Directorate.
The AFRL branch at Arnold, which consists of approximately a dozen people, was established three years ago. Personnel in the branch are currently in the process of reactivating VKF Tunnel D, a wind tunnel constructed in the 1950s that has remained dormant since the 1970s.
Ogg said, “Our branch kind of came down here to utilize that old tunnel, reactivate it and push forward with research capabilities that may not have been available elsewhere in the lab.”
He commended AEDC personnel for accommodating the JFC groups and providing insight on the operations at Arnold.
“It was great working with all the folks here at AEDC, and they were able to show off the testing and the research that’s going on here and get their research and testing out in the world to other folks and, in this instance, it was the AFRL groups that visited,” he said.
The Arnold JFC is in the process of planning its own bluing trip to Edwards AFB for the spring of 2018.