ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. -- Though he had not worked directly with AEDC before, Lt. Col. Lane Haubelt, the new director of the Aeropropulsion Combined Test Force at Arnold Air Force Base, knew of its mission and commented that the Complex’s reputation precedes it.
“As an engineer, especially one with an aeronautical engineering focus, I was aware of AEDC and knew of the work they did,” he said. “As a flight test engineer, I benefited from that good work, especially in the Aeropropulsion CTF. Ensuring the engines are solid and safe so that during flight test, when the pilot pushes the throttle up, you know the engine is going to work. That’s a testament to the people and the facilities at AEDC.”
In his role, one of Haubelt’s goals is to rise to the challenges of keeping up with a busy test schedule.
“My main goal is to execute the mission,” he said. “This is the busiest and most exciting time in decades. The volume of testing increases year upon year, and it’s expected to grow. Also, the systems that are coming are more complex and they demand more intricate test setup and instrumentation. To execute that mission, we need to focus on two main areas. One is ensuring we have the resources, the facilities and the infrastructure to meet that demand and complexity. Secondly, ensuring the team and the people have the training and support needed to execute that mission.”
Haubelt added that he realizes how AEDC and the Aeropropulsion CTF is important to meeting the overall needs of the Air Force.
“The Air Force’s mission is to ‘Fly, Fight and Win,’” he said. “The current geopolitical climate has put a demand on the Air Force that we haven’t seen in decades. To meet that demand, the nation looks to field the most powerful weapon systems driven by the most advanced and complex propulsion systems we’ve ever seen. So, the Aeropropulsion CTF mission is to safely and efficiently test the nation’s most advanced propulsion systems in order to provide decision makers with unbiased and actionable data; to be that best value in test and analysis.”
According to Haubelt, AEDC has proven itself in the past to be successful during the most challenging times.
“The nation is challenging our CTF to ensure we have the right engine system in the fight,” he said. “Time and again, the CTF has risen to that challenge. Look at its history and the amazing things that AEDC accomplished over the decades. When I see that, I’m challenged by that example. I look forward to serving the CTF and continuing to meet that challenge.”
Haubelt comes to AEDC from serving as program manager at the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
Haubelt started his Air Force career upon commissioning from the United States Air Force Academy, earning a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering. Upon graduation, he attended the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he conducted research to improve scramjet combustion efficiency at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Supersonic Research Combustion Wind Tunnel and earned a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering.
He then served as a performance and flying qualities engineer assigned to the 773rd Test and Evaluation Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base, California. There he oversaw the planning, conducting and reporting on numerous T-38 Talon and F-16 Fighting Falcon flight test programs before being competitively selected for the Air Force Test Pilot School.
Upon completion of the Experimental Flight Test Engineer Course, Haubelt was assigned to the 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. As the Engineering Division Chief, he led F-35 Lightning II, F-22A Raptor, F-16C, F-15C/E Strike Eagle and A-10 Thunderbolt II operational test programs. Additionally, he served as a Combined Test Force chief engineer, leading a 267-member test team conducting envelope expansion, safe separation and payload testing. Prior to going to Bolling AFB, he was a student at the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.
While the first Airman in his family, Haubelt’s family has a history of aviation and giving back in some capacity.
“My dad is a former Navy F-8 Crusader pilot with a technical background in physics,” he said. “He was an inspiration to me not only from the aviation side but also from the technical side. My family also promoted the value of service. Service to causes that are greater than one’s self. The Air Force provides that opportunity, to serve a higher purpose and the nation. The Air Force also provides the ability to work with some pretty amazing, brilliant and dedicated people on the most advanced aerospace systems. That was something I couldn’t pass up.”
Haubelt mentioned that between being a professional tester, program manager and military officer, he has learned the importance of having a strong, focused team, and he wants to reflect that in his current position.
“Being in different places, you learn that diverse perspectives are important to provide that clearer picture,” he said. “Innovative solutions come from those diverse perspectives and ultimately leads to a stronger organization. Additionally, the most critical thing I’ve learned is the importance of listening and serving. My role is to serve the CTF. Everyone here – whether it’s a welder, engineer, test manager, or facility maintenance personnel – they own the mission. My job is to empower them and enable them to achieve that mission.”
Haubelt and his family, his wife Marina and two kids, are still getting acquainted with the area but he is sure it will feel like home soon.
“My wife and I have been talking about how the Tennessee welcome is a real thing. We’ve felt extremely welcomed by the team. The team has been great, supporting us and ensuring that the mission continues on during the transition from Lt. Col. [David] Garay to myself. Not only helping us get settled, but helping to stay mission focused.”