AEDC summer tours begin

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Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) is offering people throughout the United States the opportunity to visit the flight simulation test facilities at Arnold Air Force Base.

AEDC is home to the world's most advanced and largest complex of flight simulation test facilities. The test center hosts distinguished visitors from all over the world, and the opportunity to tour the facility is also available to the general public. 

Visitors will tour various facilities including the 16-foot supersonic wind tunnel, the world's largest jet turbine engine test facility and a large rocket motor test facility. 

The summer tours are free and available on select Fridays at 9 a.m. June 1 through Aug. 31. Tours will last two to three hours and are available for individuals and small groups of up to 12 people. Reservations should be made at least two weeks in advance. The name and other information on each visitor must be provided in advance. Clearance for non U.S. citizens can sometimes take more than two weeks. 

In the event of a conflict with Air Force operations, registrants will usually be informed three days in advance if a tour will be cancelled. 

AEDC tours can also be arranged for groups of 13 to 35 people Monday through Thursday in the morning or afternoon. Larger groups will be considered, and all tours are scheduled on a first-come, first served basis. AEDC welcomes young children if they are under strict adult supervision. 

Visitors should arrive at least 15 minutes before the tour is scheduled to begin and must enter through the center's main gate located about three miles from Interstate 24 at exit 117. 

As a large industrial complex, most of the facilities are not equipped for mobility-impaired persons, but special arrangements may be made with advanced notice. 

Tours involve walking, some on steel grating and up stairs, so comfortable shoes should be worn. Open-toed shoes, sandals and heels are not permitted. Video cameras, still and motion picture cameras and camera cell phones are also not permitted. 

If you are interested in touring AEDC, contact Andrea Abrahams at (931) 454-5655. 

AEDC is the world's most diverse complex of aerospace test facilities. Since it opened in 1951, its engineers, technicians, craftsmen and support personnel have been involved in the development of nearly all U.S. military and NASA high-performance jets, missiles and space systems. 

The center's propulsion test cells, aerodynamic and propulsion wind tunnels, space chambers and ballistic missile ranges can simulate virtually every aspect of flight from ground level to deep space. Ground testing reduces risks and saves lives, equipment and money in operational testing. 

For more information on AEDC and center tours, visit the Web site at