Air Force

November 30, 2012

Air Force Flight Test Museum begins Adopt-A-Plane program

Tags:
Laura Mowry
Staff writer


More than 25,000 visitors flock to the Air Force Flight Test Museum each year to learn about the rich history of Edwards and the extraordinary aviation milestones reached in the skies above the Mojave Desert.

They learn about test pilot legends and catch a glimpse of engineering marvels, such as the SR-71 Blackbird and YF-22 Raptor.

The Air Force Flight Test Museum is a place where children and adults alike gather from all over the world to learn and be inspired by some of the U.S. Air Force’s most remarkable achievements and notable programs.

Wanting to give visitors the best experience possible, the museum recently began an Adopt-A-Plane program, to ensure the aircraft are looking their finest.

“When we have visitors, they expect our aircraft to be in order. They don’t expect to see flat tires. We are the Air Force, visitors expect to see these aircraft looking at their best and they deserve that. This is about pride in Edwards, the Air Force and in what we do. Visitors need to know we care about the history and the people who came before us,” said Tony Moore, Air Force Flight Test Museum specialist.

The United States Air Force Test Pilot School Class 12B was the first organization to participate in the program with the adoption of the SR-71 Blackbird.

“We were looking for a way to give back to the museum,” said Maj. Martin Van De Pol, USAF TPS Class 12B. “So, I talked with the museum’s director about helping with the planes outside that need cleaning and that eventually led to adopting the SR-71. Not only does this give us a chance to help out, but it also gives us a chance to get up close to the jet; to touch and feel it and see what it’s like.”

The Blackbird is one of 84 airframes the museum’s two full-time employees are responsible for. While a majority of the aircraft are stored in various locations around base, strict Air Force regulations mandate regular maintenance and cleaning on each airframe.

“There are more than 80 aircraft and with only two of us, we can’t do it all. They all have to be maintained and cleaned, so the Adopt-A-Plane program will benefit us greatly. It will allow us to be more successful in our day-to-day responsibilities and allows us to keep moving towards our goal of expanding outside the security gate,” said George Welsh, Air Force Flight Test Museum director.

Class 12B began participating in the program Nov. 17 when they gathered to clean the aircraft. Everything the class needed was provided by the museum, including telescoping RV brushes, hoses, ladders and aircraft ground equipment.

In addition to cleaning the SR-71, the class will be responsible for light maintenance such as applying additional paint, reapplying insignias, draining remaining fluids and fixing flat tires.

“In addition to cleaning the Blackbird, we will perform minor repairs like changing tires or keeping the birds out. This is an ongoing effort. There is so much history with this jet and on this base; it’s important to preserve it,” said Van De Pol.

The program will not only help the museum keep aircraft looking their best, but it will also cut costs by reducing the number of times aircraft need to be repainted. Each time an aircraft is repainted it costs the Flight Test Historical Foundation anywhere from $200 to more than $3,000 depending on the size of the aircraft and the type of paint.

The SR-71 adopted by Class 12B is painted with high-quality automotive paint, which although cost more money than alternative options, is much more durable and able to withstand the harsh desert environment.

“The climate is dry so we don’t have the corrosion issues other bases have, but it’s also very tough. There’s a lot of wind and there’s a lot of sand. Our airplanes are being sandblasted constantly. You put a new paint job on an airplane and as a result of the environment, in five years you need to repaint. That’s why it’s so important to maintain them on a regular basis,” said Welsh.

In addition to environmental factors, birds nesting and excess fluid leaks are top concerns for corrosion and requires regular care to preserve the aircraft. Routine cleaning and maintenance is the best way for the museum to reduce costs and keep the aircraft looking their best for the thousands of visitors that come through the museum each year.

Although Class 12B will perform light maintenance on the aircraft, Team Edwards personnel interested in participating in the program are not required to do so. Volunteers can participate as much or as little as they would like.

“Ideally I would like a crew of three to four people per airplane, although there is no set number. That would go a long way and really help preserve the collection. I’m not expecting only maintainers to come out and participate in the program. Anyone can participate,” said Welsh.
To find out more information about participating in the Air Force Flight Test Museum’s Adopt-A-Plane program, contact George Welsh at (661) 277-8050.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
afmc-q-and-a

Lean thinking, process improvement highlight Busch’s time at AFMC

During the last 16 years and six assignments in Air Force Materiel Command, Vice Commander Lt. Gen. Andrew Busch was challenged to find new methods to operate more efficiently in one of the most complex and diverse commands tha...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Bill Orndorff

3-D printing saves maintainers money at Hill

Air Force photograph by Bill Orndorff An F-16 wing attachment, molded from plastic in a 3-D printer, was used as a prototype before being machined in metal. The 309th Maintenance Support Group at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, is u...
 
 

New personal property allotment rule implemented to protect Airmen

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently directed a policy change in paycheck allotments which will prohibit service members from allotting pay to buy, lease or rent personal property. The prohibition includes allotments for the purchase or finance of vehicles, such as automobiles, motorcycles and boats; appliances or household goods, such as washers, dryers and furniture; electronics...
 

 

AF realigns missions to enhance nuclear support

In response to a directive from the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the 377th Air Base Wing in Albuquerque, N.M., will report to Air Force Global Strike Command, and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will reorganize, combining the AFNWC commander and Air Force Program Executive Officer...
 
 

Air Force looks at innovative acquisition processes

With new technologies rapidly coming to the forefront of the global stage, remaining the world’s greatest air force comes at an escalating cost, making responsible spending and cost-cutting initiatives high priorities for Air Force leadership. The Air Force Office of Acquisitions is partnering with industry to realize some of these initiatives and help propel the...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Airman, screenwriter says follow your dreams

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Capt. Eric Koenig, 412th Aerospace Medicine Squadron dentist, consults with a patient at the Edwards AFB Dental Office. This past Veterans Day, Capt. Eric Koenig, 412th Aerospace Medicine S...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>