Nine congressional staffers got an up close and professional look at some of the test programs Edwards AFB is working on Aug. 5.
The staffers each serve congressmen and congresswomen in nine different districts and states.
They work for U.S. Congressmen who serve on various committees including the House Armed Services Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations.
After briefings on the Air Force Test Center and the 412th Test Wingís mission, the group visited the 412th Maintenance Group where they learned about instrumentation and fabrication of test aircraft.
Following that, they were given a tour of the flightline where they saw the takeoff of a T-38 Supersonic Trainer and an F-16; and got the opportunity to get out of the tour bus and stand on Edwardsí famous lakebed.
The staffers then headed to the Joint Strike Fighter Integrated Test Force for a look at the F-35 Lightning II as well as the 411th Flight Test Squadron, which oversees flight test for the F-22 Raptor.
There’s nothing in the world like seeing an F-35 up close as opposed to just reading or hearing about the testing and acquisition program, said Adrielle Churchill, military legislative assistant for Congressman Steve Womack, R-Arkansas.
When organizations are faced with cutbacks, a lot of times they are very quick to cut research and development. I think itís important to see that research and development is important to the future of our military and our country.
The delegation was then escorted to Ridley Mission Control Center where they were given a range briefing and a tour of the Mission Control Room right before lunch at the Joshua Tree Dining Facility.
After lunch the staffers went to the 412th Electronic Warfare Group and checked out the Benefield Anechoic Facility before visiting NASAís Dryden Flight Research Center and then departing base.
Edwards AFB was one stop of a tour facilitated by the Air Force where congressional staffers are shown various AF industrial bases and facilities to familiarize staffers with the Air Force mission. The staffers also visited Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, Calif., this past week.