On Feb. 25,2020, the Flight Test Museum Foundation announced a generous contribution from Dr. Eileen Bjorkman, executive director, Air Force Test Center.
Bjorkman recently contributed $50,000 to the FTMF to sponsor the RF-4C (#004) and help directly fund construction of the new Flight Test Museum being built outside the West Gate at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
“I’ve benefited so much in my life from the generosity of others, so it’s very rewarding to give something back,” said Bjorkman. “I’m thrilled that I can help preserve an important part of the history of flight testing, the Air Force, and our nation. And I’m especially pleased that I can do it with a model of my favorite airplane, the F-4, and even better, one that I actually got to fly in.”
George Welsh, Flight Test Museum director, joined with the FMTF Board to honor Bjorkman at a ceremony at the Flight Test Museum at Edwards.
“We’re here to say thank you to an individual who has given us tremendous support,” Welsh said.
Bjorkman is a graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School, Class 85B, and was one of a few women who ever flew in F-4s; she flew as a flight test engineer in the F-4s at Edwards in the 1980s, Welsh said.
During her military career she served as a flight test engineer, instructor and test squadron commander. She was a senior non-rated aircrew member and flew more than 700 hours as a flight test engineer in more than 25 different aircraft, primarily the F-4, F-16, C-130 and C-141. She also held multiple staff and director positions involving modeling, simulation, analysis and joint testing, retiring from active duty as the Chief of the Modeling and Simulation Policy Division, Warfighter Systems Integration and Deployment. Bjorkman was appointed as a Senior Leader executive in January 2010 and entered the Senior Executive Service in 2015.
The Flight Test Museum’s mission it is to preserve, display and educate the public to over 75 years of flight test research, both at Edwards and the surrounding area. The current 8,500 square feet building is located inside the gates of EAFB and construction of a new 75,000 square feet museum space has begun just outside the West Gate. Currently in Phase Two of a four-phase construction schedule, the new location will allow more space for aircraft inventory, include a state-of-the-art STEM Education Center and will allow for much easier public access to the museum.
The mission of the Flight Test Museum Foundation is to raise funds to support the development of the new museum and the museum’s Blackbird Airpark Annex at Air Force Plant 42 in nearby Palmdale, Calif. The Foundation’s fund-raising efforts focus primarily on museum improvements, new construction, exhibits, aircraft acquisition and restoration, and educational programs.
“We are thrilled to have Doctor Bjorkman as a former F-4 Flight Test Engineer connected to the airplane, support its restoration and the mission of the Foundation,” said Art Thompson, FTMF Chairman. “Doctor Bjorkman’s contribution will help us move forward with construction of the new museum, preserve the Right Stuff heritage, support STEM education and inspire future generations to come.”