Engineers at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., joined thousands of their colleagues around the world in celebrating Engineers Week, Feb. 22-25, 2022.
Engineers have played a significant role in the history of Edwards and flight test. The Edwards celebration was intended to celebrate that history as well as strengthen the camaraderie between the different engineering disciplines within the 412th Test Wing.
“Engineers week (E-week) was shortened by one day with our valued President’s National Holiday but didn’t lack student outreach and teaming fun activities,” said Dan Osburn, 412th Test Wing Technical Director. “It is imperative we bridge our engineering relationships at many levels within ‘The Center of the Aerospace Testing Universe.’”
One of the events included virtual outreach sessions to over 600 kindergarten to 12th-grade students where engineers talked about their careers.
Engineers Week events planner Rachel Jager, 412th Test Wing technical assistant, said it is vital to connect with the younger generation and show them valuable work that engineers do in the real world, as well as to show them having fun.
“Community outreach and mentoring is crucial at all ages,” Jager said. “When you see real people discussing their careers, explaining that their grades may not have always been perfect, and some classes may have been hard it can spark the thought for children that perhaps, they too, can do this!”
The activities during week kicked off with off- and on-road bike rides around the base near historically significant landmarks that highlighted the engineers’ connection to aerospace history, which was organized by Collin Drake, B-52 lead engineer, 419th Flight Test Squadron.
“Engineers are a crucial component to what we do here at Edwards,” Drake said. “There is a rich history of ‘never-before-seens’ and ‘first-evers’ that have occurred here at the Air Force Test Center, and behind every brave and talented test pilot accomplishing these feats, there is and has always been a team of engineers that help make it happen. Safe and effective flight test is only possible with the fleet of capable engineers that methodically plan and execute every flight test event.”
Another fun event was the egg toss envelope expansion competition. Teams received one prototype (hard-boiled) and one production representative egg (regular). Each Team received a set amount of money and can pick from various design components and safety mitigations.
They were given a total of 20 minutes to design and build “vehicles” for their eggs. The team members then tossed the egg vehicle back and forth to each other to find their outermost expansion test point. Teams were judged on their program’s expense, time to develop and performance.
“The egg toss demonstrated in a simple and hilarious way how we test and safety plan at the 412th Test Wing, with teams juggling test safety, data collection, schedule, cost, and customer requirements,” Jager said. “We are happy to say only one mishap occurred and it was due to testing outside the approved envelope.”
This year’s Engineers Week highlighted the work, camaraderie and fun that Edwards engineers have on base.
“The relationship connection with our engineers and school communities is amplified as we come out of our pandemic,” Osburn said. “The E-week hybrid, virtual and live, events were a vast success, enabling us to reach across several engineering/future engineering disciplines.”