Final Exams in Flying Color

Masters students at the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, Calif., have been tackling a peculiar flight anomaly of the C-12 Huron as a final challenge in their year-long degree program. “As students go through TPS, they learn the theory of how and why an aircraft behaves in a certain way,” said Karl Major, a civilian C-12 test pilot at Edwards. Investigating why rudder resistance on the C-12 deteriorates in a sustained side slip, the students are employing the theoretical knowledge and techniques to a real-world problem. “Safety of the C-12 rudder was never in doubt, but it is certainly an interesting characteristic,” explained Capt. Chris Baughman, TPS C-12 project manager. Flying in various configurations, students have filmed rudder airflow as indicated by yarn-tufts across the C-12’s skin from a chase plan, compiling data for analysis. They are expected to present their findings in May before their June graduation. (Edwards report by Laura Mowry)