Test Facility Renovations Focused on RPAs

The Air Force is upgrading and renovating the Installed Engine Thrust Test facilities at Edwards AFB, Calif., to accommodate smaller remotely piloted aircraft in the inventory. “We’re installing new computers, developing new software and reconfiguring the load cells” at Edward’s pad 18, said Gary Peddicord, automation and calibration specialist. While workmen are stripping away the old lead-based paint, the installation of new load cells will “allow us to configure the thrust stand to more closely match the lower thrust ratings of these types of aircraft,” he added. Edwards’ test facility has evaluated nearly every type of aircraft in USAF service since 1955, and is believed to be the only one in the US capable of testing engines mounted on large aircraft such as the B-52 or C-5. Renovations began Aug. 5 and should be complete by year’s end. (Edwards report by Diane Betzler)