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Public Affairs, Volume 63, Number 64

Serving the community of Edwards Air Force Base California -

Oct. 21, 2016

VISTA gives TPS clearer view of new flight control system By Christopher Ball 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Students at the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School recently completed testing of an innovative aircraft control system that is intended to add a margin of safety to aviation. The L1 Adaptive Control System is a software system that, when installed as a backup system in any fly-by-wire aircraft, can quickly learn the aircraft’s flying characteristics and then assist the aircraft in case of a control surface or system failure. It was designed and built by a professor and two graduate students from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign and tested here by a team of TPS students from class 16A. The TPS team consists of staff advisor Dr. Chris Cotting and five students – test pilots Capt. Daniel Edelstein, Italian Air Force Capt. Raffaele Odesco, French Air Force Maj. Air Force Test Pilot School students with Class 16A -- Capt. Daniel EdelNicolas Langevin and flight test engineers Capt. Craig Porter U.S. stein, Capt. Clark McGehee, Capt Craig Porter, Italian Air Force Capt. Raffaele and Capt. Clark McGehee. Odesco, and French Air Force Maj. Nicolas Langevin – tested the L1 Adaptive Test Pilot School students earn a master of science degree in Contol System recently using the F-16 Variable In-flight Stability Test Aircraft, or VISTA. (Courtesy photo) flight testing after completing the one-year course. Since the controller is adaptive, and designed to function “In order to get a master’s, you need to do a project of some sort,” Cotting said. “Typically you do a master’s thesis. We on any fly-by-wire aircraft, the traditional flight test process have our students do a group project. The idea is we want could have been expensive and time consuming. So the class them to take the lessons they’ve learned in how to plan and opted to test the system using the NF-16 Variable-stability Inexecute a flight test and actually go do that.” See VISTA, page 2

Edwards NCO ‘joins’ the Marines for senior NCO training

Master Sgt. Daniel Magas (top right) stands for a photo with the rest of his platoon at the U.S. Marine Corps Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy Advanced Course Sept. 28 at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. (USMC Courtesy photo)

By Kenji Thuloweit 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

When it came time for Master Sgt. Daniel Magas to attend the next step in his Professional Military Education – the Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy – he decided to take a different route. Magas, the commandant of Edwards AFB’s Airman Leadership School, decided to attend the U.S. Marine Corps Advanced Course in lieu of the AF Senior NCO Academy.

“There are limited seats offered to the Air Force annually by the USMC. I simply wanted a challenge, and I felt the Corps would be more than willing to oblige,” said Magas. After being nominated by his Air Force chain of command, Magas was selected and joined 84 other students for the 52-day Marine course at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Eight other Airmen and a Slovakian military member also attended the course. Obviously, working with the mostly sea- and land-based force would be different from an Air Force course, he said. “Challenges were expected. The Corps operates differently than the Air Force in a lot of ways, but our dedication is the same. Once that was made clear, a lot of the differences became very common and the challenges were more of a shared venture than a different uniform or service,” Magas said. “You never think you’ll be thrown in the pool with a bunch of Marines and expect to come out unscathed. But, what I found were lifelong friends.” One particular subject at the course Magas recalled was a Revolutionary War battle study, which had the students spending most of the day in the classroom researching tactics and maneuvers of the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge. After that, the class took a trip to the battle site to walk the grounds in the North Carolina swamp to research the terrain and stand over the graves of Revolutionary War-era soldiers. See MARINE, page 3


Desert Wings

Oct. 21, 2016

A space odyssey Workers lower NASA’s Lunar Landing Research Vehicle to the concrete behind the Air Force Flight Test Museum Oct. 13. The LLRV and the Space Shuttle Crew Transport Vehicle were both donated by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. The LLRVs, humorously referred to as “flying bedsteads,” were created to study and analyze piloting techniques needed to fly and land the tiny Apollo Lunar Module in the moon’s airless environment. The LLRV is now on display inside the museum. Public display of the CTV is postponed until the museum staff can meet with safety and power requirements for the vehicle. (U.S. Air Force photo by Christopher Ball)

412th OSS ‘township’ meetings produce innovative ideas to improve processes By Kenji Thuloweit 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Once a month, the 412th Operations Support Squadron holds a meeting as part of its “Township” Process Improvement Program, which was created to foster a stronger organizational bond and improve how the 412th OSS operates in order to deliver greater value and support to customers. The goal of the township is to move the organization forward outside of downward-directed guidance that typically outlines change for most Air Force units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit) The foundation of the township is providing an environment free from rank and position and allowing for candid So far, 18 process improvement initiatives have been examdiscussion for those in attendance to bring forth process im- ined with nine completed and implemented. provement ideas. Clear ownership of all process improvement Outside of the 412th OSS, if you have an innovative idea on base, initiatives is given to the creators. contact T.J. Wuth at, or 661-275-8217.

From VISTA, page 1

flight Simulator Test Aircraft, known as VISTA. VISTA is a highly modified F-16 that can simulate the flight characteristics of many other aircraft. For example, if the aircraft is configured as a C-17, when the pilot operates the flight controls, the aircraft will respond like a C-17, not an F-16. “We can make the aircraft fly like anything we want within its performance envelope. We have safety trips on it so if the aircraft goes to an attitude we’re uncomfortable with it will trip off and a safety pilot will have the original aircraft to fly safely,” Cotting said. “This allows us to put research flight control laws on there without having to go through the normal flight test process so we can literally go from basic design, test in a simulator and go fly all in the same day, as opposed to the months it would take to go through the normal process,” Cotting said. “From a researcher’s point of view, you can see where that could be very advantageous.” According to Cotting, the L1 controller is a somewhat novel idea in that it doesn’t have to know what the airplane is like that you’re putting it on. “You give it some basic information about the airplane and

the adaptive controller should be able to configure itself to make the aircraft fly like anything I tell it I want to fly like,” he said. “So in our case we use something called a reference model which is a set of dynamics we would like the airplane to fly,” he said. “We tell it some information about the aircraft, but not a lot, and then it goes and sorts out how to make the aircraft fly like the reference set of dynamics.” Part of the process was to install the controller on VISTA and see if the team’s performance predictions were accurate. “We also wanted to test some different configurations of VISTA that are normally unsafe to fly and see how well this controller can recover the aircraft back to a reference set of dynamics that we do think is safe to fly,” Cotting said. The adaptive control system is designed to work on any flyby-wire aircraft. Some of the fly-by-wire aircraft at Edwards include the C-17 Globemaster II, the F-16 Falcon, the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II. Many aircraft companies, including Boeing and Airbus, are building fly-by-wire aircraft for commercial use as well. (This article is part two of a series about the L1 Adaptive Control System.)


Desert Wings

Oct. 21, 2016

Registration deadlines fast approaching – register, vote! Commentary by Eugene McClelland Installation Voting Assistance officer

Get that flu shot. Get the tires rotated. Replace the batteries in the smoke detector. These are all things we think we need to get done, yet somehow let slip. The same goes for registering to vote. We mean to do that in December of the odd-numbered years so we can vote in the primaries that come up fast after the holidays. But we forget, and the primaries go by without our voice being heard. We then listen to our Installation Voting Assistance officer at a wing commander’s call talking about registering to vote around the Fourth of July during Armed Forces Voters Week. “Yeah, I’ve gotta do that,” we remind ourselves. And we forget again. Finally, Absentee Voters Week comes around the end of September and we realize, “I’ve got almost no time to get that Federal Post Card Application completed and mailed off! I’ll do that this weekend.” It’s time right now to go online and fill out that registration form and request your absentee ballot if you haven’t passed the registration deadline. Just go to, fill in the information, review the PDF file generated by your answers, print, sign and send your registration and FPCA ballot request to your state election officials. There are just days until Election Day, so you’ll want to ensure you beat the clock. While your FPCA may get to the election officials in time, you may not have time to receive your ballot, vote and get it back to your election officials by Election Day. But that’s okay too! Once you’ve completed the FPCA online, signed it and sent it off, you can then go right back to the FVAP website and use the Online Assistant to complete a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot. Just go to, and go through the same process you did for the FPCA. See? Easy! You can send in that FWAB to ensure your vote counts, and if your state gets your ballot to you in time, make

(Courtesy graphic)

sure you vote that ballot and send it in too. Don’t worry. They won’t count both. Your FWAB will be destroyed if your state ballot is received in time to be counted for the election. Now get that flu shot and change the batteries in your smoke alarms. America needs our Airmen healthy and safe!

This year’s Voting Day is Tuesday, November 8 Airmen takes away increased pride in being senior NCO From Marine, page 1

“You truly get a feeling for the situation these soldiers were in at the time – mosquitoes included – and then to conclude with a comparison paper backed by current Marine Corps Doctrine.” Magas said one of the bigger things he took away from the Marine course was the increased feeling of pride to be a senior NCO and the pride exuding from his Marine classmates and the value they held for lower enlisted Marines, who were to be trained by senior NCOs so they may one day take their places. “The Corps is big on not just wearing the rank but fulfilling your role as a senior NCO regardless of who’s standing in front of you. It’s fair to say that I look at a lot of things differently now. You’re not just a gunny or master sergeant, you’re

“The Gunny,” and the example is yours to set. And if you’re not willing to set that example, other senior NCOs will ensure you are corrected. And don’t think the example is just within the work center either. It’s at the mall, in the commissary, and yes, at PT every day. Being a senior NCO is a way of life, something you’ve worked for, and it should be respected.” The course fulfills Magas’ senior NCO professional military development requirement and turned out to be a highlight in his AF career, he said. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for the Corps, but when they welcomed me into their world that respect grew and I began to realize that while we have different roles in the arena of war. Our service issues are the same, our frustrations are the same, and most importantly, we can learn from each other”


Desert Wings

Oct. 21, 2016

This Week in Edwards Flight Test History On Oct. 20, 1956, William Holden and other Hollywood personalities attended the grand opening of the new Base Theater and viewed a screening of “Toward the Unknown,” which had been filmed on the base. This marked the official opening of the new base theater. (Edwards History Office file photo)

(DOD graphic)

412th MDG offers Drug Take Back By Kenji Thuloweit and Defense Health Agency 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

Excess prescription and over-the-counter drugs can pose a serious risk in your home. Edwards Air Force Base is helping the local community fight back against the dangers of unneeded, unused and expired drugs by offering its Drug Take Back program at the 412th Medical Group’s Main Clinic. “Proper drug disposal lowers the risk of abuse, accidental ingestion or environmental contamination,” said Tech. Sgt. Jason McCormack, 412th Medical Support Squadron, Diagnostics and Therapeutics Flight chief. “We accept both prescription and over-the-counter drugs, but we can’t accept illegal drugs.” Customers can bring their excess, expired and unwanted medications to the main clinic. They can be placed into the MedSafe receptacle for disposal, located in the pharmacy lobby.

Combat Dining Out Edwards Edwards Top Top 33 presents presents this this year’s year’s Combat Combat DinDining ing Out, Out, Oct. Oct. 29 29 in in Hangar Hangar 1623. 1623. Tickets Tickets on on sale sale now; now; prices prices depending depending on on rank/ rank/ civilian civilian pay pay grade. grade. All All are are welcome welcome to to attend. attend. Event Event runs 5 9 p.m. Call Master runs 5 - 9 p.m. Call Master Sgt. Sgt. Julie Julie Apodace Apodace at at 2752759287 9287 for for info. info.

Give it a whirl!

(U.S. Air Force photo by Joseph Gocong)

Performers whirl and dance to music in traditional costumes Oct. 13 as Team Edwards wrapped up its Hispanic Heritage Month activities with a luncheon and cultural show at Club Muroc. Several events were held throughout the base from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week and was expanded in 1988 to cover the current 30-day period. Several Latin countries celebrate their independence days in September and October.

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Commander, 412th TW ................ Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer Installation Support Director ..................... Dr. David Smith Command Chief .............. Chief Master Sgt. Todd Simmons Director, 412th TW, Public Affairs ................... Ed Buclatin Editor ......................................................... Kenji Thuloweit Contributors ................... Christopher Ball, Dawn Waldman To submit articles or upcoming events send an email to

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