Construction of instrumentation laboratory starts at Edwards Air Force Base


The installation of a new laboratory for developing flight test instrumentation has started at the Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The 812th Aircraft Instrumentation Test Squadron’s (AITS) new Special Instrumentation Diagnostics Engineering and Calibration Laboratory will be used to plan, build and repair instrumentation and related equipment for test aircraft.

Douglas Pilcher, an 812th AITS electronics technician said, “The overarching purpose of this lab is to support the engineering effort of the Special Instrumentation division. We do this through diagnostic, engineering and calibration support.

“We are the first to turn on newly-designed data collection equipment.  We help program data acquisition systems. We create the information panels that mount on the front of the instruments. We repair instruments that have broken while in the field.”

The new laboratory consolidates work currently done in different areas of the base into a single location, making it easier for all the different instrumentation functions to work together, added Pilcher. Additionally, the laboratory will have a new environmental chamber, able to simulate temperature and altitude.

“More than any of that, this is a lab from the ground up,” Pilcher said. “We are currently working in converted office space. The new lab will provide a cleaner, better environment with better temperature control.

“Without the functions that will be provided by the lab, there would be no testing,” he added. “We wouldn’t be able to provide what test engineers need — data.

“It’s the equipment and expertise we provide that allows any of the aircraft here at Edwards to collect the data necessary to provide a better tool to the warfighter.”

Caption: Ground breaking ceremony for the new Special Instrumentation Diagnostics Engineering and Calibration Laboratory at the Edwards Air Force base (Image: US Air Force/Kyle Larson)



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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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