Dr Edward Kraft, a senior level executive for the Department of Defense and one of the pioneers of integrating modeling and simulation into testing and evaluation for the DOD, is retiring as Arnold Engineering Development Complex chief technologist.
During his time as chief technologist at AEDC, Kraft has served as the principal technical advisor to the commander. Kraft also served as the top technical expert for the complex in the testing of hardware in aerodynamic, propulsion and space ground test facilities that simulate flight conditions; and in the development of advanced test techniques, instrumentation and facilities by exploiting current research and applying new technologies.
Kraft has provided technical leadership in identifying future technical needs and innovative strategies to support advanced test facilities, systems and equipment. Kraft is a widely recognized authority on the integration of modeling and simulation into test and evaluation processes. He is also a leader in the application of systems dynamics and lean thinking to enterprise processes.
Though leaving AEDC, Kraft doesn’t plan to end his legacy here. He will be starting a new opportunity as associate director of research at the University of Tennessee Space Institute.
“This will give me the opportunity to expand on what I’ve worked on at AEDC and enable me to support the Complex in a different capacity,” he said.
AEDC is the place Kraft started his career as an engineer, and the number of projects that Kraft has been involved in while at AEDC is a lengthy list.
“I started as a co-op student in June 1964 when I finished my Bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati,” Kraft said. “I was finishing my Master’s at UTSI and started full-time in 1969 working in the Propulsion Wind Tunnels.”
At that time, as a contract employee, Kraft worked mainly in the 16ft transonic tunnel at AEDC before moving into the field of technology and analysis. He worked as contract employee from 1969 until 1995, and during this time became general manager of one of the operating contracts. In 1995, he left to work in industry but later came back to AEDC in September 2001 as a federal employee.
“Starting here as a young engineer in the 1960s, I was able to see a lot of these facilities come out of the ground,” said Kraft, who even assisted in the design of the 4ft propulsion wind tunnel at AEDC.
Throughout his time at AEDC, he has seen many an engineer begin their journey at the Complex, and has no doubt served as mentor for many. A piece of advice he leaves with the present and future engineers that set foot inside the facilities at AEDC is that networking is key to growing and learning within their chosen career field: “It’s beneficial for young engineers to be involved in conferences and write papers on their area of expertise.”
Out of all he has been a part of at AEDC over the years, Kraft’s most memorable accomplishment is the successful development of the F-22 Raptor program using the integrated modeling and computational fluid dynamics software.
“The only place we could have done this is here at AEDC because of our team of experts in testing, flight and technology,” he said.
January 25, 2017