412th Operations Group travels to Bakersfield to inspire a new generation of Airmen Air Force Article Display


A group from Edwards Air Force Base traveled Feb. 3 in a C-12 Huron to California Aeronautical University’s Aviation Career Day in Bakersfield to give hundreds of local students a chance to become test pilots and flight test engineers and find inspiration in aviation from the team.

“This is their career fair,” said Jessica Peterson, technical director of the 412th Operations Group. “About 700 students came, mostly high school students who wanted to learn about aviation and local aviation opportunities, including ours.”

Under the direction of the 412th Operations Group, representing Edwards AFB, the students gained experience as a test pilot and flight test engineer. Using a virtual reality system, the students were also able to perform conventional flight test maneuvers and control room operations.

During the aviation career day, students also had the opportunity to fly a simulator fighter aircraft and practice monitoring aircraft speed, altitude and maneuverability. The instruction, with one-on-one training, was provided by a combination of US Air Force military and civilian test pilots and engineers.

“This career day is a great outreach tool,” stated Capt. Benjamin Kram, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron. “Kids can try our work for themselves and try flying,” he said. “Kids who might not have thought they could fly could fly this flight simulator and teach them to fly and get behind the controls of an airplane without actually getting into the sky.”

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In addition, the team asked and answered questions about career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM in the US Air Force.

“I know I want to be in the Air Force when I graduate,” said Beth of Taft Union High School. “My dad encouraged me to go there because of his experiences of traveling around the world and I always thought I wanted to do that and explore the world as well.”

The 412th OG is the Air Force’s largest flight test operations group. It supports 300 test programs on 76 aircraft of 12 different types which the group hopes will inspire future aviation enthusiasts to follow their dreams in the aviation world.

“We’re very excited to meet some local kids and tell them about the opportunities at Edwards that are right here in their backyard,” said Peterson.