Hawkers Squadron volunteers joined a Civil Air Patrol contingent helping out at the 2016 Los Angeles County Air Show at General Wm. J. Fox Airfield (KWJF) in Lancaster, CA .
Spread out across a Saturday and Sunday (March 19-20), the KWJF event is Los Angeles County’s only air show. Hawker Squadron member and Air Show board member SM Robert Ross said over 55,000 people were expected to attend.
Antelope Valley aerospace powerhouse Lockheed Martin was the major event sponsor, which highlighted the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational program in Los Angeles.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels headlined the air show, celebrating their 70th year as a premiere precision flying team. From Texas, a T-6 flight made up as Japanese war planes dazzled the crowd with a pyrotechnic/flying display, “Tora Tora Tora.”
Planes of Fame warbirds flew in from Chino, CA (KCNO) in abundance, including a Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Curtiss P-40N Warhawk, F-86 Sabre and the restored Northrop N9MB Flying Wing, a predecessor to today’s B-2 Stealth Bomber.
Show opened with former Navy SEAL jumpers performing as the Patriot Parachute Team. Also thrilling the crowd were the Texas Flying Legends Museum squadron, aerobatic flyers Skip Stewart, Melissa Pemberton, Chuck Coleman and Kent Pietsch, the Shockwave Jet Truck, Third Strike Wingwalking. A NASA ER-2 High Altitude Platform (NASA’s U-2 variant) completed a perfectly -tuned show.
Van Nuys Airport – Mar. 14, 2016: Just what kind of the “right stuff” does it take to wring bugs out of cutting edge aircraft?
National Test Pilot School Chief Operations Officer, Jim “JB” Brown, knows and he’s willing to share.
Lucky for KVNY’s Hawker Senior Squadron 128 members, who spent a riveting hour-and-a-half with one of America’s premiere military and civilian test pilots. The evening program was organized by Assistant Aerospace Education Officer, SM Robert Ross.
Brown is uniquely qualified to tell test pilot tales to air men and women.
A graduate of the USAF Test Pilot School, Brown holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Virginia Military Institute and a MS in Management from Troy State University.
With over 8,900 hours logged in 123 different aircraft – both military and commercial – Brown boasts an alphabet soup’s worth of FAA certifications, including ATP, MEL, Commercial and CFI, SEL.
After starting his career in the U.S.A.F., Brown spent time flying for a commercial airline, then transitioned to Lockheed Martin. At Lockheed, he served as Chief Test Pilot for the F-117A stealth fighter, Chief Test Pilot for the F-22A and Chief of Flight Operations for Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works.
Brown’s test pilot credentials include A-7D Electronic Warfare platforms, F-15 A/B/C/D software, radar and weapons integration, F-15E initial development avionics, weapons, electronic warfare and propulsion and various still-classified aircraft prototypes.
Capping off his credentials, Brown is a Fellow of both the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Royal Aeronautical Society. He also belongs to the Order of Daedalians (a fraternal and professional order of American military pilots).
Recently retired from Lockheed, Brown joined the National Test Pilot School without so much as a two-week vacation. “I left work at Lockheed on a Friday and started work at the school the following Monday,” Brown told the Hawker Squadron.
Brown had no trouble holding his audience’s attention while walking Hawker Squadron through the curriculum at the National Test Pilot School.
Based at the former Marine air station in Mojave, California (KMHV), NTPS boasts a broad array of aircraft, including T-38 Talons, Aermacchi MB-326M Impalas, the Beech 76A Duchess, a Saberliner NA-265, two Bulgarian MIG-21s and an array of Cessna, Diamond and Cirrus single engine sleds. Helicopters include the Bell OH-58C Kiowa and the Bell 212/UH-1N.
NTPS fills out some 42,000 square feet of hangar and classroom space at Mojave, and has privileges to fly in normally restricted Military Operating areas (MOAs) controlled by nearby Edward Air Force Base.
“When you’re doing flight testing, it’s not a good idea to mix with regular traffic,” Brown observed.
The NTPS program offers a full year-long training program that culminates in a Masters of Science degree (Brown put the cost of that program at around US$1 million). Also offered are short, specialty courses, such as Introduction to FW Performance & Flying Qualities Flight Testing (teaching practical in-flight testing), Night Vision Imaging Systems Evaluation Techniques and RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle) Flight Testing,
Flight school students come from the U.S. (including agencies like the Federal Aviation Administration) and abroad.
What’s it take to saddle up at the National Test Pilot School. “Just bring money,” Brown said.