F-16 Joint Test Force @ Edwards, Jan '78 to Apr '79
Gary Roberts, MSgt, USAF (Ret),
Oct 27, 2010 - 04:00 AM
I remember you!
I was an Egress Tech, SSgt, when I was assigned to the JTF. Worked ot of those two hangars separated by a GD break room, etc.
I believe all of the jets, A1 through A5 and the B models, had ACES II seats by then. Like you said, we had to take everything apart and see if we could put them back together with draft T.O.s or engineering drawings. What were they thinking? Some of the steps were absolutely impossible!
I went to Panama and Alaska on the climatic flight tests -- if I remember correctly, we got back from Panama just before x-mas '78 and left for Alaska not long after x-mas -- talk about jumping from the fire to the freezer!
Remember the "Alaskan Horney Critter" the locals stenciled on the tail (in RED) after we tagged several of their jets??? LOL... Remember the F-4 and F-16 taking off together (F-4 had a head start) and the F-16 was able to take off, do a loop and and come back on the tail of the F-4 while it was still climbing out? I think Lt Col Tuck McAtee (or was it Maj Gary Matthews?) was flying that day...
After coming back to Edwards I was selected to participate in a program called "Participation with Industry" or PWI, where I was actually assigned as an Assistant Crew Chief on "B1" # 75-0751, working for a General Dynamics Crew Chief! Man, what an experience! I remember its intake cover had "SOSSF" stenciled on it (Stamp Out Single Seat Fighters).
Edwards was one of the two best assignments I ever had!
I cross-trained into computer programming in Apr '79 and returned to Edwards, working in Ridley Mission Control Center during the Cruise Missile fly-offs and the first two Space Shuttle missions. I'll always cherish my assignment to Edwards!