By: Mark La Ciura
Even as a former employee, it will always be an interesting experience to visit Edwards Air Force Base.
I was recently invited for a VIP tour at Edwards, which was held to get the word out about funds needed to complete projects and the new museum outside the west gates of the base. Rex Moen is the force behind a new fundraising plan called the “Life Friends Campaign,” which is set to kick off May 1. Moen has been on the Flight Test Museum foundation Board of Directors for over 23 years. Through the efforts of the foundation, they have completed a concrete pad and some framing for the first large hangar. The total investment so far, from private donations, is about $3.5 million dollars.
The new site will include the Bob Hoover Library, Society of Test Pilots archives, STEM education center and more aircraft displays and exhibits.
The Flight Test Museum Foundation is on a continuing mission to collect, interpret, preserve and display the history of Edwards Air Force Base. Also to make improvements, complete new construction, exhibits, aircraft acquisition, restoration and STEM Education programs.
The STEM programs are high on this list because of the need for engineers at Edwards AFB. Maybe one of the best ways to accomplish this is by having kids walk through the museum and become engaged in these images of the past, present and future of aviation.
“This process has already proved to work by having young people walk through the original museum years ago and now they are working at Edwards,” said Museum Director George Welsh.
The foundation has a multi-phase plan in place to complete the new museum and bring more history and knowledge to the community. Construction, however, has been stalled until more funds can be raised.
Part of the tour was conducted by Flight Test Museum Director George Welsh and retired Vice Command of Edwards AFB Jimmy Doolittle III. If the name Doolittle hits a historical note for you, it should. General James Doolittle led and planned the attack on Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in WWII. It was called Doolittle’s Raid. This happens to be Jimmy Doolittle III, his great grandchild.
Jimmy Doolittle III is tied to Tehachapi as a glider tow plane pilot. If you take a ride at our Tehachapi glider-port, he may be the pilot ready to tow you out for a scenic ride in our beautiful valley.
If you would like to learn more about the Life Friends Campaign, contact Moen at (661) 972-4694 to find out how you can get involved with this campaign.
You can help spread the word. Edwards is also looking for volunteers with an aircraft or aviation background. But even if you don’t, there are ways you can help raise funds.
For more information about the Flight Test Museum Foundation visit http://www.flighttestmuseum.org/.
You can also contact the museum at email@example.com or (661) 277-8050.