History

An Extraordinary Past, Present—and Future.

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and future flight advances yet to be discovered—they are all being imagined, built, tested and refined every day at Edwards Air Force Base. Learn about our history of achievements and about the engineering history we continue to make today.

History at a Glance
The 1930s – Airmen Arrive 
  • September 1933: The Muroc Bombing and Gunnery Range is established by Lt. Col. H.H. “Hap” Arnold
  • Throughout the years of World War II, B-24s and P-36s thunder through the Muroc skies
The 1940s – Strange Shapes in the Sky
  • October 1, 1942: The Bell XP-59A Aircomet lifts off. The turbojet revolution arrives
  • During the postwar years, America’s first generation of jets, both Air Force and Navy, undergo testing at Muroc
  • October 14, 1947, Captain Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager flies on the Bell X-1 and becomes the first human to exceed the speed of sound
  • December 1949: Muroc is renamed Edwards Air Force Base in honor of Capt. Glen W. Edwards
The 1950s – The Golden Age of Flight Test
  • June 25, 1951: The base test community is designated the U.S. Air Force Test Center
  • November 20, 1951: Scott Crossfield becomes the first man to reach Mach 2—less than a month later, Major Chuck Yeager sets a new record of Mach 2.44 (1,650 mph)
  • September 1956: Captain Iven Kincheloe becomes the first man to soar above 100,000 feet
  • September 27, 1956: Captain Mel Apt becomes the first human to exceed Mach 3
The 1960s – The Space Age
  • The X-15 becomes the first, and only, airplane to fly in near space
  • The highly modified X-15A-2 reaches a top speed of Mach 6.72 (4,520 mph), which remains the highest speed ever to be attained by an airplane
  • The mysterious Blackbird, described as the first-generation “stealth” aircraft, routinely cruises at speeds in excess of Mach 3 and at altitudes well above 80,000 feet

Modern Skies

  • The 1970s: New aircraft types arise: the F-15 Eagle, the single engine F-16 Falcon, and the B-1 Lancer
  • 1978 and 1979: Testing leads to the development of the F-117A Nighthawk—the stealth revolution is underway
  • 10:20 a.m., April 14, 1981: The wheels of the Space Shuttle Columbia touch down at Edwards. The era of reusable space vehicles has dawned
  • The B-2 Spirit, representing third-generation stealth technology, is introduced in the late 1980’s
  • The F-22 became the first airplane to blend stealth with agility and high-speed supersonic cruise capability
  • February 1998: The Global Hawk, an unmanned aerial vehicle later used in Afghanistan, makes its first flight at Edwards
  • October 2000: The X-35A and the X-32A, competing models for the Joint Strike Fighter program (JSF), make their test flights
Today
  • The Joint Strike Fighter is testing all of its systems and technologies to ready it for final deployment
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are stretching remote flight capabilities to previously unimagined levels
  • Sensor-fusion technologies are driving new breakthroughs
  • The next generation of yet-to-be-revealed technologies is destined for Edwards—we’ll tell you more when you get here

Base Amenities

When you come to Edwards Air Force Base you don’t just become a part of a world-renown engineering center—you become a member of a tight-knit community who all share your same passions and goals. Edwards has the infrastructure, facilities, recreation, culture and amenities that provide you with every thing you, and your family, need. And, some of the best natural attractions and vacation destinations in the nation are within easy reach of the base.
Learn what makes Edwards Air Force Base such a special place to live and work by reviewing our base attractions.

Base Facilities

Community Features

Sports & Recreation

Family & Education

Dining

Area Information

Benefits

You’re not just any engineer.

You choose to tackle some of the most advanced engineering challenges in the world of aviation to help secure our nation’s lead in aerospace technology and protect our nation. You deserve more than just the usual benefits. You deserve benefits that are truly singular—the kind you’ll only find at Edwards.

  • Competitive Salaries
  • Annual Bonuses
  • Time Off and Monetary Awards
  • Paid Overtime and Compensatory Time
  • Vacation Days
  • 13 Sick Days Per Year
  • 10 Holidays Per Year
  • Alternate Work Schedules and Flex-Time
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Health/Dental/Vision with a Choice of Health Plans
  • 401(k)
  • Pension Plan
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Civilian Welfare Council
  • Wellness Program
  • Life Insurance
  • Paid Sabbatical
  • Continuing Education
  • Tuition Assistance
  • Family Support Center
  • Two Gyms on Base
  • Relocation Assistance

These are just the employment benefits you will experience. There are many advantages beyond these, such as on-base amenities and services that make your life easier and richer. And our location—it’s close to everything you want to do and everywhere you want to go.

Airmanship Program

Through Edwards’ Airmanship Program engineers can get practical experience in the flight environment and begin work toward a private pilot’s license. Training is provided at no cost and flights are conducted on base at the Aero Club, where you will fly general aviation aircraft with certified instructors.

Program Summary

Local Area Orientation Flight
You will complete a local area orientation, flown by a certified pilot, to increase your knowledge of Edwards AFB, its facilities and complexes, and its airfield operations. The orientation flight lasts approximately one hour. Before the flight, you will receive a briefing from your orientation flight pilot.

Private Pilot Ground School
The objective is to increase your practical knowledge of aerodynamics, airfield operations, navigation, weather, and physiology. Private Pilot Ground School is a multi-media, self-taught, computer-based curriculum completed over 10 weeks.

Test Demonstration Flight 
The objective of this flight, flown by your instructor, is to provide you with in-flight experience regarding the execution of typical avionics and flight dynamics tests. (The Local Area Orientation Flight must be completed prior to this test demonstration flight.)

FAA Instrument Ground School 
In Ground School, you will further increase your practical knowledge of airmanship relative to avionics systems and flight with an emphasis on instrument conditions. (FAA Private Pilot Ground School or the FAA Private Pilot Airman Knowledge Test must be passed prior to this training.) Instrument Ground School is a multi-media, self-taught, computer-based curriculum completed over 12 weeks.

FAA Pre-Solo Flight Training

The objective is to increase your knowledge of the cockpit environment and pilot workload. You will learn how to apply knowledge gained in FAA Private Pilot Ground School. (FAA Private Pilot Ground School must be completed prior to this flight training.) Your Pre-Solo Flight Training will be conducted at the Edwards Aero Club and will be taught by FAA certified flight instructors. The curriculum consists of approximately five flights (four day flights and one night flight), which you will complete over a three-month period.

Flight 1 Objectives: Become familiar with the training airplane and its systems. Learn about certificates, documents, and checklists. Understand how to conduct the necessary preflight activities. Learn about the functions of the flight controls, and how they are used to maintain specific attitudes. Gain an understanding of preflight preparation and procedures.

Flight 2 Objectives: Review preflight activities, ground operations, and attitude control during basic maneuvers using visual references. Emphasize correct procedures for air and ground operations.

Flight 3 Objectives: Review airspeed control during basic maneuvers and traffic pattern operations. Introduce stalls from various flight attitudes to increase understanding of airplane control during normal and critical flight conditions. Introduce attitude control by instrument references. Emphasize proper execution of the basic maneuvers and procedures learned so far. Introduce hand-held data recording on a kneeboard such as airspeed, altitude and engine RPM during basic maneuvers.

 Flight 4 Objectives: Develop ability to recognize and recover from stalls. Introduce secondary, accelerated maneuver, crossed-controlled, and elevator trim stalls. Introduce emergency procedures and practice hand-held data recording during advanced maneuvers. Emphasize correct procedures for steep turns, slow flight, stalls and stall recovery.

Flight 5 (Night) Objectives: Introduce the special operational considerations associated with night flying. Stress the importance of instrument references for maintaining attitude. Emphasize the physiological factors and additional planning associated with the night environment.