November 29, 1943: 412th Fighter Group Call Flight Test Base Home

  • Published
  • US Army Air Forces

The 412th Fighter Group was activated by Fourth Air Force and temporarily assigned to the Flight Test Base. Capt Brunner R. Coke was named initial commander. The mission of the 412th was to prepare itself to be the first operational jet fighter group in the Army Air Forces. A large part of its job was to retrain its own pilots from conventional (propeller) to the new jet aircraft, and to assist other pilots and groups as necessary. While it was gradually accumulating personnel strength and jet aircraft of its own, its pilots contributed to the accelerated service tests of the P-59 and the tactical testing of both the P‑59 and the P-80 types.

412th Operations Group (412 OG)

There are eight flight test squadrons with as many as 20 aircraft assigned to each. The aircraft are grouped by mission
Global Power (fighters and bombers)
411th Flight Test Squadron: (F-22)
416th Flight Test Squadron: (F-16)
419th Flight Test Squadron: (B-52H, B-1, B-2)
445th Flight Test Squadron: (Initial Flight Test Operations, T-38)
461st Flight Test Squadron: (F-35 Lightning II)
Global Reach (transport)
418th Flight Test Squadron: (C-130 and special operations variants; CV-22; KC-135 and special variants, KC-135 Speckled Trout, KC-46 Pegasus)
Global Vigilance (unmanned)
452nd Flight Test Squadron: (RQ-4)
Flying units under the Operations Group are called flight test squadrons and the squadron commander also usually fulfills the role of Combined Test Force, or CTF, Director.  The CTF is an organizational construct that brings together the government developmental test and evaluation personnel (i.e., military personnel and government civilians and support contractors), the operational testers or representatives of the warfighters who will eventually employ the aerospace system in combat, and the contractors who develop and test the aerospace system.  Members of the CTF formulate the test program, develop the criteria for flight test missions, execute flight test missions, analyze data from the test flights and report on the results. The CTF military personnel, government civilians, and contractors all work together as a team. This concept enables a cheaper, faster, and more effective test program and produces a more effective aerospace system for the warfighter.  Risk is an accepted component of flight testing, but Edwards maintains a stellar safety record due to Edwards' benchmark flight test safety processes. The AFTC's mission focuses on Developmental Test and Evaluation which is the process used to identify risks that need to be reduced or eliminated before fielding new systems. As DT&E is accomplished, aircraft systems transition to Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, or IOT&E where the aircraft are evaluated for combat effectiveness and suitability for an intended mission.

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