Electro-optics Flight Test Engineer | Air Force Test Center

Date Posted: 
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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Position Location: 
Edwards Air Force Base, CA
Job Description: 

Company Overview:

For more than 70 years, Edwards Air Force Base -- home of the Air Force Test Center (AFTC) -- has been the location of more major milestones in flight than any other place on earth. Covering nearly 301,000 acres, Edwards is located in the Mojave Desert, adjacent to the largest dry lakebed in North America -- Rogers Dry Lake.

The AFTC assists in the Air Force's overall mission, defending the United States and protecting its interests through aerospace power, by ensuring current and future airmen have proven equipment and battle-ready weapons systems when operating in harm's way.

The AFTC is the Air Force Materiel Command center of excellence for research, development, and test and evaluation of aerospace systems for the United States and its allies. To support testing, the AFTC operates the Edwards Flight Test Range, which is comprised of 20,000 square miles of airspace, including three supersonic corridors and four aircraft spin areas. Besides flight test capabilities, Edwards has an array of ground test facilities. One of these facilities, the massive Benefield Anechoic Facility, allows for complete testing of a fully integrated avionics suite in a simulated flight environment, including electronic threats and computer software checkout.

The AFTC is hiring top engineers to test the most advanced technology in the world. Test the future as a federal employee now with competitive performance based salaries and recruitment bonuses. The 775th Test Squadron, which falls under the AFTC, specifically employs engineers who specialize in electro-optics, RADAR, data-links, communications, navigation, weapons and more. 

Job Title:

Electro-optics Flight Test Engineer

Job Description:

Electro-optics Flight Test Engineers are involved in testing cutting edge advanced electro-optics, infrared and laser sensors as well as directed energy technology. If hired, the applicant will join the civilian workforce of the Air Force Test Center (AFTC) located at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Engineers working for the AFTC are currently involved in testing various aircraft and systems for the Air Force. The aircraft currently under test include the F-16 Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III, RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS and many more. The electro-optics systems currently under test include the SNIPER and LITENING advanced targeting pods, the ROVER portable video downlink system, F-35 Electro-optical Targeting System (EOTS) and Distributed Aperture System (DAS), RQ-4 MS-177 multi-spectral sensor, Infrared Search and Track sensors, helmet mounted cuing systems, tanker remote vision systems and various other systems.

While employed by the AFTC, engineers receive the best training available and during the first year of employment are assigned a mentor. Engineers will learn to perform/master some or all of the following tasks:

A) Research the system under test.

B) Author test plans, safety packages, test reports, and flight cards.

C) Perform ground tests while sitting in the aircraft

D) Learn specific aircraft flight characteristics via high fidelity aircraft simulators (think video games on steroids)

E) Conduct and/or monitor flight test missions from a mission control room (think Apollo 11)

F) Participate in career specific and career broadening training

G) Travel in the course of their duties

H) Work with contractors, military personnel, and other government employees to develop the most efficient and effective test procedures and products

I) Develop/operate custom data analysis tools, primarily in MatLab and Python, to analyze the data collected on test flights

J) Become familiar with and use statistics for data collection, analysis, inference and summaries

K) Report on results

This position is only open to US citizens and is geared more towards engineers with degrees in Optical, Electrical, Computer or Systems Engineering.  Aerospace, Mechanical and Materials Science Engineering majors will be considered if they have aviation and/or military interest or background and are also interested in working with avionics and sensors.

This position consists of testing contractor designed and manufactured systems (black boxes). There is very little design work; the only design involved is to design the test or to design the tool to analyze the data gathered from the test. The advantage is working with the system as integrated on its host aircraft as a near end-product. This results in a great deal of interaction with aircrew and learning about how the system is used operationally. Our engineers are challenged with a great deal of responsibility early on including understanding the system and its host aircraft, optical physics, and its requirements/specifications, designing a test within the trade space/constraints, deciding how to test and evaluate, analyzing the data and reporting on the results. If you like a challenge and want to be on the cutting edge of aviation and optical systems, then the AFTC is the place for you. US citizenship is required.



Ronald J Hardgrove III
Flight Chief,
Electro-optics/Infrared/Lasers/Directed Energy
Department of the Air Force
(661) 277-1038
307 East Popson Ave.
Edwards AFB