On 12th October 2022, the 412th Test Wing performed the so-called STEM flyover over the greater Antelope Valley in California, USA. The flight was conducted in cooperation with NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, on the eve of 2022 Aerospace valley air show.
STEM is a common abbreviation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as subjects of study. And exactly schools located in the Antelope Valley and around the Edwards Air Force Base were the subjects the abovementioned flyover was intended for.
In coordination with NASA, the 412th TW prepared a set of lessons introducing the world of flight tests to elementary and middle school level. Video materials related to flight test engineering, mid-air collision avoidance, supersonic flights and flight safety are available on the Edwards AFB web site. They can be downloaded and used during the STEM classes, together with stories told by the 412th TW personnel and using Quesst Supersonic STEM Toolkit.
The main goal of performing the flyover was to provide students of over fifty schools located in the Antelope Valley a visible representation of the aforementioned lesson plans. In addition, while the students were watching the aircraft over their head, crews of the 412th TW had just another opportunity to train their skills in formation flying and getting on target at scheduled time.
Due to its long history of aviation development, that started there over a hundred years ago, the Southern California and especially the Antelope Valley is often called an America´s Aerospace Valley. The area is known from companies such as Northrop Grumman or Lockheed Martin, as well as the Edwards AFB, the USAF Plant 42 and NASA Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center.
According to the 412th Test Wing web site, the unit maintains and flies an average of 90 aircraft with upwards of 30 different aircraft designs and performs over 7,400 missions on the annual basis.
Cover photo: F-35 Lighitning II assigned to the 412th Test Wing is performing the STEM flyover over California, 12 Oct 2022 (USAF photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Dyer). All photos © U.S. Department of Defence (DoD). DoD information materials were used, in compliance with Public Domain licence. The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.