An im­por­tant les­son in team­work

Antelope Valley Press - - Front Page - By GIAN­CARLO CASEM 412th Test Wing Pub­lic Af­fairs

ED­WARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif — Stu­dents at­tend­ing STARBASE re­ceived a les­son about Orange Flag and the im­por­tance of team­work and co­or­di­na­tion at Ed­wards Air Force Base on Dec. 10.

The Orange Flag ex­er­cise tests the in­ter­op­er­abil­ity of 24 dif­fer­ent air­craft from dif­fer­ent branches or home bases. The 412th Test Wing co­or­di­nates with other ser­vices and Air Force bases to con­duct the event.

“To­day we had Orange Flag go­ing on, which is an in­stru­mented test ex­er­cise here at Ed­wards that takes in joint play­ers from the Navy (at Naval Air Weapons Sta­tion) China Lake, and all across the coun­try from a va­ri­ety of play­ers,” Maj. Ben Gilliland, Orange Flag di­rec­tor, 411th Flight Test Squadron, said. “We brought Orange Flag and STARBASE to­gether to get kids in­ter­ested in science; teach them about team­work and test and how we have to work to­gether as a team in or­der to make our ex­per­i­ments hap­pen.”

STARBASE is STEM-based, Depart­ment of De­fense pro­gram that fa­mil­iar­izes ele­men­tary stu­dents from all back­grounds to the world of science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math­e­mat­ics. The pro­gram serves stu­dents from the base and also other lo­cal school dis­tricts to sup­port their stan­dards of learn­ing ob­jec­tives. Stu­dents learn about physics, aero­dy­nam­ics, nan­otech­nol­ogy, ro­bot­ics, nav­i­ga­tion and map­ping dur­ing their course­work.

Gilliland ex­plained how pi­lots, such as him­self, co­or­di­nate and nav­i­gate us­ing maps and GPS. Gilliland set up a ra­dio for the stu­dents to be able to com­mu­ni­cate with a fighter pi­lot. The stu­dents pro­vided the pi­lot the co­or­di­nates for the STARBASE build­ing and the pi­lots then at­tempted to hit su­per­sonic speeds above the co­or­di­nates.

“We taught the stu­dents about co­or­di­na­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and how it’s im­por­tant to make sure ev­ery­one is on the same page; so we looked in the Orange Flag co­or­di­na­tion card to see what fre­quen­cies ev­ery­one would be on,” Gilliland said. “We looked at our own co­or­di­nates here at STARBASE and passed those to the air­borne fighter. We got a po­si­tion up­date from the air­borne fighter and as they were fly­ing along, we timed, as they flew over based on com­mu­ni­ca­tion, when the sonic boom ac­tu­ally hit the ground.”

The lessons that the stu­dents learned from the Orange Flag ex­er­cise co­in­cided with some of the lessons taught at STARBASE, STARBASE In­struc­tor Made­line Greiner said.

“This re­ally cor­re­lated with all that we’ve talked about with flights and how they can go faster than the

speed of sound and to make that sonic boom,” she said. “They also learned about co­or­di­nates to­day which co­in­cides with a “fly on the ceil­ing” les­son that we do where it’s ba­si­cally like (the board game) Bat­tle­ship and they learned about or­dered pairs; lon­gi­tude and lat­i­tude.”

Ed­wards and STARBASE of­fers a unique pos­si­bil­ity for stu­dents to be vis­ited by the sub­ject mat­ter ex­perts in the STEM field. Stu­dents are able to learn about real-world ap­pli­ca­tions of the course­work they learn in class.

“The stu­dents re­ally learn best when they’re work­ing with ex­perts… that are ac­tu­ally in the field,” Greiner said. “They’re talk­ing to them and they’re see­ing that ‘maybe this is a field that I want to get into.’”

Pho­tos courtesy of Ed­wards Air Force Base

Maj. Ben Gilliland, Orange Flag di­rec­tor, 411th Flight Test Squadron, as­sists a STARBASE Ed­wards stu­dent on pro­vid­ing co­or­di­nates to an air­borne fighter pi­lot dur­ing an Orange Flag ex­er­cise at Ed­wards Air Force Base on Dec. 10.

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