The Edwards AFB Air Show of 2006


Edwards-based B-1B Lancer

Late in October of 2006, the High Desert of California reverberated with the roar of jets in afterburner and piston engines growling with all of their might. The 2006 Edwards AFB Air Show went off without a hitch, with brilliant weather for flying and more than forty aircraft arrayed on the static display.

Edwards AFB is home to a number of interesting activities… the Air Force’s Test Pilot School, NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, and the U.S. Air Force’s Flight Test Center too. The “old” Air Force Flight Test Museum was ramping up their collection and displayed a few restored gems on static display. There are some very interesting active aircraft that are displayed each year the show occurs too. The event draws large crowds from the Antelope Valley and the Los Angeles basin to the south. 

Part of the 9-ship finale fly-by at the Edwards AFB 2006 show. The four “heavies” were behind this formation.

Highlights in 2006 included the nine-ship formation flight of all the models of Air Force test activity aircraft, from fighters and tankers to transports and bombers. A four-ship Air Force Heritage Flight, led by a P-51 and including an Edwards F-22, Seymour-Johnson F-15E Strike Eagle and a Davis-Monthan AFB-based A-10… the latter two were also the solo demonstration teams’ mounts as they were part of the weekend flying display.

A Lockheed U-2S arrives for the show, from nearby Palmdale, California.

A Lockheed Skunk Works F-117 “Stealth Fighter” was in the skies, and another Lockheed star – a U-2S, was on static display. The Dragon Lady arrived on the Friday prior to the show, and the pilot climbed out of the cockpit, surprisingly not in a pressure suit.  We were told that some flight testing doesn’t require one, and this jet was based just down the road at Palmdale… although the test program was based at Warner-Robins AFB in Georgia, thus the “WR” on the tail instead of the normal “BB” from Beale AFB.

The Tnunderbirds precision parking maneuver…

The Air Force’s Thunderbirds were a main attraction, and their teamwork was evident as they precisely parked their jets in parade-perfect fashion at the end of their Friday practice!

NASA’s F-15 Quiet Boom test bed on display.

On static, a NASA F-15 with the Quiet Boom test article was just one of the interesting non-flying aircraft. Another NASA aircraft, the Space Shuttle-carrying B-747 was parked, but without a Shuttle atop of it. Numerous West Coast warbirds, such as an SBD Dauntless, F8F Bearcat, F6F Hellcat, Beech 17 Staggerwing and a dozen more interesting pieces of history were also on hand. Also, TROUT99, a 412th Flight Test Squadron aircraft normally used by the Air Force Chief of Staff as their personal transport, as well as a test bed aircraft for the Air Force Flight Test Center, shone in the bright sunlight too. C-135C 61-2669 routinely used the call sign TROUT99, but was retired some eight months before the air show. It was turned over to the Flight Test Museum earlier this year. 

Here’s a selection of photos from this 2006 air show, enjoy!

Ken Kula

Assignment and Content Editor, writer and photographer A New Englander all of my life, I've lived in New Hampshire since 1981. My passion for all things aviation began at a very early age, and I coupled this with my interest of photography during college in the late 1970s. I spent 35 years in the air traffic control industry, and concurrently, enjoyed my aviation photography and writing adventures, which continue today. I've been quite fortunate to have been mentored by some generous and gifted individuals. I enjoy contributing to this great site and working with some very knowledgeable and equally passionate aviation followers.

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