TULLAHOMA, TENN. – Five new AEDC Fellows were inducted during a banquet and ceremony June 23 at the Arnold Lakeside Center, Arnold Air Force Base.
The Arnold Community Council AEDC Fellows Committee, which runs the AEDC Fellows program, the highest honor for AEDC employees, has selected this year’s winners. Two of the new Fellows are Technical, two Craft and one is Lifetime Achievement.
Since the AEDC Fellows program began in 1989, 91 current or former AEDC personnel have been honored as AEDC Fellows in four categories: Technical (75), Craft (1), Lifetime Achievement (11) and Honorary (4).
The ACC AEDC Fellows Committee Chairman, AEDC Lifetime Achievement Fellow and former AEDC Commander, retired Maj. Gen. Mike Wiedemer, announced the new AEDC Fellows.
They are: former AEDC contractor employee Pete French of Manchester and Annette McCullough Painter of Manchester, employed by NAS, both new AEDC Craft Fellows.
Brent Bates of Tullahoma, employed by QuantiTech at AEDC, and the late Dr. E. Eugene “Gene” Callens, formerly of Tullahoma, who had been employed by the Arnold Research Organization and Calspan, are the new AEDC Technical Fellows.
Dave Minto is this year’s Lifetime Achievement Fellow. He retired from the AEDC 704th Test Group at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, in 2016.
Pete French worked at AEDC from 1957 to 1991. He progressed from instrumentation technician (IT), to IT supervisor and finally Instrumentation
on and Controls manager in the Engine Test Facility at Arnold.
He continually demonstrated technical, administrative and professional excellence throughout his career at Arnold. His ability to inspire teamwork among multiple trades, engineers and managers was particularly noteworthy.
During French’s tenure as a supervisor and manager, he had the lowest employee grievance rate at Arnold.
He was continually sought out by customer and facility engineers to determine how to fabricate and install new sensor and recording technologies. He was a meticulous mentor ensuring journeymen were trained prior to need.
He was a leader in cross-crafting to improve personnel competence and test productivity and was repeatedly selected to devise company wide-solutions to instrumentation challenges.
French made enduring contributions to AEDC and lasting process changes that created a customer focus that is still in effect today.
His effective and supportive management practices were developed through his early days as a preeminent instrument technician craftsman, groomed as a supervisor and finely tuned as a manager.
He earned the trust of the workforce and significantly enhanced technical excellence, union and management teaming, craft performance and productivity, and test product quality.
Annette McCullough Painter has worked at Arnold since 1989. She currently works for NAS and fabricates, calibrates and installs heat flux and temperature instrumentation in wind tunnel models tested in the von Kármán Gas Dynamics Test Facility (VKF), Tunnel 9, the Arc Heater Facility and other harsh simulated test environments.
She is recognized by industry users and technical peers as the leading authority on heat gauges and temperature sensors. Painter is the go-to person for planning, instrumentation and building complex wind tunnel models.
She has been directly responsible for improving the durability and functionality of temperature sensors that are continually required to shrink in size. She is adroit and meticulous in assembling the new 1/16th inch Schmidt-Boelter heat flux sensors that are one-third the size of the previously smallest 3/16th inch sensors.
Painter has a full understanding of how micro-miniature temperature sensors work and how to calibrate them. As a result she has been able to improve laboratory calibration procedures as well as data collection and recording speeds.
She was selected to install special thermocouples in the after burner liners of General Electric jet engines – her approach resulted in a 33 percent improvement in sensor survival rate.
She expanded her leadership role in the craft community by becoming the expert and liaison for employee medical benefits. Painter has advanced the state of the art in the application of heat transfer and temperature sensors in harsh environments and served the craft and human resource community as a medical benefits expert.
Brent Bates has worked at AEDC since 1977. He currently works for QuantiTech as a ground test facility engineer and analyst.
Bates is a national expert at modeling facilities to determine existing and needed capabilities. He has performed detailed analyses necessary to evaluate test facility performance, design modifications and solve test facility issues. His analyses have resulted in AEDC readiness to perform ground test missions to help the Department of Defense provide the warfighter with superior weapon systems.
He was first recognized as an innovative facility design engineer for his work on the J6 Rocket Test Cell diffuser design and operations.
His innovative and efficient designs are a product of an inquisitive nature and a strong desire to truly understand how ground test facilities operate from a hands-on perspective. This detailed understanding allowed him to simulate and model facility operations with such fidelity as to virtually test the sensitivity of operational procedure changes vice test cell modifications.
He was a pioneer in using personal computers to build mathematical models of test facilities. His modeling became progressively more sophisticated, permitting more facilities at AEDC to be modeled to the point that entire test complex interactions could be better understood, predicted and controlled.
Bates is a nationally recognized ground test facility engineering expert who has helped ensure the viability and productivity of AEDC’s ability to remain the world’s leading aerospace ground test complex.
Dr. E. Eugene “Gene” Callens (deceased) was employed by Arnold Research Organization and Calspan from 1968-1983.
He was responsible for all research and development and test programs in the Aeroballistic Branch of VKF overseeing approximately 150 significant national defense test and technology projects for the Armed Forces, NASA and the Defense Nuclear Agency.
He managed test technology and developed improvements for the Hypervelocity Range Track G and K, Impact Ranges S1 and S3 and the Impact and Acceleration Facility.
He authored and co-authored 19 technical papers and completed his doctorate degree at the University of Tennessee Space Institute on unique AEDC testing capabilities that he helped develop.
Callens stepped up to continuously maintain state-of-the-art test capabilities to meet increasing sophisticated test requirements to meet customer test data requirements.
He met all these goals and provided AEDC test customers with test data that was not available just a few years earlier.
Besides being a cutting edge innovator he was involved in writing technical papers to document test technology advancement and in the leadership of the Tennessee Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
He also presented lectures in specialized Short Courses in related testing technology at UTSI for eight years He was very involved in the local community serving in Boy Scout leadership roles mentoring youth, on the Tullahoma Board of Education and as a leader in his church.
After leaving AEDC for academia at Louisiana Tech University he continued to be a DOD and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, consultant and received United States and Canadian patents as the first inventor for development of an automated internal thread gaging system for Morton Thiokol, Inc.
Callens left a large impact on AEDC with test technology he developed and helped develop, still in use today and a positive impact from his community involvement.
Lifetime Achievement Fellow
Dave Minto retired as the Technical Director for the AEDC 704th Test Group at Holloman AFB, New Mexico, in 2016. He was assigned there for 31 of his 44 years of service to the United States Air Force and the Department of Defense.
Minto leveraged world class test facilities across the Air Force and DOD to the benefit of the tax payer, technology development and the warfighter.
He was responsible for integrating the financial and technical synergy of multiple system program offices and test facilities – saving development time and improving weapon system performance.
For example, he ensured customer tests at the AEDC G-range and the Holloman High Speed Test Track were integrated to reduce costs, risks and duration. In addition, he was a pivotal force in simplifying financial administration for multiple programs requiring similar simultaneous synergistic use of the same test facility or test facilities.
From 2003 to 2008, he worked with Air Force Test and Evaluation, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and congressional staffers drafting key amendments to congressional language that allowed Major Range Test and Facility Base (MRTFB) customers to get the benefit of new testing facilities, or newly modified facilities without an MRTFB using institutional funds to maintain the facility for new customers.
He was also responsible for significant upgrades to MRTFB equipment at Holloman and White Sands Missile Range that reduce the number of missile launches needed to ensure Missile Defense Agency system performance, saving $290 million.
Minto was a principle factor in the success of multiple, high-visibility and critical DOD programs by ensuring effective and efficient ground test of exceptionally complex aerospace systems.