At the 50th annual Society of Experimental Test Pilots bash, Skypark resident Terry Tomeny and alumnus Norm Howell (pictured, left) received major awards for their aerospace accomplishments. Their stories as published in the Antelope Valley Press:
“Terry Tomeny was presented the prestigious James H. Doolittle award for his work in leading several flight test organizations over the years, most recently the successful Federal Aviation Administration certification of the Eclipse 500 very light jet.
The Doolittle Award is presented each year in recognition of outstanding technical management or engineering achievement in aerospace technology by a member of the society.
Tomeny was director of the C-17 Combined Test Force at Edwards during the aircraft's development and later served as commander of the 412th Operations Group there. He was the mission/avionics flight test manager on the F-22 program and most recently served as director of engineering for the Eclipse 500 very light jet certification.
The Eclipse program, entering a new category of private jet aircraft, won the 2005 Collier Trophy for leadership, innovation and advancement of general aviation.
According to the award citation, Tomeny's "vast flight test experience at every level, with progressively increasing responsibility, prepared him to take on the ultimate flight test management leadership challenge: the assembly of a flight test team and the development and implementation of flight test processes leading to the certification - against all odds - of a revolutionary, all-new (very light jet) aircraft."
Under Tomeny's leadership, the program went from one prototype aircraft with just over 13 flight hours to four test aircraft with 1,800 flight hours in 18 months.
"Terry successfully changed the chemistry and attitude of the flight test organization from a very conservative, risk avoidance approach to an organization with a 'can-do' attitude that assesses and manages acceptable risk," the citation read.
The Kincheloe award is named in memory of a pioneering Air Force test pilot who died in an F-104 crash at Edwards in 1958. It is a prestigious honor for a test pilot acknowledged for outstanding contributions to developmental flight test for a specific project.
The damaged C-17 was temporarily repaired in Afghanistan by Air Force and Boeing personnel. Because the temporary repairs resulted in numerous limitations to the aircraft's performance, the recovery flights to bring the aircraft stateside qualified as test flights.
A Boeing aircrew, led by Howell, flew the damaged C-17 from Afghanistan to the production facility in Long Beach over the course of five days. The recovery flight included stops in Qatar, Sicily, the Azores and Charleston, S.C.
"A combination of technical know-how and inventiveness on the part of the maintenance team, rapid and sound engineering judgment on the part of the various discipline engineers and aircrew experience, skill and rigorous risk management before and during the flights ensured a safe and incident-free recovery mission," the award citation read.
Howell also was mission commander for the first two drop tests of an inert rocket test article as part of a program to develop a space-launch vehicle deployed from a C-17.
The test flights, from Edwards, were 100% successful and the first flight was nominated by Air Force Materiel Command for the most meritorious flight of the year.”