The Air Force Flight Test Museum at Edwards AFB, Calif., recently initiated an “Adopt-a-Plane” program that allows volunteers to help preserve the museum’s aircraft so that they are looking their finest for the thousands of annual visitors to the place. “The Adopt-a-Plane program will benefit us greatly” since the museum has more than 80 aircraft, but only two full-time employees for their upkeep, said George Welsh, the museum’s director, in Edwards’ Nov 28 release. Members of the Air Force Test Pilot School’s Class 12B became the first to participate by adopting the museum’s SR-71 Blackbird and starting to clean it on Nov. 17, states the release. “Not only does this give us a chance to help out, but it also gives us a chance to get up close to the jet—to touch and feel it and see what it’s like,” said Maj. Martin Van De Pol of Class 12B. These airmen will also be responsible for light maintenance such as reapplying insignias, fixing flat tires, and keeping birds out of the SR-71. Adopt-a-Plane volunteers may participate as much or as little as they would like. (Edwards report by Laura Mowry)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.