Looking Back at the 2006 Edwards AFB Air Show

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. 

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 Skunk Works F-117 “Stealth Fighter” was in the skies, as were the Air Force’s Thunderbirds team.

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!

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