Photo by Bobbi Zapka

Students in the Test Management Program at the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB, California, completed a project in late March called BEAR CLAW, for Basic Envelope Air Refueling Control Laws, with the VISTA NF-16 research aircraft. This project was designed to obtain preliminary data to ultimately lead to an unmanned aerial vehicle conducting air-to-air refueling with a tanker. A joint project between two Air Force Research Laboratory directorates, the BEAR CLAW test team used the Variable In-flight Stability Test Aircraft, or VISTA, NF-16 to simulate a UAV. Although the NF-16 can be remotely piloted, this phase of the testing required one of the project team members to pilot the aircraft to collect data.