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Flight Operations

NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, conducts high-risk flight research and testing on modified and unique research vehicles and systems.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ 

An aircraft is towed at sunset.

Focus Areas

The Flight Operations directorate manages and provides technical direction for all center flight operations and flight support activities.

Flight Crew

Highly experienced team has flown military and civilian aircraft.

Aircraft Maintenance

Ensuring Armstrong crew and aircraft function safely and efficiently.

Derek Abramson and Robert Jensen assemble pieces of the HQ-90.

Operations Engineering

Ensuring an aircraft is safe to fly is the core function of this team.

Featured Story

Forget Movie Magic, NASA Armstrong has the Real Thing

Early in the blockbuster movie “Top Gun: Maverick,” U.S. Navy Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell takes the secret hypersonic “Darkstar” airplane…

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Life Support

Maintaining aircrew safety systems and training

Armstrong's Life Support Office is responsible for the development, testing, and maintenance of life support systems and performs inspections, maintenance, and services for aircraft flight equipment.

These systems include maintaining ejection seats, aircraft oxygen systems, pressure suits, flight equipment and pyrotechnics. The office staff also conducts aircrew training in the use of life support and emergency escape systems.

Learn More About the Life Support Office about Maintaining aircrew safety systems and training
Pilot sits in a NASA aircraft with a man watching him take a breathing test.
Phillip Wellner from Life Support conducts a spirometry test on NASA pilot Nils Larson before a Pilot Breathing Assessment flight at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California, in 2019. This test measures the volume of air inspired and expired by the lungs and was conducted before and after many flights.
NASA/Carla Thomas

Aircraft Flown at Armstrong

For more than seven decades, Armstrong's pilots have flown everything from light aircraft to high-speed jets and rocket-powered airplanes.

Learn More About Our Aircraft about Aircraft Flown at Armstrong
Front view of the F/A-18 research aircraft on the ground.