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Center Conducts First Design of Experiments Course
Design of Experiments is a test process philosophy, collection of test matrix design templates and
a set of analysis methods the center has been implementing in various combined test forces.
By Lt. Col. Sandy Burr / Air Force Flight Test Center Public Affairs

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., July 6, 2006 – The Air Force Flight Test Center recently conducted its first Design of Experiments course to engineers assigned at Edwards. 

“The response was overwhelming,” said Dr. George Ka’iliwai, technical advisor and course instructor for the Air Force Flight Test Center. “We sent the public announcement describing the course out via e-mail, and 10 engineers signed up for the course within the first hour.”

Design of Experiments is a test process philosophy, collection of test matrix design templates and a set of analysis methods the center has been implementing in various combined test forces throughout the 412th Test Wing.

The course teaches engineers that test design is a science and not an art and further shows how engineers can base their test and evaluation decisions on mathematical fact rather than opinion.

"The course will help us send to the warfighter weapon systems we know are better with a tremendous amount of confidence."

Dr. George Ka’iliwai

“I’m excited about Design of Experiments,” Ka’iliwai said.  “We don’t want to deny the warfighter a better weapon system, but at the same time, we don’t want to send to the warfighter a degraded weapon system we think is better.”

“The course will help us send to the warfighter weapon systems we know are better with a tremendous amount of confidence,” he noted. “I’m not a ‘better, cheaper, faster’ person because I’ve always believed that we can achieve only two of the three at any given instant in time.”

“However, based upon what we’re seeing, Design of Experiments is a valuable tool, and I’m convinced we can do all three – more effective, more efficient and more cost effective testing – simultaneously,” Ka’iliwai explained.

See Caption.
Pat Dubria, 418th Flight Test Squadron chief engineer, assists J.T. Stevens at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. in launching foam balls from a "Statapult" - a tool that teaches students how to properly design tests and analyze the results. U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Stacy Garcia

“As with everything else we do here at Team Edwards putting this successful course together has been a team effort,” he emphasized.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Bryon McClain, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron operational test engineer developed and co-taught the course at the request of Ka’iliwai.

The course content was based on inputs from Ka’iliwai, Dr. Bill Kitto, 95th Communications Group and Greg Hutto, chief analyst and mathematician for the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

“Our engineers will have other opportunities to take this course,” Dr. Ka’iliwai said. “We are on a path to grow Design of Experiments mentors who will help us implement DOE center-wide.”

Design of Experiments is one of five initiatives the Air Force test and evaluation community is actively pursuing as part of Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century.
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