Sierra Lobo’s aircraft research, development and test support includes aircraft engine component, subsystem, and system level testing; aircraft system testing for performance and safety-of-flight, (including aerodynamic, aerothermal, and environmental testing of components), hypersonic engine and missile testing, stores separation simulations, and icing research.



Test Facilities Operations, and Maintenance, and Engineering (TFOME and TFOME II)

On TFOME II at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, (GRC), we currently support facilities that include hangar operations for experimental aircraft, wind tunnels, engine altitude chambers, engine component facilities, space simulation chambers, zero gravity facilities, instrumentation, materials and structures R&D laboratories, clean rooms, and rocket test facilities. Activities have included:

  • Technology development, verification & validation
  • Maintenance and modifications to avionics airframe and power plant hardware on experimental aircraft to maintain flight worthiness
  • Preoperational inspections for flight readiness on research equipped aircraft, engine run testing, and Very High Frequency (VHF) and satellite communication systems checkouts
  • Material testing of jet engine turbine blade materials at the Ballistic Impact Lab to determine the effects of ice and bird impacts
  • Created a secured radio and satellite communication system to test the vulnerability of communication paths and allow uninterrupted transmission of way points from a manned aircraft to one that was remotely piloted
  • On-the-ground and in-flight electrical load analysis of aircraft (i.e., all instrumentation, radios, flaps, lights, research power, and starter generators)

NASA GRC’s DeHaviland DHC-6 Twin Otter Aircraft flies into ice conditions to characterize the environment for ground-based simulation and measure performance changes.

Boundary Layer Ingestion graphical description. Credit: Don Foley. BLI Illustration: NASA /Lillian Gipson

The Icing Research Tunnel at NASA GRC duplicates icing conditions to test and study the effects of in-flight icing on full-size aircraft components and aircraft models.

Lockheed S3 Viking military aircraft used for studies of icing and cloud physics, ice detection and protection system development, and experimental studies.

NASA GRC’s Beachcraft T34 used as a research platform for photo chase, earth observation, and atmospheric sampling.












On TFOME I, we operated the Acoustical Testing Laboratory (ATL), which provided acoustic emission testing and low-noise design services. Our convertible hemi-anechoic test chamber had interior dimensions of 21′ by 17′ by 17′ (high) in anechoic configuration, which provided an ideal environment for developmental testing on small noise source components as well as full-scale verification testing of flight hardware.

  • Our team performed weather radar system T&E using a Lockheed S3 Viking military aircraft, outfitted as an experimental aircraft
  • We provided jet engine testing support to determine engine survivability under icing conditions at varying airspeeds and temperatures
  • Engineers and technicians at the GRC Icing Research Tunnel (IRT) conducted Airframe Icing T&E to support aircraft de-icing system development for numerous military and commercial aircraft
  • We performed MIL-STD-810 testing support at our space simulations chambers and R&D laboratories at GRC
  • We tailored testing to simulate real life environmental factors at our Aero-Acoustic Propulsion Laboratory, Icing Research Tunnel, Supersonic Wind Tunnel, Space Power Facility, Cryogenic Research Tank Facility, Spacecraft Propulsion Facility, and Hypersonic Tunnel Facility
  • As part of the TFOME contract, SLI staff were deployed to NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center to support the S3 Viking aircraft video positioning test program. We installed a camera on the S3 which was used to create topographical maps correlated to GPS coordinates and resulted in an alternate navigation capability in the event of loss of GPS signals


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Test, Planning, Evaluation, and Documentation (TPED)

At the U.S. Army’s Redstone Test Center (RTC), on our TPED contract, we supported the RTC mission to provide advanced testing of DoD weapon systems and components. Our dedicated staff made sure all programs provided the safest and most effective weapons systems possible to the soldiers in the field. Our staff brought broad knowledge of the aviation and missile systems and performed successfully for the entire length of the contract.

  • Performed stress testing on AH-64 gearhead components
  • Developed test procedures and instrumented aircraft to reproduce dynamic and vibration profiles in the laboratory that simulate what is experienced in flight
  • Supported test planning and management on numerous aviation system programs, performing the critical electromagnetic effects environment (E3) and environmental testing
  • Performed test design; conducted test facility, equipment, and instrumentation assessments; and provided test reports and evaluations
  • Provided support for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and Man and Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) test programs






Specific Projects included:

  • Modification and integration of the Hellfire M299 launchers for Predator, Reaper and Gray Eagle UASs, and the UH-58 Kiowa helicopter
  • Testing of the Army’s Tactical UAV Shadow, and its upgrades and enhancements
  • AH-64 parts fatigue testing and analysis in support of parts failure analysis on the aircraft
  • UH-60 Fiber Optic Gyro integration testing
  • Integration of the Army’s Blue Force Tracker System (BFT-7) into the UH-60 Command and Control aircraft
  • Integration and E3 testing for the Customs Border Protection and Coast Guard UH-60 helicopters
  • Integration and E3 testing of AN/APR-39 Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) and Common Missile Warning Systems (CMWS) into Army helicopter fleet
  • Test support for:  Encrypted Aviation Wireless Intercommunication System (EAWIS); APX -12 CXP System; External Stores Support System (ESSS) Rescue Hoist; Engine Electronic Control Unit (ECU); Star-SAFIRE (FLIR); OH-58 Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS); AH-64 Improved Target Acquisition System (ITAS); VADAR II [Ground Moving Target Indicators (MTI)]; and the De-ice Control Indicator Unit (DCIU)

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Center Maintenance, Operations and Engineering (CMOE)

At NASA Langley Research Center Sierra Lobo employees on our CMOE contract support research and development of various aircraft designs, and components and systems related to them. Our folks are responsible for test operations in various wind tunnels that span the entire flow regime from subsonic through hypersonic. While normally scaled models are the typical test article, full-scale flight worthy UAVs have also been tested. In addition, we support aircraft component and system level structural testing at the LaRC Landing Impact Research Facility (LandIR). Duties on this contract include:

  • Test Operations Management
  • Test Facility Maintenance & Coordination
  • Test Engineering
  • Mechanical, Electrical and Instrumentation Technician Support
  • Data Acquisition and Reduction
  • Data Quality Assurance
  • Automated Controls Engineering
  • Calibration/Metrology
  • Rigging

Marine Helicopter Crash Simulation – The fuselage is painted in black polka dots as part of a high speed photographic technique. Credit: NASA/David C. Bowman

OH-58F Wind Tunnel Testing. Credit: NASA

Researchers testing the “deployable energy absorber” using an Army helicopter. Credit: NASA

SLI supported a simulated crash to test emergency locator transmitters. Credit: NASA

Credit: NASA









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Test Operations Sustainment (TOS)

On the TOS contract at Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC), Sierra Lobo, teamed with Bechtel National, Inc. and GP Strategies Corporation, performs work supporting unique test operations and sustainment of the more than $11 billion worth of infrastructure at the world’s largest and most complex flight simulation test and evaluation complex. We also support testing at AEDC remotes sites comprised of the Hypervelocity Wind Tunnel 9 in Maryland and the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex in California. Some of our support areas include:

  • Simulated altitude T&E of jet engines
  • Turbine Engine Ram / Sea Level Ground T&E testing of jet engines
  • Propulsion wind tunnel ground T&E including hypersonic systems
  • High mach number ground T&E including simulated altitude testing of supersonic jet engines
  • Sensor ground T&E testing of components and systems performance in space environments
  • Multi-spectral measurement & analysis of signal signatures of aircraft

The F135 Engine for the F-35 Undergoing Testing in Test Cell J-2

Full-Scale F/A-18 Hornet at High Angle-of-Attack

UH-60 Individual Blade Control Test on the Large Rotor Test Apparatus. Credit: NASA/ARMY

Computed Flow Field About the Standard Check Model Configuration