Book Review: Edwards AFB: Open House at the USAF Flight Test Center 1957-1966

Edwards AFB has been at the center of American military flight testing since the days when it was Muroc Army Air Field, and some of the most unusual and exotic aircraft ever flown have operated from Edwards runways. For years, author Robert D. Archer attended the open houses at Edwards, venturing over the Santa Monica Mountains and into desert as early as possible to beat both the heat and crowds. His efforts at photographically documenting these events paid off handsomely in the form of this volume, with over 600 color photographs.

The decade that the book covers was a time of transition – in the beginning, natural metal finishes ruled the day, and there are even some vestiges of the Muroc/Edward’s early postwar heyday – a B-29 drop ship and pre-Century Series fighters. Towards the end, the fighting in Southeast Asia was underway, and camouflage was starting to make appearances at Edwards. And in between those extremes, we get to see all manner of research aircraft, transports, recon types, fighters, bombers, and even a few commercial types. Most highly recommended!