Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.

Solving problems begins with an idea. Having resources to nurture those ideas and explore them can grow new, innovative creations to further the Air Force’s mission.

The 1st Fighter Wing at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, now has an innovation lab where Airmen can experiment, build and explore new ideas.

U.S. Air Force Col. David Lopez, 1st Fighter Wing commander, attended the opening ceremony Dec. 17, 2019 at JBLE.

“This is about providing Airmen the resources they need to bring their ideas to fruition,” said U.S. Air Force Major Brian Bascuzzi, chief of innovation for the 1 FW. “This is the ultimate sandbox for them to come up with these prototypes.”

The leadership of the 1 FW was proud to open the lab to the Airmen of the 1 FW and JBLE as a whole.

“We’re excited to have gotten to this point, to have a dedicated space that helps people get out of their workspaces and think outside the box,” Bascuzzi said. “Now that it is open for good, I’m excited to see what people come up with.”

Innovation or “spark” cells are the Air Force’s way of providing resources and space for Airmen to use their ingenuity to creatively solve problems.

Tech. Sgt. Daniel Caban, 1 FW, created a removable intake cover for the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor, making it the first major innovation created at JBLE with the spark cell.

“The leadership here made the innovation lab happen, my product was just one of the first ideas,” Caban said.

The lab is equipped with 3D printers, wires, tools and many other items useful for creating prototypes.

“This is about empowering Airmen to create products that will improve everyday operations within the Air Force,” Bascuzzi said.

According to Bascuzzi, the lab has already received interest from many Airmen and they hope to increase participation by offering workshops for various processes such as 3D scanning.

“The readiness enhancement of products, such as Caban’s, impacts the mission tremendously,” Bascuzzi said. “That is exactly the type of project that we were hoping for when we kicked off the innovation cell.”

The 1 FW hopes that Airmen will use the lab to bring their ideas to life to be able to improve processes within the workplace and mission lethality.

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