USAF Launches Two New Programs To Attract UAV Pilots | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Airborne On ANN

Airborne 05.23.16

Airborne 05.24.16

Airborne 05.25.16

Airborne 05.26.16

Airborne 05.27.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 05.23.16

Airborne 05.24.16

Airborne 05.25.16

Airborne 05.26.16

Airborne 05.27.16

AEA2016 LIVE Aero-TV: 04/27-0830ET, 04/28-1400ET, 04/29-1100ET

Sun 'n Fun 2016 Innovation Preview on Vimeo!

Sun 'n Fun 2016 Innovation Preview on YouTube!

Fri, Oct 24, 2008

USAF Launches Two New Programs To Attract UAV Pilots

Specialized Program Wants Candidates With No Military Flight Experience

The urgent need for more personnel capable of operating unmanned aerial vehicles has led the US Air Force to launch two new training programs... including one bound to raise eyebrows in the fighter pilot community.

The Associated Press reports an experimental program aims to train as many as 1,100 new pilots to operate UAVs over Iraq and Afghanistan. To accommodate so many trainees, those personnel will be trained only in the basics of operating small aircraft; they won't need to meet the far more rigorous requirements that pilots of manned fighter aircraft must go through.

For example, UAV pilots would not need to meet height or vision requirements... nor would they be necessarily disqualified from service for physical conditions that would inhibit them from operating high-performance aircraft, such as the inability to fly at high altitudes.

Col. Curt Sheldon, assistant to the director of air operations for UAS issues, says Air Force officials are seeking up to 20 captains with four to six years of experience to volunteer for the unmanned aircraft systems beta test program. Qualified candidates may have civilian flight experience, but no military pilot training.

After nine months of UAV-specific training, graduates of the program would earn their "wings," so to speak... though only on UAVs.

To date, the US Air Force has only recruited experienced pilots of manned fighter aircraft -- those with at least one tour of duty -- to fly UAVs... a process that has slowed implementation of UAV deployment. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has criticized the USAF for its more deliberate pace.

Sheldon admits more pilots are needed to fill out the Air Force's goal of implementing 50 UAV combat patrols, 24 hours a day, by September 2011. Thirty such patrols now operate, largely over Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I don't know that you could ever get (a drone) to everybody who wants one," Sheldon said. "I believe it is virtually insatiable. We are pedaling fast, we are working hard to meet that need."

As ANN reported last month, the experimental program will run concurrently with the Air Force's efforts to ramp up its efforts to retrain fighter pilots to operate unmanned aerial vehicles. Eventually, the Air Force hopes to send as many as 100 experienced pilots through the drone program per year, through 2011.

"The pipeline that produces manned operators is full," Sheldon added. "We're pushing them through there as fast as we can."

Sheldon downplays the notion that UAV-only pilots would be less-qualified than their brethren coming out of the fighter corps. He notes it isn't particularly difficult to fly an F-16 from one spot to another; the finesse comes in learning how to deploy weapons on-target.

"It's not particularly difficult to fly a (drone) from point A to point B," said Sheldon. "It is challenging to fly it in a combat environment, coordinating with a guy on the ground who wants you to hit a target over here that's got (friendly) folks only 50 meters from it."

FMI: www.af.mil

Advertisement

More News

Airborne 05.27.16: More MH370 Debris, Airport 4 Sale, Hurricane Hunters

Also: PWC PW307D, Icon Scandal, Memorial Day, IASO, Nat'l Warplane Museum, Gogo Cloud, Orbital ATK, Honor Flight Austin The Australia's Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, D>[...]

Airborne 05.26.16: Icon Flaming Out, Airbus Heli-Patent, UAV Registry

Also: TSA Dust-Up, Honor Flight, The API -- What’s This ALL About?, EASA Cert's G650ER, First E190-E2, DiCaprio BizJet, WingX Pro7, BASE Jump Tragedy Late Wednesday, Icon fin>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (05.28.16)

Open or Close an Airport or Runway Before opening or closing an airport or runway, airport sponsors should find out the necessary steps and contact their nearest FAA District or Re>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (05.28.16): Runway Entrance Lights (REL)

An array of red lights which include the first light at the hold line followed by a series of evenly spaced lights to the runway edge aligned with the taxiway centerline.>[...]

Aero-News: Quote Of The Day (05.28.16)

“This is an important outreach mission to educate the public, especially the children who will take the preparedness message back to their families.” Source: Col. Frank>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus



Advertisement

Advertisement

Podcasts

Advertisement

© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC