It used to be the airmen controlling drones were considered ?pilot-wannabes? in the Air Force, but the Air Force is currently looking to fill 300 military jobs for drone pilots, making the position more desirable. Like fighter pilots, drone pilots direct the drones over battlefields to support US troops in Afghanistan, listening for the commanders and waiting for instructions to fire ? but they do it from locations thousands of miles away from the action via computer screens, joysticks and headphones.
Even as US troops begin to withdraw from Afghanistan there is a plan to increase the number of drones in the US Military fleet in order to meet surveillance, intelligence and targeting needs for US commanders in South America, the Pacific and Africa. Drones have other uses beyond combat which further increases the demand for drone pilots in the Air Force.
Drone pilots are responsible for taking out the al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen and Abu Yahya al-Libi in Pakistan, which has led to an increase of airmen choosing military jobs in the field of drone pilots. Pilots are considering drones as the future method for air combat, and there is a current shortfall of more than 300 drone pilots in the US Military as unmanned aircraft become more popular. Previously, fighter pilots had to be forced into drone pilot positions to meet the increased need for drone pilots. The system that forced drone pilot military job assignments on fighter pilots has been replaced with a new system that creates an entirely new career path to attract drone pilots into the training pipeline. The Air Force also asked 500 of the airmen who were moved into drone pilot assignments if they would like to remain drone pilots and 412 of them volunteered ? giving a promising outlook to the growth of this career specialty in the Air Force.
Click here if you would like more information about military jobs and to see if you qualify.
Military Jobs: What Drone Pilots Do
You might think being an Air Force drone pilot is a lot like playing video games, but the drone workstation looks more like mission control with 12 or more computer screens in front of the pilots. Each screen provides live camera footage from the aircraft, to help give the pilots a better understanding of the aircraft environment. Some of the screens show maps and other data related to the operation. Some drone pilots have said the influx of information drone pilots have is often more than that of a pilot in an F-16 – and everything a drone pilot receives is two-dimensional and has to be processed into a three-dimensional image in their minds. A fighter pilot can simply look out the window of their aircraft to see what is going on around them.
Each aircraft is operated by a drone pilot and a sensor operator. The sensor operator controls where the cameras on the aircraft are pointing, and will zoom in on targets if necessary. Drone pilots wear headphones to listen to commanders orders and steer the aircraft with joysticks.
Drone aircraft can carry laser-guided bombs and Hellfire missiles.
Antti Hautaniemi says
I can’t say I have much respect for your imperial mercenaries there on the field either, occupying some foreign land with not as much to spend on defense as you have on offense. However, these cowardly geeks are quite a species of their own. With no risk on their own part and perfectly comfortable to obliterate someone with absolutely no chance of ever getting to return the favor, I can’t think of anything I would despise quite so much as these so-called soldiers.
Nathan Watkins says
(see above post)
So you think putting our soldiers in harms way is an improvement to this? Drones allow the possible loss of a machine not to include the life of a human being as well. They also provide much more information directly to a control center than simple point-and-shoot. My cousin is a convoy driver on his third tour and thankful for the survailence and cover these drones provide. You have your right to an opinion, but dont insult just to try and make a point.
Antti Hautaniemi says
If you put foreign soldiers (“enemy combatants” or whatever dehumanizing term you refer to them by) in harm’s way while defending their own soil (or as in this case, simply residing in the wrong place at the wrong time), then your invading forces should most definitely face that same risk. Better yet, let them, too, be surveyed and taken out at random by an anonymous and invisible enemy.
jeremy njoroge says
I am jeremy 16 years of age and l love ur page I hope to become a drone pilot soon in the us airforce soon thank you.
Many former military in their 60s would jump at an opportunity to serve once again, as a drone pilot. If you want to solve your shortage of pilots problem. Open it up to a broader resource pool. Sign me up, I would love it.
Richard Godoy says
The US should create a drone boot camp not only on every base but additional areas as well. Students learn by patrolling the surrounding city’s streets. Active Military personal gain experience communicating with ground troop by first communicating directly with the police in real life situations. Drones will observe and assist the police by rewinding the tape to trace people or cars near a crime scene. There are so many cameras now, what’s the harm in a few more if it means there is a slight chance to reduce crime and catch a criminal.
Theodore Kotoff says
I believe in the comment made by Robert about older, more seasoned, prior military personnel being trained to fly the drone program. I am older than the typical 20 yrs. old raw recruit that must overcome many of the psychological barriers that make many prospects ‘wash out’ before they become drone pilots. I also have real-world flying experience in civilian small prop planes. I have 1200+ hours in a Cessna 172 and would love the chance to work for the Air Force. Please, consider what a magnificent pool of ready drone pilots that are available to the Air Force IF they would relax the age requirement just for drone pilots. I know that I could do an outstanding job for the military in that role! We ‘older’ pilots want to contribute to the effort to keep our military safe from people that would not think twice about taking us out with any means possible, if they were given the chance.
Theodore Kotoff says
I want to add to the post above that I have a Bachelor Degree in Aeronautics and an Associate Degree in Aviation. The fact that I already have degrees in the area in which I would like to participate for The United States, along with prior service in the Army, I believe makes me a great candidate, with a great background to process into the Air Force Drone Program. I have already learned the discipline needed for holding and serving in a highly sensitive position such as being a drone pilot would require. I graduated with a 3.842 GPA from Central Missouri State University, in the fields that are of the most relevant training to make someone a topflight drone pilot or sensor operator. Although, pilot would be the best of the two positions because of my relevant training and experience.
Ralph Hildebrand says
Can I, as a Canadian citizen apply for a job with the USAF as a Drone Pilot. As I am 57-years old and on Federal CPP Disability, and have no chance of being able to serve my Country. I would, however, like to play an important role in fighting International Terrorism. As a Canadian, I and many other Canadians have found out the hard way that terrorism isn’t just an Israeli or an American problem. I am sickened by all the innocent lives (regardless of where they live or their Nationality) cut short because of intolerant, fanatical, religious zealots. I have nothing against religion, but I despise those who kill in the name of “their” God.
I would like to do my part to stop the carnage.
BILL LENTZ says
Any So-called American who thinks snipers and drones are not “fair or un-American” needs to realize there are a bunch of countries in this world who would love nothing better than for us to croak together at one time. I will not accept any other countries’ mandates for ruling of any kind. They can all KMA. I have as many weapons of various types and calibers that most invading ***** would say.
Batman, We don’t have THAT many guns and bullets.