When is a Pilot Not a Pilot? The Unmanned Air-Force Emerges

For the first time the US Air-force is producing pilots who have never flown a plane, this is the first class of pilots just trained to fly unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). There is obviously some friction emerging from the old guard who believe there can be only one kind of pilot. However, the air-force is already embracing this change, seeing the possibilities this new kind of weapon and warrior can bring to the 21st century battlefield.

This article by the WP looks at this new type of pilot and how they came to be, together with some examples of how they have proved themselves on the battlefield. Well worth reading but the great thing about UAVs is that virtually anyone can acquire and use them, see http://www.mikrokopter.de/ucwiki/en/MK-Okto for an example of this other emerging trend.


"Why does the country need an independent Air Force?" the senior civilian assistant to Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the service's chief of staff, had written. For the first time in the 62-year history of the Air Force, the answer isn't entirely clear.

"This is our year to look up and out . . . to ask big questions," Schwartz said in an interview. "Who are we? What are we doing for the nation's defense? . . . Where is this grand institution headed?"

"Most mission statements are long, complicated and italicized," he said. "Mine was three words: "Kill [Expletive] Heads."
he Air Force envisions unmanned planes not only providing surveillance and striking targets, but also hauling cargo around the world. Instead of flying just one plane, a single pilot would probably control as many as four or five planes simultaneously.
"Valor is doing what is right. Valor is about your motivations and the ends that you seek. It is doing what is right for the right reasons. That to me is valor."
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