Wednesday, September 30, 2009

US Air Force's First Class Of Pilots Who Do Not Fly

The US Air Force has graduated eight officers from an experimental training program for the MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft. Leslie Pratt/US Air Force/Sipa/Newscom

US Air Force's Class Of 2009: Pilots Who Won't Fly -- Christian Science Monitor

The graduation of eight officers without flight training points to the increased use of remote-controlled aircraft for reconnaissance and intelligence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Washington - The US Air Force is marking something of a milestone as it positions itself to better address the need for round-the-clock intelligence in Afghanistan and Iraq. Last week, the service graduated the first class of pilots without flight training.

Just eight officers graduated from an experimental training program for the MQ-1 Predator, a remote-controlled aircraft or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). But it marks a shift for a service that has defined its leaders by their prowess as flyboys and that is now coming to terms with the less glamorous but critical demands of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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My Comment: This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Expect this type of graduating class to continue tipping towards UAV operators until they make up the vast majority of the graduating class. I give another 15 years before this becomes realized.

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