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USAF: Fighter -v- Drone Pilots  
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8419 posts, RR: 9
Posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 13268 times:

There was a very interesting article in the Washington Post today on the conflicts in the USAF between the traditional fighter pilots and the newly developing corps of drone pilots.

An interesting read that tries to resent new directions for the USAF, and the challenges that go with them.

Recommended for those interested in the USAF, or emerging military technologies.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...022703754.html?sid=ST2010022801204

And hopefully Top will put in thoughts on how drones can be refueled in a war zone.  

33 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12171 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 13085 times:

I agree with the story, the Air Force needs a clear and distinct deviding line between drone pilots and crews and pilots and crews who actually strap on an airplane.

The USAF will have needs for pilots in airplanes for the foreseeable future, but will also have a growing need for drone pilots. But it is unfair for the current mindset of comparing a fighter pilot with years of training and combat experience to a new drone pilot graduate. That fighter pilot needed instructions and guidance at one time, to place his airplane in the right position to attack the enemy, too.

But, I agree that a drone pilot and crew do not take the same risks actual crews and pilots take. If the airplane is hit by enemy fire, or crashes in a training accident, the drone pilot/crew goes home to sleep in his/her own bed that night, the crew and pilot of the airplane may be dead. Therefore their wings and pay structure needs to be different. Part of flying pay is because of the added risk to life actual flying has.

In a combat situation, a drone crew that saves the lives of allied ground troops faces the same pressures as a piloit overhead in an F-16 does, hitting the target with no collateral damge to allied forces. In that respect they need the same reward for doing the right job and making the right decission.

Drones are the way of the future, and it will not be long (maybe 30 years) until commericial airplanes are flown from the airport ground station. The technology is now at a level where a drone pilot can monitor the systems of the drone just as a pilot can monitor the systems of his airplane. The emergency procedures for a drone are the same as an engine out procedure in a single engine fighter, except for ejecting out should it get to that point. It would be to jettison stores, reduce drag as much as possible, get down to an altitude where an engine restart is possible and restart the engine.

More compalcated manuvers, like air refueling between two drones will eventually come. One day, we may even have drone demonstration teams replacing the Thunderbirds and Blue Angles.

As for will there be a USAF in the future? Yes, I believe there will be as the missions will eventually expand into low Earth space. We are only there in a very small way right now, but eventually someone will want to bases weapons and crews there and the USAF needs to be ready to make that move, too. Space will also drag the drones up into a low Earth orbit combat arena, but crews will be needed for exploration, much like in Star Trek or Star Wars.

Drones will always be tied to a pilot somewhere as we are still a very long way from getting or trusting artificial intellegence.


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 13015 times:

It absolutely infuriates me that these drone pilots wear the same set of wings that I do, get the same flight pay that I do... and are featured in numerous MilitaryTimes articles reporting on their PTSD.

It's absolute bullshit.


User currently onlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8696 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 12999 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 1):
One day, we may even have drone demonstration teams replacing the Thunderbirds and Blue Angles.

Wow, that would be sad and pathetic. I view drones about on a level with chemical weapons. It's not a valid form of human combat. The fact that our robots can beat our enemy's human base is not impressive. By winning in such a way, I believe we are the loser. It ceases to be combat, and goes some distance toward extermination.


User currently offlineKCMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 537 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 12995 times:

Yea it must be tough. Fly a few sorties and then head to the bar. I know a guy who flies "combat missions" from Nellis.


Dustoff
User currently offlinevenus6971 From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1443 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 12936 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 2):
It absolutely infuriates me that these drone pilots wear the same set of wings that I do, get the same flight pay that I do... and are featured in numerous MilitaryTimes articles reporting on their PTSD.

It's absolute bullshit
Quoting KCMike (Reply 4):
Yea it must be tough. Fly a few sorties and then head to the bar. I know a guy who flies "combat missions" from Nellis.

Plus they still wear flight suits because they are USAF pilots for the protection from their monitors, computer,coffeemaker and air conditioner going bezerk.
I am sure that the Navy,Army and Marines have enlisted guys flying these things releasing weopens killing bad guys and are alot closer to the fight at a FOB .
As a retired USAF member I am getting more and more ashamed of my former service of the pilot centered bullshit that goes on. Why a USAF? Thats a great question.



I would help you but it is not in the contract
User currently offlineKen777 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 8419 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 12929 times:

Quoting KCMike (Reply 4):
I know a guy who flies "combat missions" from Nellis.

How successful is he?


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12171 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 12902 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 2):
It absolutely infuriates me that these drone pilots wear the same set of wings that I do, get the same flight pay that I do... and are featured in numerous MilitaryTimes articles reporting on their PTSD.

It's absolute bullshit.

I think I said that.

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 1):
But, I agree that a drone pilot and crew do not take the same risks actual crews and pilots take. If the airplane is hit by enemy fire, or crashes in a training accident, the drone pilot/crew goes home to sleep in his/her own bed that night, the crew and pilot of the airplane may be dead. Therefore their wings and pay structure needs to be different. Part of flying pay is because of the added risk to life actual flying has.

But......

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 1):
In a combat situation, a drone crew that saves the lives of allied ground troops faces the same pressures as a piloit overhead in an F-16 does, hitting the target with no collateral damge to allied forces. In that respect they need the same reward for doing the right job and making the right decission.

Of course the F-16, or chopper driver does have to worry about getting hit by enemy fire more so than the drone driver does.

Quoting venus6971 (Reply 5):
I am sure that the Navy,Army and Marines have enlisted guys flying these things releasing weopens killing bad guys and are alot closer to the fight at a FOB .

It depends on the drone and type of mission and the USAF has Enlisted drone "crew members" too. Small battlefield recon drones are flown mostly by Enlisted members. The big ones are flown by Officers, and any drone that carries weapons is flown by Officers, too.


User currently offlineKCMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 537 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 12846 times:

Quoting Ken777 (Reply 6):
How successful is he?

He is a Major in the USAF.



Dustoff
User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 12839 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
I think I said that.

I guess you did... sorry I was too distracted by this:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 1):
compalcated manuvers

lol


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12171 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 12769 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 9):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 7):
I think I said that.

I guess you did... sorry I was too distracted by this:

I see you have changed your flag back to the US flag from the Iraq flag. Welcome home, brother. Well done.


User currently offlinejcxp15 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 997 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 12712 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker:
It absolutely infuriates me that these drone pilots wear the same set of wings that I do, get the same flight pay that I do... and are featured in numerous MilitaryTimes articles reporting on their PTSD.

It's absolute bullshit.

Wow, quite a sense of entitlement you have there... A person earns their wings by making it through a rigorous year of pilot training - not by what MWS they go onto after UPT. Not to mention a lot of those "drone pilots" are ex-MWS guys, many of them ex-pointy nose guys (you know the guys who think they are God's gift to the earth).

While it's unfortunate and quite simply a waste of money the Air Force is pulling guys straight from pilot training or for that matter any other MWS to go fly UAVs, that's just the situation we are in right now. I hope it doesn't last forever, and I hope the Air Force will one day see the light and spin-up a pipeline and separate career path for UAV operators. As for what wings they wear - I don't care; if someone wants to volunteer to fly a UAV and as a result keep me out of the "cockpit" of a one, then I could care less if they wear Astronaut wings.

If anything I feel sorry for the current state of students in UPT. There is very little to look forward to, there is very little motivation; especially for those who know they are not in the top third of their class. While it used to be "poorest" performing students would move on to the more "undesirable" manned aircraft, now you have these people moving onto UAVs, and guys and girls in the middle half of their class getting the AWACS and 135s (which let's face it probably wasn't in the top half of their dreamsheets).

That being said Wings are earned, not given out; and anyone who has endured the year long haze known as pilot training has earned them and as far as I'm concerned has proven they are capable of being an Air Force pilot; whether they fly the F-22 or a Globalhawk.

If anything (pure speculation here), the guys and girls who finished in the bottom half of their pilot training class probably struggled a lot more, had to deal with a lot more and worked a lot harder to get those wings than the guy or girl who finished first or second...


EDIT - I see you're in the Army; so I guess my post is a little out-of-touch or maybe not as relevant to your experiences in the Army as mine in the Air Force...

[Edited 2010-03-01 17:21:59]

User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (4 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 12625 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
I see you have changed your flag back to the US flag from the Iraq flag. Welcome home, brother. Well done.

I was actually in Afghanistan this past rotation, it's nice to be home for a few months, but thanks nonetheless. And you know I was only yanking your chain, right?

Quoting jcxp15 (Reply 11):
Wow, quite a sense of entitlement you have there...

Look, it's not as though I trashed their purpose on the battlefield. Not only do I value their role in modern warfare, but I respect that what they do is far more complex than the video game junkies some portray them as. ...But I refuse to accept them as my peers.

In fact, I do not really think of them as pilots, but rather as operators. I understand they are responsible for multi-million dollar equipment, but a very huge distinction is that when they fuck up, they get a bad OER. When I fuck up, I kill me, and anyone on board. The fact of the matter is, part of being a pilot is the assumption of the risk the job carries.

While I understand that the Air Force, and even the Army to some extent, has a propensity to pin devices, I reject that they ought to wear the same lineage of wings that I wear. Pilot Wings are not simply just a reward for 1-2yrs of rigorous schooling, as you argue... they are recognition that the element the pilot operates in is of a unique, and rather unnatural, environment. I am sorry, but operating in a ground station is in no way on the same realm as operating in the aircraft. So for a UAS operator to earn the same wings, the same flight pay, and the same air medals is simply insulting.

And I don't deny that the operators can suffer from some level of PTSD, but as someone who has spent 3 of the last 4 years deployed, I honestly resent the implication their stress is akin to my stress. Is that selfish or conceited of me? Perhaps. But just as I do not dare say my experiences are as brutal as the bubbas on the ground, I don't think living outside Las Vegas is a particularly grueling, stressing, life.

Quoting jcxp15 (Reply 11):
That being said Wings are earned, not given out

I completely agree, aircrew members certainly do earn their wings. I just disagree that UAS operators are aircrew members. They're ground operators.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12171 posts, RR: 51
Reply 13, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 12488 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 12):
Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
I see you have changed your flag back to the US flag from the Iraq flag. Welcome home, brother. Well done.

I was actually in Afghanistan this past rotation, it's nice to be home for a few months, but thanks nonetheless. And you know I was only yanking your chain, right?

Yes, I knew that.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 12):
Quoting jcxp15 (Reply 11):
That being said Wings are earned, not given out

I completely agree, aircrew members certainly do earn their wings. I just disagree that UAS operators are aircrew members. They're ground operators.

I don't have a problem with them getting to wear a badge, just I don't think that badge should be the same as pilot, navigator, or enlisted aircrew wings. There are many different badges worn by military personnel, including parachute wings, infantry badges, submarine dolphins, military/security police, fire fighters, backend crews on E-3/6/8s and RC-135s, etc. But each of these also has to be earned, they are not just handed out to everyone.


User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 14, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 12481 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
DATABASE EDITOR

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 12):
In fact, I do not really think of them as pilots, but rather as operators.

      

At the end of the day, pilots must be able to perform their jobs while managing the stress and distraction of having their lives on the line. Without this ability, one cannot become a safe and competent pilot...but one can certainly become a safe and competent UAV operator. That's the difference.



Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlineJackonicko From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2008, 472 posts, RR: 11
Reply 15, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 12372 times:

If you earn wings then you have earned the right to wear those wings, even if you're in a ground tour.

Unless you're going to decide that a pilot may only wear wings while in a flying job.

What is wrong is when UAV operators (or those in Pentagon ground tours) wear functional flying kit, and when they earn flying pay and medals.

There is no need (beyond the ego of the operator) to wear flight suits, there is no justification for awarding flight pay, and there is no compelling justification for the award of medals. All of this is unnecessary, and risks conflating or equating the jobs of sitting at a computer, with that of sitting in a cockpit.

Then there's the question as to whether any modern UAV/UCAV needs to be flown by someone who has undergone full pilot training. Where it doesn't then operators should be trained as such from the start, and they certainly should have no entitlement to wings.


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12171 posts, RR: 51
Reply 16, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 12350 times:

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 15):
Jackonicko

Earning the different badges in the US has its own rewards, as does earning medals. each denotes a speicial qualification or event.


User currently offlinejcxp15 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 997 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 12350 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 12):

In fact, I do not really think of them as pilots, but rather as operators. I understand they are responsible for multi-million dollar equipment, but a very huge distinction is that when they fuck up, they get a bad OER. When I fuck up, I kill me, and anyone on board. The fact of the matter is, part of being a pilot is the assumption of the risk the job carries.


Agreed....

Quote:

While I understand that the Air Force, and even the Army to some extent, has a propensity to pin devices, I reject that they ought to wear the same lineage of wings that I wear. Pilot Wings are not simply just a reward for 1-2yrs of rigorous schooling, as you argue... they are recognition that the element the pilot operates in is of a unique, and rather unnatural, environment.

I agree - but at least in this article, and in the Air Force, those "operators" who didn't attend AF Undergraduate Pilot Training didn't receive the same wings that those who have do. So there is a distinction between those who actually have "pilot" skills and those who took an abbreviated course and a few CBTs to fly UAVs. I would argue that wings are a symbol earned by individuals who endure 1-2 years of rigorous schooling that signify they have the capability of operating in the unique, unnatural environment that you speak of that their respective service demands of them (obviously with more training and schooling; it never stops regardless of how long someone's been flying or how much experience they have). I look at someone with AF pilot wings and I know they have the capability to perform certain aviation related things in the AF prescribed manner.

Now if the Army is giving people who haven't attended a formal pilot training course (I don't know how the Army does it) a set of regular pilot wings after clicking through a bunch of CBTs and never actually touching a real aircraft, then I completely agree with your sentiments.

As far as flight suit wear goes, if we allow missileers to wear flightsuits, then why not allow UAV operators to do the same? At least the UAV operators do something related to flying. Playing devils advocate here, we were flightsuits all the time (except for Blues Monday), even if we don't have flying related duties (although I understand the Army only wears flightsuits when they actually fly). I mean you can make an argument for no one wearing flightsuits ever; but who cares?

Quote:

And I don't deny that the operators can suffer from some level of PTSD, but as someone who has spent 3 of the last 4 years deployed, I honestly resent the implication their stress is akin to my stress. Is that selfish or conceited of me? Perhaps. But just as I do not dare say my experiences are as brutal as the bubbas on the ground, I don't think living outside Las Vegas is a particularly grueling, stressing, life.

Sure - but it's more than likely a small minority of UAV operators who are claiming or affected by PTSD. Taking their side for a second, these guys are probably seeing more action that 90% of all rated aviators. They are launching attacks, killing people (granted from thousands of miles away), directly seeing the results of their actions, and then after 12 hours, are expected to go home to their wives and children a few miles away and live a normal life. Now I'm not saying the guys on the ground or actually in the fight don't experience PTSD, but at the same time I think their support in the desert through friends all embracing the suck, or counselors or leadership is probably a little better than the guys stateside. Not to mention, a lot of the "home" stresses aren't present after returning from a mission.
While a UAV operator's shift may end after 12-hours, his or her thoughts about blowing up a house and killing people inside it (maybe even non-combattants) don't.



I agree, but I don't think the majority of UAV operators are claiming PTSD - in fact it's


User currently offlineKCMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 537 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 12336 times:

I can promise that if you took a guy whos been operating UAV's, and then move him into a

Quoting jcxp15 (Reply 17):
Now if the Army is giving people who haven't attended a formal pilot training course (I don't know how the Army does it) a set of regular pilot wings after clicking through a bunch of CBTs and never actually touching a real aircraft, then I completely agree with your sentiments


As far as the Army's "wings" badge goes, we have flight ops personnel and ATC folks who get to where wings. While the symbol in the middle may differ from mine as a pilot, Its hard to make a distinct difference. So when you see an NCO wearing wings you dont know if he files your flight plan and gives you the keys or if he is a crew chief or flight medic. The crew chiefs and flight medics (and engineers I believe in the hooker family) deserve the wings as they are part of the aircrew, yes different from pilots as they are but still deserved. I wont defend the army from the aspect.

For the uniforms, we wear our flight suits on daily basis regardless if we are flying. By the regs your not supposed to, however with the A2CU uniform its hard to tell a flight suit from the standard army ACU's. Especially now that they are pushing away with the green undershirts and going with the standard tan. Flight suits arent as cool as the USAF so no big deal. I do like the A2CU as its a comfortable uniform!

mike



Dustoff
User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 12316 times:

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 15):
If you earn wings then you have earned the right to wear those wings, even if you're in a ground tour.

...If you earn them by flying in a real aircraft, absolutely. As Jcxp15 noted, some AF UAS operators went to UPT. They actually wiggled the sticks. So they have every right to wear PILOT wings. But they wear those wings because they completed flight training... not because they sit behind a screen and fly a UAS.

Not to mention, the vast majority of the tactical UAS operators never went through any flight training. They never left terra firma. How on earth does that qualify them for wings?

If they want some kind of badge to feel special, to feel pride in? Fine, wonderful. Give them some nifty device to wear, and call it a day. But don't go rob the wings from pilots, and elevate them to be peers.

Quoting Jackonicko (Reply 15):
Unless you're going to decide that a pilot may only wear wings while in a flying job.


Well at least they're actually going up there flying! Many of these guys never even do that. If it's absolutely necessary that they get a uniform device, then create a new one for them.

Quoting jcxp15 (Reply 17):
As far as flight suit wear goes, if we allow missileers to wear flightsuits, then why not allow UAV operators to do the same? At least the UAV operators do something related to flying.


I don't think either of them should wear the flight suit. If you're not an aircrew member, then you should be wearing your regular fatigues. Flight uniform = fight duties.

Quoting jcxp15 (Reply 17):
I mean you can make an argument for no one wearing flightsuits ever; but who cares?


Wrong. There is a very important reason why we wear flight suits: fires.

The design of the flight suit is a result of years of studies and trials. The nomex material does not slow burn/melt. The collars are designed to be "flipped up" during flight, to offer neck protection against flames. The waist band is adjustable to keep the best fit around the torso. The wrist and ankle bands are designed to seal the arms/legs from flames. The gloves are flame resistant. The boots are designed to not melt to the skin, or metal cateyes to burn the skin.

...Sorry, when there is a fire in the cockpit, we can't run to the nearest exit door and all gather at the predesignated rally point. You're simply wrong, there is a very good reason why flight crews wear flight suits.

Quoting KCMike (Reply 18):
As far as the Army's "wings" badge goes, we have flight ops personnel and ATC folks who get to where wings.

Exactly. Just as I don't agree with giving UAS operators wings... a guy working in flight ops, never having flown, did not earn wings. But they wear them nonetheless, because the Army loves to invent uniform devices. IE: CAB (another bullshit badge).

Quoting KCMike (Reply 18):
For the uniforms, we wear our flight suits on daily basis regardless if we are flying. By the regs your not supposed to, however with the A2CU uniform its hard to tell a flight suit from the standard army ACU's. Especially now that they are pushing away with the green undershirts and going with the standard tan. Flight suits arent as cool as the USAF so no big deal. I do like the A2CU as its a comfortable uniform!

I am so glad that I don't fly for regular Army anymore.

No olive green undershirts? WHY!? I can probably guess though, someone complained that the aviators do not look like everyone else, right? It's why they moved to the ABDU. The pickle suit made them separate from everyone else, and that just didn't sit well with some people.

I don't think I can ever go back. I can't deal with the pointless bullshit. The emphasis isn't flying, and keeping aircraft maintained, it's getting everyone weapons qual'd, everyone completely anti-suicide awareness courses, blah blah blah. The last thing flight companies do, is fly.


User currently offlineKCMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 537 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 12303 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 19):
No olive green undershirts? WHY!?

Not sure if its a big army thing, but its what my CAB is pushing for.

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 19):
someone complained that the aviators do not look like everyone else,

damn straight

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 19):
it's getting everyone weapons qual'd, everyone completely anti-suicide awareness courses, blah blah blah.

If only I got a buck for every one of those ive had to sit through this past month in prep for the desert



Dustoff
User currently offlinejcxp15 From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 997 posts, RR: 5
Reply 21, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 12155 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 19):
Wrong. There is a very important reason why we wear flight suits: fires.

The design of the flight suit is a result of years of studies and trials. The nomex material does not slow burn/melt. The collars are designed to be "flipped up" during flight, to offer neck protection against flames. The waist band is adjustable to keep the best fit around the torso. The wrist and ankle bands are designed to seal the arms/legs from flames. The gloves are flame resistant. The boots are designed to not melt to the skin, or metal cateyes to burn the skin.

...Sorry, when there is a fire in the cockpit, we can't run to the nearest exit door and all gather at the predesignated rally point. You're simply wrong, there is a very good reason why flight crews wear flight suits.

Yes I know the purpose of nomex and why we wear flightsuits. Also FYI flightgloves are optional in the majority of mobility/tanker aircraft (and there have even been missions where crews have flown in blues - as an example the pilots of AF1 all fly in blues). The nomex/flightgloves/popping collars are mainly for airframes that have an ejection seat because covering up all parts of exposed skin during an ejection is important to avoid severe burns. When I flew an aircraft with an ejection seat, this was an emphasis item.... Either that or on helos; which are more "crash-prone" or susceptible to IFEs.

As far as flightsuit wear goes, what I meant when we aren't actively flying aircraft... I don't know how the Army does (I've heard that if you aren't actively flying or performing flight duties you aren't supposed to wear the AF Argentina">FS).. In the AF, unless it's blues Monday, we wear our flightsuits at all times; even if we're not flying, DNIF or have other things going on. Obviously, I'm not complaining, I think the flightsuit is our version of our combat uniforms. So when everyone else on base gets to wear ABUs or BDUs, we get to wear our flightsuits (I also think we should be allowed to fly commercially in them, but that's another story). I was just saying I think a UAV operator has a little more a right to wear a flightsuit than some dude who sits 100' below the ground and who's sole job is to press a button if need be....


User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2380 posts, RR: 10
Reply 22, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 12123 times:

Quoting UH60FtRucker (Reply 19):
If they want some kind of badge to feel special, to feel pride in? Fine, wonderful. Give them some nifty device to wear, and call it a day

The Air Force has done that. In September 2009, the first group of UAV pilots to include non-UPT grads completed training. Those non-rated guys were issued a different set of wings, designed specifically for those who haven't completed UPT before going through UAV traning. You can see a sample of the new wings here. Those who have completed UPT and earned "real" pilot wings get to keep wearing them.



KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineKCMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 537 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 12097 times:

I was unaware of the new badge and UAS classes graduating. Sending these guys to real flight school only to track UAV's is a waste of cash. So it appears they have both officers and NCO's doing the job. At first glance though, if you see a captain wearing those wings in a flight suit, you are going to think he is a real pilot. Where as if you pass an army captain in A2CU's youll have no clue he is a pilot as the uniform (especially at my unit where we wear the tan t-shirts now, AND we dont wear our pin-on aviator's badge on the uniform) looks the same as every other joe. I chose to join the army and it doesnt bother me all that much that we do things differently, I just dont think these guys need to walk around looking like a real pilot when they clearly are not.


Dustoff
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15810 posts, RR: 27
Reply 24, posted (4 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 11858 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 3):
It's not a valid form of human combat. The fact that our robots can beat our enemy's human base is not impressive. By winning in such a way, I believe we are the loser.

Fine. Then you can go explain to some pilot's mother that her son died so you could feel morally superior.

As far as the pay and wings goes, I think that drone pilots should have separate wings. Let them be their own group, instead of living in the shadows of real pilots. As far as medals, like the Air Medal or DFC, I think that the qualification is "while participating in aerial flight." I suppose that what constitutes participation is open to interpretation. I believe that the UK Distinguished Flying Cross actually specifies that it is while "flying", which to me means being a pilot.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
25 2H4 : Perhaps a "Distinguished Operating Cross" is in order!
26 Oroka : The should be 'operators' not pilots. When I think of drone operators, I keep thinking that every once in a while, they get a little achievement pop-u
27 Post contains images Flighty : Great, so it's like Big Buck Hunter, only it takes away your manhood and your honor.
28 Oroka : So, what are the qualifications of a UAV jockey? They should have portable stations that I can set-up at home, and fly from my desk while eating pizza
29 BMI727 : Serving your country and killing terrorists is more than sufficient to achieve manhood and honor. I think that UAVs will gradually be able to do more
30 Tugger : Interesting tidbit: More than 600,000 flt hrs were accumulated by UAV's in the U.S. Armed Forces in 2009. And that is only expected to increase this y
31 Post contains links spudsmac : It's incentive pay, not so much danger pay. This might shed some light on the situation. http://www.flyingsquadron.com/forums...v-operators-to-reciev
32 UH60FtRucker : Regardless the title says it all: "Aviation Career Incentive Pay" ....UAS operators are not aviators, they're ground based equipment managers. My poi
33 spudsmac : Fair enough. I hate UAS just as much as any other pilot though.
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