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How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?  
User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5729 posts, RR: 10
Posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 23538 times:

I was just reading an article about the military's increased use of UAV's and how it will increase greatly into the future. The article mentioned missiles or bombs being deployed from a UAV in Afghanistan piloted by someone back in the USA.

Quote:
a 500-pound bomb, aimed and fired by a pilot at Creech Air Force Base in the Nevada desert, striking two insurgents in Afghanistan...

It went on to briefly touch on the fact that since the military wants more UAV's it will need more pilots, it also mentioned that there is discussion on whether only "certified" pilots should pilot armed UAV's.
(If you are interested, the article is here: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/05/23/drone.wars/index.html )

It got me to wondering what is a pilot for a UAV? And the bigger question: Are they a pilot? How much piloting do they do, how much skill is required, what training and certification do they go through? I know remote piloting it not just a simple thing but of course UAV's do a lot of the flying via internal systems. And of course most modern pilots don't do as much flying as they used to, it is more managing the flight systems (via the FMC or other some such system) on board the aircraft. (I do not mean to equate this to "yank and bank" flying utilized in dog fights or critical flight situations, just the normal flying that most pilots do.)

So what are the requirements for being a UAV pilot? what kind of training does it take? Do you have to be a flight rated pilot in order to do it (was that a requirement in the past)? Do they have control to land or T/O the drone? Or are they really more like RIO's?

Thanks for any information
Tugg


I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
54 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 23517 times:
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Very interesting question. I wonder if UAVs could effectively be operated by relatively inexperienced people so long as a single experienced pilot is in the building to attend to challenging/abnormal situations that may arise.

2H4



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User currently offlineVzlet From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 839 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 23422 times:



Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sometimes (s)he's an F-16 pilot.



"That's so stupid! If they're so secret, why are they out where everyone can see them?" - my kid
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8696 posts, RR: 3
Reply 3, posted (6 years 6 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 23383 times:

Welcome to the first war you can fight from your hospital bed. Sorry if that joke offends somebody.  Smile

User currently offlineCX747 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4454 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (6 years 6 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 23272 times:

Ahh Dos Gringos!!!! Don't worry boy's there are still F-22s and F-35s on the way.


"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 997 posts, RR: 51
Reply 5, posted (6 years 6 months 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 23265 times:

IMO, a UAV pilot is just another type of weapons system officer. Not a pilot.

User currently offlineMCIGuy From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1936 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 6 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 23231 times:

I've always wondered about a satellite delay in the control inputs. It takes a couple of seconds for a signal to travel around the world as evidenced by satellite news broadcasts. I would think that could make things tricky and quick reactions nearly impossible. I know the Russians used their top pilots to control the Lunokhod moon rover back in 1970, and there was serious input delay there.


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User currently offlineHaveBlue From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 2121 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (6 years 6 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 23217 times:

My roommate and his friend both went for UAV job. He is a 747 first officer and his friend is a corporate King Air pilot. They both are easily qualified to fly the UAV, however there is extensive background checks and many applicants and neither of them got the slot for whatever reason.


Here Here for Severe Clear!
User currently offlineCloudy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (6 years 6 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 23195 times:



Quoting MCIGuy (Reply 6):
I've always wondered about a satellite delay in the control inputs. It takes a couple of seconds for a signal to travel around the world as evidenced by satellite news broadcasts. I would think that could make things tricky and quick reactions nearly impossible. I know the Russians used their top pilots to control the Lunokhod moon rover back in 1970, and there was serious input delay there.

TV broadcasts use Geosynchronous Satellites. These are far away enough from earth to produce a noticeable delay. The moon is farther out still, and produces a more noticeable effect.

Nowadays, a lot of communications is done through undersea fiber optic cables and through satellites in much lower orbits. Satellites in low orbit are only 100- 500 miles or so up, at most. This produces no delay noticeable to people. Part of the reason space warfare WILL happen sometime in the future is because of the strategic importance of LEO(low earth orbit) sats.


User currently offlineMCIGuy From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 1936 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (6 years 6 months 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 23189 times:



Quoting Cloudy (Reply 8):

Yeah, that makes sense, geosynchronous sats orbit at about 22,000 miles or so.  Smile



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User currently offlineLongbowPilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 577 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 23030 times:
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This conversation could get very interesting indeed...

My two cents:

A Pilot is a man or woman that is trained to occupy a vehicle that is capable of lighter then air travel. They are exposed to the physical and mental stress associated with such a inherently dangerous task. The body is not designed to fly nor capable of simple instruction to accomplish the tasks. There is a regulatory and rigorous training requirement to force the mind and body of the potential candidates to control these vehicles through reflex.

A Operator is a man or woman, that is trained to occupy a device that is capable of sending complex information and direction to a device that can be manipulated within the parameters of a computer. The operator has extensive training on the system abilities and limitations, but is unable to affect a change in the devices parameters via direct inputs. A Operator is trained within the realm the field requires, to include some aviation basic knowledge, but lacks the physical stressors and limitations a pilot will feel.

In long, a UAV Pilot is not a pilot, they are an operator and although are trained in the aviation basics, they are not subjected to the rigorous mental and physical demands of a pilot. Sure there are operators that work with front line fighters, embedded in infantry and MP units, but they are soldiers not pilots. The airfield operators work in a trailer/connex with climate controls and the ability to tag team the work load, take breaks, eat and remain comfortable. Pilots must remain at the controls, 5 point harnessed, experiencing the effects of weather, heat, cold, vibration, limited movement, minimal nutrition for hours of flight.

Yes there are some UAV operators that are rated Aviators, i.e. Air Force Pilots, they are rated because they were trained as pilots and have met the requirements to physically fly a aircraft.

Those Opertors that are not rated Aviators, i.e. U.S. Army, they are not rated at all. The requirements are not as stringent as Aviators.

Now, the wave of the future is to engineer the Human Element out of the machine. In the future wars will be fought via unmanned devices eventually, and the Pilot will become a relic in the world restricted to the Civilian Private Adventure until that itself is regulated out via Safety Politicians when the Jetsons world becomes a reality and it will be simple as driving a car.

I am not for or against UAV's in the world. I think they have there place and that indeed we will eventually head there, but they do not, IMHO, merit the title of pilot when they operate the UAV. That does not mean they cannot become a rated pilot via education, flight school, lessons, and eventually earn a ticket. If I was at a UAV assignment I would call my self a Army Aviator by title only, but an Operator of UAVs.

My two cents.... well actually more like two bags of cents...

-Attack


User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 28
Reply 11, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 22975 times:



Quoting Tugger (Thread starter):
It got me to wondering what is a pilot for a UAV? And the bigger question: Are they a pilot? How much piloting do they do, how much skill is required,

IMHO, a UAV pilot is just as much a pilot as anyone else. If their job is relatively easier in comparison it's not for the fact that they are sitting outside their airplane and thousands of miles away (which can actually make it a more difficult job), but, rather, it's because their airplanes are relatively simple machines compared to the big iron.



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 12, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 22958 times:
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DATABASE EDITOR



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 11):
If their job is relatively easier in comparison it's not for the fact that they are sitting outside their airplane and thousands of miles away

With all due respect, I disagree.

As LongbowPilot points out, it's a lot different when you're actually in the aircraft and things are going badly. A complication (like a system failure) raises the stress level dramatically. A complication combined with a challenging environment (weather, enemy fire, etc) raises the stress level exponentially. As the stress level raises, a person's susceptibility to task saturation also increases.

No matter how hairy the situation, a UAV operator knows that no matter what happens with the flight, he/she will wake up to see another day. Whether he/she is conscious of this or not, it lowers the stress level and makes it easier to manage the aircraft and maintain situational awareness.

Need proof? Get into a batting cage and hit some balls. Then try to hit some balls with a gun pointed at your head. It will probably prove to be rather distracting from the job at hand, and it's what military aviators are faced with in combat situations. Managing it is not insurmountable, but being able to manage it while effectively completing a mission is what separates UAV operators from military aviators.

I doubt many UAV operators, in the heat of a deteriorating situation, have quick flashbacks to the last time they saw their family and wonder if they'll ever see them again.

And I doubt many military aviators take comfort in the fact that they can call a relief pilot over from the other side of the room to take over when things get hairy.

I respect what UAV operators do, but I also think the job is on a very different level from the men and women out in the aircraft.

2H4



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User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 28
Reply 13, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 22941 times:



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 12):
it's a lot different when you're actually in the aircraft and things are going badly. A complication (like a system failure) raises the stress level dramatically. A complication combined with a challenging environment (weather, enemy fire, etc) raises the stress level exponentially. As the stress level raises, a person's susceptibility to task saturation also increases.

I completely appreciate what you're describing. And I'll even go so far as to admit that actually being in the airplane can add a dimension of complexity to flying that a remote pilot will never experience. Nevertheless, what you are describing goes to the question of whether sitting in the attack aircraft during the mission is more difficult. The answer to that is a resounding YES. But, does that mean the UCAV controller is not a 'pilot'?

The original question posed by the OP is if the 'pilot' of a UCAV is an actual pilot. IMO, the answer is yes. Is it easier to fly the UCAV? Absolutely. But by analogy, I'm no less a pilot flying in a 172 than any other 'pilot' in the sky. Is my role in the left front seat of that 172 easier? Of course! But I'm still a 'pilot' and I'll kick anyone's a$$ who dares to say I'm not!  Wink

The problem with this whole pilot issue with regards to UCAVs is that the technology is changing the role of the pilot. But change in the cockpit (or outside, as the case may be) is nothing new. 20 years ago 'real' pilots scoffed at anyone who wanted to fly in the A320 because everything was so automated in the new birds that it was practically crash-proof. Is it easier to fly in a modern FBW airplane? Of course it is. But I dare anyone to say the person flying those planes is less of a pilot than someone who flies a 737 classic with all the steam gauges.



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineFlyUSCG From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 656 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 22950 times:



Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 5):
Not a pilot

 checkmark 

Quoting LongbowPilot (Reply 10):
In long, a UAV Pilot is not a pilot

 checkmark 

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 12):
With all due respect, I disagree.

 checkmark 

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 11):
a UAV pilot is just as much a pilot as anyone else

 redflag 
The very idea that a UAV operator would be called a pilot is an insult to us real pilots. I didn't spend 4 years in college getting a degree in aviation and several more weeks in intensive airline training to EARN the title of pilot only to have some person come in and take a couple months of big expensive RC flight training and be called the same. As others have pointed out, they sit in a chair drinking a cup of coffee looking at a TV screen of something that is happening nearly 6000 miles away. How in the hell is that even remotely close to being a pilot? UAV operators have not been trained to meet the physical rigors of flying, they don't know what it's like to be in an aircraft and have your engine burst into flames or have your wing blown off and then be faced with life and death situations. Not to mention they are doing something that 12 year olds do every day on flight simulator 2004.



Go Trojans! Fight On!
User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8956 posts, RR: 60
Reply 15, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 22938 times:
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Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 13):
what you are describing goes to the question of whether sitting in the attack aircraft during the mission is more difficult. The answer to that is a resounding YES. But, does that mean the UCAV controller is not a 'pilot'?

I maintain that the definition of a pilot is someone who possesses the ability to safely....and physically....fly an aircraft from point A to point B while negotiating environmental, navigational, and mechanical challenges along the way.

That "physical" part is what matters in this case, and I am of the opinion that if you cannot consistently perform the above definition in the actual aircraft, you are an operator and not a pilot.

2H4



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User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 28
Reply 16, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 22937 times:



Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 14):
I didn't spend 4 years in college getting a degree in aviation and several more weeks in intensive airline training to EARN the title of pilot only to have some person come in and take a couple months of big expensive RC flight training and be called the same.

Unless the requirements have changed, last I checked UCAV pilots are culled from actual flight ranks.

Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 14):
As others have pointed out, they sit in a chair drinking a cup of coffee looking at a TV screen

Sounds like any other modern pilot sitting in the cockpit, drinking coffee, and looking at [a] TV screens.

Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 14):
they don't know what it's like to be in an aircraft and have your engine burst into flames or have your wing blown off and then be faced with life and death situations.

I believe if you were to do a survey, you'd find that >99.999% of pilots have never had an engine "burst into flames" and even fewer have had a "wing blown off".

Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 14):
Not to mention they are doing something that 12 year olds do every day on flight simulator 2004.

I see. So what really bothers you is the possibility that a 12 year old can do what you do. I'll admit, it's not a pleasant thought. But it's reality. Get used to it.



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineRedFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 4376 posts, RR: 28
Reply 17, posted (6 years 6 months 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 22935 times:



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 15):
That "physical" part is what matters in this case, and I am of the opinion that if you cannot consistently perform the above definition in the actual aircraft, you are an operator and not a pilot.

Using that definition, I'll give it to you: the UCAV 'operator' is not a 'pilot'.



My other home is a Piper Cherokee 180C
User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2379 posts, RR: 10
Reply 18, posted (6 years 6 months 18 hours ago) and read 22887 times:

From the outstanding Air Force Blues comic strip:




KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineLongbowPilot From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 577 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (6 years 6 months 16 hours ago) and read 22844 times:
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This is the hardest discussion to have with UAV Operators. They feel they bring a human element to the fight when they don't. Now do not get me wrong, they are there for hours on end, on station providing intel and in some cases ordinance servicing. They do their part and save lives, just as any other soldier, airman or sailor would do for the brothers.

Now what REALLY irks me and other pilots out there is what awards they qualify for and skill badges they are awarded.

Now that is a thread in itself, but IMHO they do not warrant the same awards and badges that are aviator/crew member specific (i.e. Aviator/Crew member Wings, Distinguished Flying Crosses, and Air Medals). One instance that really p.o.'ed me and others I know was when they awarded a DFC to a Predator Pilot who commanded a Predator, which had malfunctioned, back to the airfield and crashed it on the airfield. It was the most comical/insane thing I had ever seen to date.

I have a crew dog out in the blazing Iraqi Heat turning wrenches on a helicopter for 12 months and they get a Army Achievement Medal. We have a UAV operator getting 2 Air Medals for 6 months of flight service over the country all from the comfort of a Climate Controlled console. Absolutely.... n/m

Sorry for Hijacking the thread.

-Attack


User currently offlineFlyUSCG From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 656 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (6 years 6 months 16 hours ago) and read 22836 times:



Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 16):
last I checked UCAV pilots are culled from actual flight ranks

I forgot to put the disclaimer that my post was geared to those that aren't previous pilots. Obviously I don't have that attitude towards those that have are real pilots.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 16):
Sounds like any other modern pilot sitting in the cockpit, drinking coffee, and looking at [a] TV screens.

Not really. It's actually our butt in the seat if something goes wrong. Or perhaps our crew or X number of passengers in there with is. You tell that comparison to any real pilot and he will laugh at you.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 16):
I believe if you were to do a survey, you'd find that >99.999% of pilots have never had an engine "burst into flames" and even fewer have had a "wing blown off".

No sh**. But the point is that we have to sit in simulators training for that to happen because it HAS happened before and it has killed pilots/crew/pax. No predator pilot has been killed in a crash, thus they have no worries and no grasp of what is actually at stake.

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 16):
I see. So what really bothers you is the possibility that a 12 year old can do what you do. I'll admit, it's not a pleasant thought. But it's reality. Get used to it.

Thats not what I said at all. I said 12 year olds sit at their computer and play flight simulator. Predator operators also sit at their computer and play a more expensive flight simulator. A 12 year old could never do what I do in a real plane. They wouldn't have the mental capability or discipline to go through years of study and training that a real pilot has to. But nice way of twisting my words.

These operators never had to go up in the cessna and learn stalls, steep-turns, ground ref. maneuvers, all kinds of takeoff's and landings. Hell, they probably don't even know how to do a weight and balance. They don't have to preflight their plane knowing that if they miss something important, they are going down. They have no stick and rudder skills. I just honestly don't even see how this is an argument. A pilot is someone who SITS IN A PLANE and PILOTS an aircraft. What happens if we have steerable torpedoes, does that make the junior petty officer steering it a captain all of a sudden? Should he get to wear 4 stripes on his shoulder? Of course not!

Quoting LongbowPilot (Reply 19):
DFC to a Predator Pilot who commanded a Predator

If he had any shred of pride, he would never wear nor acknowledge that he got it. And he would especially never wear it in front of real military pilots (unless he had a death wish).

*once again, this is only an argument for those operators who were NOT previous pilots.



Go Trojans! Fight On!
User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2391 posts, RR: 2
Reply 21, posted (6 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 22751 times:
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Quoting FlyUSCG (Reply 20):
These operators never had to go up in the cessna and learn stalls, steep-turns, ground ref. maneuvers, all kinds of takeoff's and landings. Hell, they probably don't even know how to do a weight and balance. They don't have to preflight their plane knowing that if they miss something important, they are going down. They have no stick and rudder skills. I just honestly don't even see how this is an argument. A pilot is someone who SITS IN A PLANE and PILOTS an aircraft.

I think the complaint is about your argument, and especially the tone you take, not your final position. I think there's a pretty fair case that a pilot* should be in the aircraft, but your position seems to be that you had to go through all sort of long and extensive training to become a "real" pilot. And that someone with a much briefer period of training isn't fit to call themselves a pilot. That's not really a meaningful argument unless you can demonstrate that all those long hours of training are actually required for the task at hand.

After all *many* professions use that kind of scheme simply to make their club more exclusive. IOW, you have to join the union, be an apprentice for years at starvation wages, pass silly state approved exams, and who knows what else, before you can call yourself a member of that profession. And that's all usually justified in the name of "safety" or "consumer protection."

You should try becoming a hairdresser in Illinois - not only do you need 1500 hours of classroom time, the practical requires that you demonstrate half a dozen hairstyles that haven't been seen on a human head since roughly the 1930s (and nothing newer than that). Oh, and you get to do that even if you're only wanting to braid hair, not cut it (this is apparently common in the African-American community - I personally don't know: I'm pretty sure hair has to be longer than half an inch to braid). I'm not sure how all that relates to public health and safety, but it clearly helps hairdressers keeps their rates up, since anyone who hasn't spent a year of their life in the training program will get shut down (and fined) by the state when they get caught. And "real" hairdressers apparently are fairly active in reporting the poachers.

While I'm not seriously comparing hairdressers and pilots (although it appears to be rather more difficult to become a hairdresser than a pilot, at least in Illinois), but rather that "I didn't spend 4 years in college getting a degree in aviation and several more weeks in intensive airline training to EARN the title of pilot..." is (by itself) as much an argument for the existence of your particular exclusive club, as "I EARNED the right to call my self a hairdresser because I..." is for their exclusive club.

And seriously? Weight and balances? If a significant fraction of pilots you know can actually work a weight and balance without using a preprinted form with step-by-step instructions, and can accurately explain the process and purpose (unless you can do that you're just punching keys on a calculator, or more likely a computer screen for larger aircraft), you're hanging around with a much more capable class of pilot than I do. Ask for a definition of a lever arm and watch the eyes glaze over...  boggled 


*of course they're also the operator, but does that make the title of "pilot" mean anything more than "I regularly place myself in the position where I'd be the first to arrive at the crash site?" And your argument about the stress of that position in an emergency argues for *removing* the operator from the aircraft - after all humans are notorious for making terrible decisions under that kind of pressure, no matter their training - let's keep the operator in a nice air-conditioned room with some soothing music playing in the background, where he's not worried about his own posterior, and has the maximum chance for thinking calmly and rationally about the crisis at had. And since that opens the whole "fully automated airliner" can of worms, I sincerely apologize to everyone else on a.net.  Wink


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8696 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (6 years 5 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 22650 times:

How is it not the same mental job? If flying a complex UAV is so easy, then how could it be hard to fly a manned jet like the B-2? They are similar machines aren't they? What about a drone B-2, is that suddenly trivially easy to fly, just because it's unmanned?

It just doesn't make sense. Either flying computerized aircraft is easy, or it is hard. Clearly, it really depends on systems. Let's say they make an unmanned C-117 for example. How is the "operator" any less a pilot? He is controlling a jet powered aircraft!!!


My point is, a pilot is someone in command of a jet aircraft. If he/she is not a "rated pilot," well maybe that's a scandal, and we need to get these people rated for the jet aircraft they are flying.


A 747 pilot commanding a real 747 via a simulator and sat link is still a 747 pilot in command of a 747. The same controls are being operated. The same jet is being flown. Who cares where the pilot's body is physically located? What is the big deal?

And how much danger are USAF pilots in, anyways? Strikes me as a rather safe operation. It's not like being a Green Beret and being shot at, or anything.


User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 997 posts, RR: 51
Reply 23, posted (6 years 5 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 22619 times:



Quoting Flighty (Reply 22):
How is it not the same mental job?

Stop right here: being a pilot is far more than the mental job. It's the physical job of being confined to a volume the size of a telephone booth for 8 hour combat sorties. It's the emotional job of knowing your life depends on a thousand factors out of your control. It's so many things that are completely removed from a UAV operator.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 22):
If flying a complex UAV is so easy, then how could it be hard to fly a manned jet like the B-2?

It's too bad there will never be a UAV which comes close to the complexity of the B-2.

UAVs are by design built to drastically reduce the workload to the operator on the ground. They are far more autonomous than even the most advanced manned aircraft. So even if an unmanned vehicle is ever developed with the B-2's capability, the operator still won't have the workload of a B-2 flight crew.

UAV = operator or technician
Manned aircraft = pilot

Quoting Flighty (Reply 22):
And how much danger are USAF pilots in, anyways? Strikes me as a rather safe operation. It's not like being a Green Beret and being shot at, or anything.

Easy to say from an arm chair. Being an combat aviator is not a safe profession by any definition of the word  Yeah sure


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8696 posts, RR: 3
Reply 24, posted (6 years 5 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 22596 times:

Fair enough. I agree with the things you say DFW. It is a hard question and I don't think I agree with either one of our posts, entirely.

25 Rwessel : Historically it's as bad or worse. For example, the USAAF suffered casualties totaling 5.1% of its strength in WWII, vs. 10% for the rest of the army
26 2H4 : It's not the same mental job because UAV operators never have to cope with the distraction that the consequences of their actions could be fatal. Pil
27 113312 : Here is the definition, from Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1: Pilot in command means the person who: (1) Has final authority and responsib
28 Tugger : Well, this is going about how my thinking was going that lead to the question. On one hand UAV pilot/operators are just glorified video game joystick
29 MD11Engineer : That's the ultimate politician's dream: No human in the chain, who e.g. can refuse to pull the trigger. Every order will be carried out, even if it i
30 Wrighbrothers : In my opinion they aren't pilots. My view on it is, they don't learn how to actualy physicaly fly a real aircraft and don't earn pilot wings, they don
31 113312 : Sorry to say, your opinion is only an opinion not based upon fact or any knowlege of the subject. Most UAS today are operated by the military who req
32 LongbowPilot : Reports from actualy Combat Aviators indicates fatigue to be a real problem, plus MANPADS, Small Arms, RPGs, DShK's, weather, fuel, and just flat out
33 Par13del : I would like to add another wrinkle to this discussion. First a UAV Operator does not have to be a pilot, there are some simulations which are more co
34 LongbowPilot : Then Skynet comes online and the UAV's target man with Nuclear Weapons!! Sorry couldn't resist! -Attack
35 Flexo : I would compare it to a simulator (check) ride that airline pilots regularly do. Sure, their lifes are not at stake there, but they will still be unde
36 Post contains images Glideslope : These types of arguments are precisely why Secretary Gates canned the top 2 Air Force talking heads last month (although the KC-30 scam was a factor a
37 LongbowPilot : Skynet! Well, airliner pilots often call themselves more Cockpit Managers then pilots, but when a MD88 's right main outboard landing gear tire shred
38 RC135X : Agreed. My 17 year-old-son is a fully qualified UAV operator by virtue of his Flight Simulator PC experience. He is NOT, however, a pilot by any mean
39 GST : I cannot speak for our cousins from other nations, but in 39 sqn RAF, they fly Reapers into combat on a fairly regular basis now. All of the operator
40 SlamClick : I guess they can be called pilots. We call a kid just out of basic training a soldier. We call a mission payload specialist an astronaut, but they are
41 LongbowPilot : Rated Pilots from Rated Airframes are Pilots even if they fly UAVs. Since they are rated aviators and have piloted real aircraft on real combat missi
42 Post contains images SlamClick : Earning my Distinguished Ranting Cross in another theater.   Fact is, I took an option to leave active duty about three months early so I left the s
43 SlamClick : Any opinion that the Airbus was "crashproof" certainly is resistant to reality and headlines. Any perception that it is easy to master the aircraft (
44 Post contains links SlamClick : That is a violation of DoD's own policy. Check it out here: http://www.tioh.hqda.pentagon.mil/Awards/DFC1.html To quote from that site, regarding cri
45 Tugger : Sorry Slam, I would have to say that YES, he is participating in the flight, just like for Apollo 11 both CAPCOM and the Flight Controller are partic
46 SlamClick : Well it appears that you asked the question and now you don't like the answers you got from those of us who actually know what they are talking about.
47 Tugger : I don't mind the answers one bit. They all add to the information of defining what UAV operators (better?) are. As I said they appear to be on the sp
48 LongbowPilot : So this is a UAV job, but the experience required calls for ACTUAL hands on flight time. So even though there is a job for a UAV pilot, the company i
49 LongbowPilot : That is the very problem with UAV operators pilots are having these days. The Coke Bottled Glasses Gadget Geeks that are hired to do this job are ask
50 SlamClick : You are correct. That was my position. In the case of the Apollo missions, exemplary service was performed by thousands who stayed on the ground. Her
51 Post contains images 2H4 : What, $1300 per month hazard pay isn't reward enough? At the end of the day, and regardless of definitions or semantics, pilots have a skill set abov
52 Post contains links and images Scooter01 : According to this, there will not be much need for a "pilot" the way we understand the word: http://en.itek.norut.no/norut_troms/...nyhetsarkiv/h_ytsv
53 Propjett : Not quite....said 12 year old doesnt have a multi-million dollar piece of equipment on the other end with 500 pound bombs attached, that can KILL peo
54 Cloudy : Correct me if I'm missing something...but....I don't see how it could be cost effective to train people to fly the most capable and expensive UAV's wi
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