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Tugger
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How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 23, 2008 6:10 pm

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
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2H4
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 23, 2008 8:36 pm

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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vzlet
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 2:30 am



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
 
Flighty
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 5:49 am

Welcome to the first war you can fight from your hospital bed. Sorry if that joke offends somebody.  Smile
 
CX747
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 5:18 pm

Ahh Dos Gringos!!!! Don't worry boy's there are still F-22s and F-35s on the way.
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DfwRevolution
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 6:08 pm

IMO, a UAV pilot is just another type of weapons system officer. Not a pilot.
 
MCIGuy
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 8:33 pm

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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HaveBlue
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 9:03 pm

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.
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cloudy
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 9:18 pm



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.
 
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat May 24, 2008 9:24 pm



Quoting Cloudy (Reply 8):

Yeah, that makes sense, geosynchronous sats orbit at about 22,000 miles or so.  Smile
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LongbowPilot
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Mon May 26, 2008 8:17 pm

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
 
redflyer
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 1:39 am



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.
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2H4
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 2:41 am



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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redflyer
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:17 am



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.
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FlyUSCG
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:18 am



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.
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2H4
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:31 am



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.

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redflyer
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:32 am



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.
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redflyer
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 3:34 am



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'.
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Moose135
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 2:18 pm

From the outstanding Air Force Blues comic strip:

KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
LongbowPilot
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 4:32 pm

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
 
FlyUSCG
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue May 27, 2008 4:52 pm



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.
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rwessel
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Wed May 28, 2008 9:47 am



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
 
Flighty
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Thu May 29, 2008 8:44 pm

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.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Thu May 29, 2008 10:28 pm



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
 
Flighty
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 30, 2008 12:19 am

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.
 
rwessel
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 30, 2008 1:13 am



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.

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. But those 5% represent a higher fraction of fatalities, and are concentrated in much smaller percentage of the overall population that the ground combat arms.

Being a combat pilot is by no stretch of the imagination safe.

Several recent wars without meaningful opposition in the air or even serious SAM or AAA threats have resulted in fairly low casualties, but that doesn’t change things.
 
2H4
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 30, 2008 1:23 am



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

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.

Pilots do have to cope with that distraction, and they have to do so without letting it affect their performance or concentration.

2H4
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113312
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 30, 2008 3:25 am

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 responsibility for the operation and
safety of the flight;
(2) Has been designated as pilot in command before or during the
flight; and
(3) Holds the appropriate category, class, and type rating, if
appropriate, for the conduct of the flight.

As you can see, it has nothing to do with being in or on the aircraft. If an aircraft is in the air, then there must be a Pilot in Command.

This has been discussed endlessly in the UAS community and the FAA agrees that the airborne part of an Unmanned Aerial System is an "aircraft" and the person responsible for it's flightpath and compliance with operating rules is a "pilot".

Extensive use of automation and programming assist in the operation of the airborne element, but it remains an aircraft under the responsibility and authority of a pilot.
 
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Tugger
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 30, 2008 7:27 am

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 pushers but I know that remotely piloting a vehicle is not easy (flying recon ops is a different animal than combat, its tough to always keep the target in sight and unknowing that your there. You try maneuvering a 350kt plane to keep an eye on a person walking in a canyon).

I don't agree with the concept of complexity or danger classifying whether someone is a pilot as some ATP's just punch buttons and let the systems run 90% (99%?) of the flight. While the beginning 172 pilot does it all manually.

And as to the concept that its the risk involved that determines it, well we all know that flying is the safest form of transport so almost no pilots get in it for the "risk" that the first to fly experienced. In fact I reckon that if danger were a regular part of flying then there would be many fewer pilots. This of course excludes most military pilots but then I don't think anyone here has suggested that they are the only "real" pilots.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 26):
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.

Pilots do have to cope with that distraction, and they have to do so without letting it affect their performance or concentration.

This make me wonder of the day that a human/UAV combo out flies and out fights a "real" fighter pilot due to the fact that the plane is no longer limited by having to keep the pilot alive. And the pilot/operator is not distracted or worried while giving the plane the ability to fly like there's a human on board that wants to stay alive (and I don't think that the UAV operator/pilot will just let his plane go down in flames, I think it will ultimately become very competitive).

I think the scariest thing would/will be if they remove the human from the equation. Same reasoning goes to keeping a human on a passenger plane, if something goes wrong you want a human to have control.

It's a brave new world.

Tugg
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 30, 2008 11:08 am



Quoting Tugger (Reply 28):
I think the scariest thing would/will be if they remove the human from the equation. Same reasoning goes to keeping a human on a passenger plane, if something goes wrong you want a human to have control.

It's a brave new world.

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 is unlawfull.

Jan
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wrighbrothers
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Fri May 30, 2008 2:14 pm

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't have to deal with G-force, the danger of being blown out the sky and fatigue.
They are in affect comparable to someone who does flight simulator. They might be able to land a plane perfectly, take off and whatever, but they don't actualy fly a plane and as anyone who's flown a plane knows, there's a massive differance between flight simulator and the real thing, hece they aren't pilots.


That's my opinion atleast
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sun Jun 08, 2008 3:37 pm



Quoting Newdan (Reply 31):
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't have to deal with G-force, the danger of being blown out the sky and fatigue.
They are in affect comparable to someone who does flight simulator. They might be able to land a plane perfectly, take off and whatever, but they don't actualy fly a plane and as anyone who's flown a plane knows, there's a massive differance between flight simulator and the real thing, hece they aren't pilots.

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 require the pilots to be pilots. In spite of their prior aeronautical experience, training to fly systems such as Predator and Reaper is long and highly technical. These are difficult aircraft to master because of limitations in controls, displays, optics and response times. Many types of Unmanned Aircraft do not have automatic landing or takeoff capabilities and must be flown or launced. The fact that there are no physical attributes to flight, such as G forces, actually make control more difficult.

Reports from actual UAS pilots indicate fatigue to be a real problem.

These emerging technology systems are not video games. A gamer is not responsible for an expensive piece of hardware that can crash nor is a gamer going to have any consequenses from incorrectly handling the simulated aircraft. A UAS pilot is responsible for a real plane that is in actual flight. It is a plane where the cockpit isn't connect to the rest of the aircraft but is remoted to another location perhaps thousands of miles away.
 
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:10 pm



Quoting 113312 (Reply 32):
Reports from actual UAS pilots indicate fatigue to be a real problem.

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 being there where you are looking.

Hate to break it to you chief. I get tired of sitting at my computer typing up Memos, but I do not claim to be a Secretary.

UAS can call themselves pilots if they want to. It is all right in the end, the punch line of their introduction is...

"I fly in the Military"
(Gotta sell myself as Tom Cruise!)
"What do you fly"

"Warriors, Ravens, you name it I fly it"
(Have to say something other then UAVs)
"Wow what are they like?"

"Small, Stealthy, Lethal"
(Gotta Sell this so I can get some)

"Must be very demanding work"

"Yes, I flew over 600 hours of combat time in Iraq and saved a lot of people"
(Gotta Sell it some more, she isn't biting)

"That is Amazing! How Big are they?"

"8 meters long"
(Give it in meters so it seems bigger)...

I can keep going here, but in the end there is no Sex Appeal for the term pilot in the world of UAS's. Call yourself a pilot in a room of pilots and they will probably accept what you are telling them. Just realize that your credibility will deteriorate exponentially the more they talk about maneuvers, ballistic effects, battle damage experiences, looking over your should out a canopy and seeing blood and guts live and in color, and you ultimately confess your inadequacy of knowledge. Then the truth comes out, and everyone has a laugh that they thought you were a pilot. They probably will poke fun at you for a minute but then buy you a beer for being bold enough to try.

So call yourself a pilot, call yourself whatever you want. Pilots, aka Aviators who actually strap on the aircraft, violating a few laws of nature about creatures that are not built with wings should not fly will never agree that you are of equal caliber as them. I'm sure UAS Jocks feel they are of Higher Caliber then pilots of full sized aircraft because they get it done quietly and stay aloft longer.

Are you a pilot? Who cares what anyone else thinks. You call it like you see it. I will still call you, and many on here will agree, an operator.
 
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:51 pm

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 complicated than the existing military UAV's in terms of functions - monitors -, as already mentioned, the current UAV are purposely designed to be operated remotely, consider some of the displays and controls that could be automated.

My wrinkle is the cost, essentially, the military industrial complex has been pushing UAV's because it can provide the same benefit without placing a human being at risk. This may sound morbid, but it all comes down to cost in the long run, your family member is irreplaceable, but the financials do not work like that, a specific cost is assigned to each military, police or fire fighter personnel. The cost of a Raptor, even the B2 is "through the roof", the latest UAV's are slowly but surely climbing with the more capabilities added to them. We may eventually get to a point where it is cheaper to place a human in a prop a/c to shoot down UAV's rather than buy your own remote control UAV killer, and they are coming, no one is going to sit and allow UAV's free and unfettered access to their air space. We already have satellite killers, are UAV's that more difficult?

Just a thought
 
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat Jun 28, 2008 2:45 am

Then Skynet comes online and the UAV's target man with Nuclear Weapons!!

Sorry couldn't resist!

-Attack
 
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat Jun 28, 2008 10:15 am

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 under a lot of stress facing unknown situations always with the knowledge of being monitored and their actions affecting their future career.

Is it the same as knowing that a wrong move might kill you? Absolutely not! But I doubt pilots take a failure in a simulator light heartedly knowing that it might mean unemployment.

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 23):
It's too bad there will never be a UAV which comes close to the complexity of the B-2.

Here I would most strongly disagree. Sure, most of us might not live to see it, but unmanned combat aviation is the future, you can already see the beginnings now. Air to air combat aircraft could be a lot more maneuverable if they didn't have to worry about max g-forces that their pilots can cope with.

Maybe the real question we need to ask is, how much of a pilot is a pilot of a modern jet aircraft equipped with auto-pilot and auto-land? I know that a lot of pilots I talked to feel like "operators" rather than pilots most of the time!
 
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:27 am

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 as well.)

The future is with unmanned airframes at least in the combat theater. I don't see it happening in civilian AC until long after I'm pushing daisies.

The I'm a pilot your not argument is dead. The decisions have been made. The days of sending in 2 F-15E's at 100' into Pakistan are over. As are loitering a B-2 for 20 hrs above the Afghan border waiting for a go.

Here at the 174th we just deployed on our last mission of CAS in the Gulf. The Vipers will be gone by this time next year, and the Reapers will be operational,by 2010.

Pilots have the option to transfer of fly Reapers. Some will, some won't. Some Reaper pilots will be off the street so to speak. Although given the state of the art the base is transforming into I'm planning on seeing transfers.

Are they all pilots? You bet.

Time to move forward, the decisions have been made. There is no going back.


  

[Edited 2008-06-28 04:29:42]

[Edited 2008-06-28 04:30:48]
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat Jun 28, 2008 5:15 pm



Quoting Flexo (Reply 36):
Here I would most strongly disagree. Sure, most of us might not live to see it, but unmanned combat aviation is the future, you can already see the beginnings now. Air to air combat aircraft could be a lot more maneuverable if they didn't have to worry about max g-forces that their pilots can cope with.

Skynet!

Quoting Flexo (Reply 36):
Maybe the real question we need to ask is, how much of a pilot is a pilot of a modern jet aircraft equipped with auto-pilot and auto-land? I know that a lot of pilots I talked to feel like "operators" rather than pilots most of the time!

Well, airliner pilots often call themselves more Cockpit Managers then pilots, but when a MD88 's right main outboard landing gear tire shreds at rotation sending debris into the #2 engine causing it to FOD out and jamming the inboard flaps at Take Off settings ( do not know the degrees sorry) That is the time a PILOT earns his pay, hours of boredom followed by seconds of shear terror. That is why he is a trained, qualified, experienced pilot not an operator or manager in the end.

Quoting Glideslope (Reply 37):
Are they all pilots? You bet.

Sure we will allow them to call themselves pilots. I mean it is the PC thing to do, no one wants to hurt anyone else's feelings on here. After all operators is more like a phone technician anyway.

BTW what does UAV pilot training and experience get you in the civil aviation world these days, owner of a Hobby Shop?

Quoting Glideslope (Reply 37):
Time to move forward, the decisions have been made. There is no going back.

We have traditions, created in the past and honored by those of the future. Pilots are the people that strap it on, not launch it from a air-conditioned cracker-jack-box console.

-Attack
 
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sat Jun 28, 2008 9:42 pm



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

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 means.

People who fly radio-controlled model airplanes are NOT pilots, nor have they ever been treated as such.

Just as we invested too much in satellite technology at the expense of HUMINT, thanks to technology we are on the same road toward eliminating the single greatest asset any nation can employ in aerial warfare: an experienced aviator.
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:43 am

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 crews are military pilots from the fast jet, rotary, and maritime patrol communities from all 3 armed services. 40% of them have real ground attack experience in non UAV aircraft.

Sure, they will not die if they mess up, but if they mess up is the possibility someone else might die not as real either?

If they fail so spot that IED in front of a convoy, people could die. If they fail to drop that bomb on the group of insurgents pinning down a foot patrol, people could die. If they drop the bomb more than 30m from where it was needed, friendlies could die. If they fail to spot an ambush, people might die.

ALL of them are real pilots, and I believe most do still retain their type ratings for the aircraft they flew before joining 39 sqn.

Quoting LongbowPilot (Reply 38):
but when a MD88 's right main outboard landing gear tire shreds at rotation sending debris into the #2 engine causing it to FOD out and jamming the inboard flaps at Take Off settings

In military aircraft there is a playbook of types of damage and reactions. Some are "limp home as best you can" scenarios. Some are "make emergency landing on the nearest runway asap". Some are "eject right the fuck now!"

UAV pilots are able to do all the above tasks without the added stress of worrying for their own lives. In an "eject eject eject" scenario, a pilot in the cockpit is punched out, and the aircraft loses all control, who knows where it may land? In a UAV, the pilot is already ejected, and may still retain enough control of the aircraft to stop it crashing with its bomb load into a house occupied by 16 of the poorest people on the planet.

Is that not the cornerstone of military aviation? Keeping innocents out of the line of fire as much as possible?

In short, operators of UAVs are as much as the Harrier pilot, the 747 pilot, the jet ranger pilot, or the weekend flier in his piper cub.
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:56 pm

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 at risk too.

I'm a pilot. So is a Private Pilot, Airplane single-engine land. Says so right there on their license.

I've seen a guy in a CAP uniform talking to Pappy Boyington and anyone could see, they were both pilots.

I really have no problem with it.

It is the rest of this stuff that bothers me.

Military Pilot wings: No way in hell. They have not undergone the same program and there are a hundred other implicit differences. The Army had a program back in the 1970s, don't know if it is still around or not. It was called Senior Officer Flying Course and it involved probably less training and flight experience than a private pilot would get. At the end of SOFC a general officer would get the same wings a real Army Aviator wears. Disgraceful! And shame on those strutting little banty rooster generals who would wear a decoration they had not earned.

Campaign Medals Campaign medals are for someone who has been there, on the ground or in the air (even the stratosphere for bomber crew) or in the coastal waters, IN HARM'S WAY for hell's sake. Sitting in an air conditioned bunker in Nevada does not warrant a campaign medal any more than the factory workers who build the predator deserve one. If there is a need for such a thing let us strike a war service medal that can be given to all who participate in the war effort, but a campaign medal is for campaigning. If they can't shoot back, have you really been to war? Some of us know the difference.

Other medals I think we can all agree that a commendation medal or superior service, hell, even the legion of merit if the contribution warrants. But DFC? Silver Star? Even the lowly Air Medal - no way, NEVER!

Next time I am in a room full of my fellow combat veterans I am going to have to see if we could even compose the citation:
Despite not having the most recent database uploads, and without regard for the health hazards of transitioning from the hot, dry Nevada air to the climate controlled bunker, Airman Dweebins pressed the attack from a position a mere seven thousand miles from enemy positions and...


How about a Purple Heart for RSI from the trackball?

But hell, they can be pilots.

In fact I'd buy if I could stand at the bar and hear them explain how they earned the medals.

edit: punctuation

[Edited 2008-06-29 08:29:18]
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LongbowPilot
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sun Jun 29, 2008 2:57 pm

Quoting GST (Reply 40):
In short, operators of UAVs are as much as the Harrier pilot, the 747 pilot, the jet ranger pilot, or the weekend flier in his piper cub.

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 missions, those pilots are still pilots. They don't lose the title.

What the most on here are saying is the UAV types that have never throttled up, pulled pitch, or catapulted at the controls of a full scale combat aircraft; but have been brought up in air-conditioned connexes watching a television set, should not be elevated to the same position or stature as a aviator or pilot.

The argument is most of us aviators go from 1-2 years of flight training, learning aerodynamics, combat tactics, complex aircraft systems, multiple weapon systems, lethality ranges, terrain flight navigation, civil and branch regulations, flight rules, etc. The "cut" pilots come from is far more restrictive then the requirement for Army UAV operators for example.

Pilots will always have a beef with their titles. A UAV guy can call himself a pilot if he wants. I cannot tell him otherwise, but pilots will always argue the subject with non-rated types that have never served time in real combat aircraft. That is the bottom line here.

Serious Question... What does UAV experience get you in the civil world?

SLAMCLICK where you been on this issue, been waiting for your help!

[Edited 2008-06-29 08:00:21]
 
SlamClick
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sun Jun 29, 2008 3:27 pm

Quoting LongbowPilot (Reply 42):
SLAMCLICK where you been on this issue, been waiting for your help!

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 service with a couple of medals and numerous OLCs pending. They didn't make it onto my DD214 so I don't wear them, don't claim them, wouldn't even mention them if it were not germane to this discussion. It has always been very clear to me; a gentleman does not lay claim to that which he has not earned, a man does not try to cloak himself in another's glory. I wore the green beret. I have never claimed to have "been a green beret" Let me make it perfectly clear to one and all, I am a leg! They just needed my services and the uniform called for the headgear, the "AIRBORNE" tab is part of the unit patch, "De Opresso Liber" part of the crest. I have far too much respect for the real sneaky petes to lump my puny contribution in with theirs.

So UAV herders can call themselves pilots. I really don't care. Theirs is an honorable contribution, if they do their job well they have my respect for that. You and I have another standard for what "pilot" can mean. You and I shall always know the difference.

edit: more punctuation

[Edited 2008-06-29 09:07:00]
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SlamClick
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:21 pm

Quoting RedFlyer (Reply 13):
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.

Any opinion that the Airbus was "crashproof" certainly is resistant to reality and headlines. Any perception that it is easy to master the aircraft (as opposed to "flying" it) is rooted in one's ignorance of the airplane and what it takes to check out in it.

The FBW 'bus has had far too many crashes that have, as a common factor, the pilots' inability to understand the automation. The Habsheim weedwhacker is only the best-known of these. I could cite many more. I've taught Boeing pilots to fly the Airbus and it challenges their abilities and even, despite AQP programs, has a failure rate.

By the way, the Airbus can be flown, just as if it was an airplane.
We just use a lot of automation because that is more efficient - just as we did on Boeing, Douglas, and Lockheed products.

edit: Just setting the record straight regarding a previous post. Any further discussion should probably be a new thread in tech/ops.

[Edited 2008-06-29 09:33:33]
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SlamClick
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:31 pm



Quoting LongbowPilot (Reply 19):
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.

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 criteria for awarding the DFC.
The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. The performance of the act of heroism must be evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty. The extraordinary achievement must have resulted in an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding as to clearly set the individual apart from his/her comrades or from other persons in similar circumstances. Awards will be made only to recognize single acts of heroism or extraordinary achievement and will not be made in recognition of sustained operational activities against an armed enemy.

Bolding mine.

Now can someone tell me how that guy controlling the Predator was "participating" in that flight in any way more significant than my participation in the Apollo 11 mission?

The language is about the same for the Air Medal.

Of course standing around in circles pinning medals on each other is hardly a new activity among REMFs.
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Tugger
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:59 am



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 45):
The Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 45):
Now can someone tell me how that guy controlling the Predator was "participating" in that flight in any way more significant than my participation in the Apollo 11 mission?

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 participating. And I guarantee you that the astronauts wouldn't have gotten to the moon without them.

Now again as to UAV pilots and operators, are they pilot's? Yeah probably, but as has been pointed out here, there are a multitude of different types of pilots. Just depends on where they are slotted in that line up. They are after all piloting an aircraft and are responsible for its safe operation. And no some teenage kid playing FlightSim 2008 is not qualified to pilot a UAV. Let's be smarter than that.

Found this job posting for a General Atomics UAV pilot:

Quote:
UAV Pilot
Company: GA - Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
http://www.flitejobs.com/aviation_jobs_board/view_job.php?id=349
description:

GA - Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

Company Description:
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. is among the leading technology employers in the San Diego area. We offer a challenging and rewarding work environment, competitive salaries, and a comprehensive benefits package which includes the following:

Job Description:
Instrument Rated RPA Pilot (UAV Pilot) TJ611-2651 Pilot a Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) from a ground control station. Responsible for the operation of the vehicle including mission planning. Will also have additional flight related collateral duties. This position requires travel for six to eight months of the year on a two to three month rotation both within and outside the Continental United States. Operations will be conducted at the El Mirage Flight Operations Facility or overseas.

Experience Required:
Commercial pilot's license with instrument rating with a minimum of 300 hours Pilot In Command time. Applicants selected will be subject to a Government security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information. Desirable qualifications: CFI preferred. Prior experience in UAV operation, mission planning and actual control of aircraft is desired.

So I phrased the original thread post question properly.

Tugg
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SlamClick
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:39 am

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.

Quoting Tugger (Reply 46):
And I guarantee you that the astronauts wouldn't have gotten to the moon without them.

They wouldn't have gotten to the moon without their third grade teachers either but their third grade teachers are not awarded astronaut wings.

This isn't the special olympics. Everybody doesn't get a trophy.

Quoting Tugger (Reply 46):
he is participating in the flight, just like for Apollo 11 both CAPCOM and the Flight Controller are participating.

Right, and again, those people did not get astronaut wings. Those people don't make it into the history books for good reason, exceptions like Gene Kranz and Deke Slayton are separate cases.

I don't think there is any doubt whatever that the original language "participating in aerial flight" meant ONBOARD THE AIRPLANE IN COMBAT or other especially hazardous circumstances. That has been upheld in WW II, Korea, Vietnam and by men displaying more bravery than is possible sitting in a bunker in Nevada

Ordnance men in England in 1943 didn't get DFCs. Brave men working the flight deck at Yankee Station off north Vietnam didn't get DFCs. Ground crew doing hot refuel-rearm while mortar rounds drop around them didn't get DFCs. Most doorgunners in Vietnam never got one. Most B-17 enlisted crew in the ETO never got one. To award it to anyone, anywhere, for NOT LEAVING THE GROUND cheapens the medal and is a slap in the face to all who actually earned it.

Disagree? How about this part?

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 45):
The performance of the act of heroism must be evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty.

Sitting in a bunker in Nevada? How very brave. How proud you must be!

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 45):
The extraordinary achievement must have resulted in an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding as to clearly set the individual apart from his/her comrades or from other persons in similar circumstances.

Get that? "exceptional" "outstanding" "clearly set the individual apart..."

Hailie Selassie and Idi Amin awarded themselves hundreds of medals. It didn't make them soldiers. It made them buffoons.

Pilot? Perhaps. Combatant? Nope, sorry. Combat involves at very least, YOU being shot at. You being able to shoot back in optional.
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RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:17 am



Quoting SlamClick (Reply 47):
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.

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 spectrum of pilots and many if not most are in fact certified pilots. The question really is down to what their duties while piloting a UAV (in battle situations, surveillance, or otherwise) mean.

And I am not trying to denigrate in flight combat pilots or otherwise cheapen the contributions of the many fine people award the DFC and other medals of extraordinary aerial accomplishments.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 47):
They wouldn't have gotten to the moon without their third grade teachers either but their third grade teachers are not awarded astronaut wings.

I don't think that what I offered in any implied that I was referring to every single person in a persons life.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 47):
This isn't the special olympics.

It is like the Special Olympics: Even if you win, you're still retarded. (Old joke, had to offer it. All in good humor.  Wink )

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 47):
exceptions like Gene Kranz and Deke Slayton are separate cases.

Categorize the exceptions, that's where the strange and exceptional awards will occur.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 47):

Disagree? How about this part?

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 45):
The performance of the act of heroism must be evidenced by voluntary action above and beyond the call of duty.

Sitting in a bunker in Nevada? How very brave. How proud you must be!

You forget that UAV operators also pilot their aircraft from the field to. Sometime in the future, there may be a UAV operator whose life is on the line, whose location is compromised and faces immanent death at the hands of the enemy but they do not abandon their operation to feed critical information and provide lifesaving aerial support and weapons action to the troops on the ground. And without their self sacrifice and some may say valor, in combination with their aviation knowledge and skills the battle would otherwise be lost along with their fellow comrades in battle.


I know its a "fantasy example" but disrespect gets no one anywhere. I do not disrespect your opinion on whether they are pilots or operators. But I also do not disrespect the job they do and how important it may become in the future and the situations they may face. I don't pretend to know what will happen in battles in the future. You may disagree but they are piloting an aircraft, and the decisions they make can affect affect the lives of troops on the ground. They may never win a medal but it doesn't make them less important to the battle. it doesn't lessen the need for their skill and ability.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 47):
Pilot? Perhaps. Combatant? Nope, sorry. Combat involves at very least, YOU being shot at. You being able to shoot back in optional.

See my previous comment.

With all due respect and best regards,

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
 
LongbowPilot
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:16 am

RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:46 pm



Quoting Tugger (Reply 46):
Experience Required:
Commercial pilot's license with instrument rating with a minimum of 300 hours Pilot In Command time. Applicants selected will be subject to a Government security investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified information. Desirable qualifications: CFI preferred. Prior experience in UAV operation, mission planning and actual control of aircraft is desired.

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 is seeking a CPL. Do UAV operators receive these civil ratings as apart of their training, or is there no civil transition.

Better example is as a graduate of Fort Rucker's Initial Entry Rotary Wing one also qualifies and can attain the Commercial Instrument Rotary Certificate from the FAA. Do UAV operators receive this cert?
 
LongbowPilot
Posts: 526
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 4:16 am

RE: How Much Of A Pilot Is A UAV Pilot?

Mon Jun 30, 2008 3:20 pm



Quoting Tugger (Reply 48):
They may never win a medal but it doesn't make them less important to the battle. it doesn't lessen the need for their skill and ability.

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 asking for Crew Member Wings, and all the other awards and honors of combat pilots.

This is where the contention is on whether they are pilots or operators. If they receive the mainstream definition of pilots they will probably start entitlements such as flight pay, and other aviation specific MOS'es qualify for. Combat Pilots are against this idea, because of the reason their AR$$'es are not on the line like ours. They are not apart of the aircraft physically over head, and therefore should not warrant the title, pay, awards, or badges given to actualy pilots or crew members that man these aircraft.

We are not lessening their needs or abilities, they offer a lot in this current world. They give the JOC and Intel marvelous real time data. They allow people to see and hear the battle unfold on their monitors instead of trying to piece it together via a Radio Hand Mic.

So to award a UAV operator anything that remotely resembles an honor for the actual pilot flying on station is extremely disrespectful for the people who are actually in the line of fire.

Quoting Tugger (Reply 48):
Sometime in the future, there may be a UAV operator whose life is on the line, whose location is compromised and faces immanent death at the hands of the enemy but they do not abandon their operation to feed critical information and provide lifesaving aerial support and weapons action to the troops on the ground

There are a few UAV trained infantry out there, they are Raven Operators embedded in combat foot patrols. They carry a small hand launch-able UAV and yes they are in harms way, but they have several PARALLEL awards that carry the same merit as a DFC and AM that they should be awarded, not AVIATION SPECIFIC.

Hope this all clears up the water for you tugger.

-Attack

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