New Breed Pilot Flies Mini-UAVs:

Air Force enlisted security forces members are flying tiny aerial reconnaissance aircraft that aid them in protecting USAF installations. These are not hobby remote-controlled toy airplanes, say the “cop-pilots,” who must attend specialized training to learn how to pilot the tiny birds—about three feet long and weighing seven pounds—called Desert Hawks. Right now, Air Force News Service reports that there are about six cop-pilots in Southwest Asia. They pair up—pilot and co-pilot—to launch their aircraft via a bungee cord in what’s termed a slingshot takeoff. At a predetermined speed, the motor kicks in and the aircraft begins its patrol, delivering real-time data to the pilot for analysis and action. The UAVs fly themselves, unless the pilot sees a problem, then he (or she) can take control.