Reapers over Fort Drum

Members of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse began flying training sorties with MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft out of the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on the grounds of Ft. Drum. Federal Aviation Administration approval for these flights came earlier this month, enabling the first sortie to occur on Oct. 18, according to wing officials. These training flights will support the new MQ-9 formal training unit that is scheduled to begin operating at Hancock Field, the wing’s headquarters, in November. Initially, the wing will conduct approximately three training sorties per week from Wheeler-Sack in the special-use airspace in that area. The Air Guardsmen of the FTU will train active duty, ANG, Air Force Reserve, and foreign military MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators. Ft. Drum is located near Watertown, which is north of Syracuse near eastern shore of Lake Ontario. (Hancock Field release)