Unmanned Beta Effort Bears Initial Fruit

The first eight officers with no previous flying backgrounds being trained to pilot the MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted vehicle were among the class of 10 pilots and nine sensor operators that graduated from initial qualification training at Creech AFB, Nev., on Sept. 25. These eight officers are the first bunch to undergo the service’s beta test program of teaching airmen who have not attended undergraduate pilot training to operate RPVs. The goal is to see whether USAF can bolster the ranks of the service’s RPV operators more quickly to meet the increasing demand of warfighters for continual overhead sensor coverage. A second beta class is currently underway. The training at Creech included 16 simulator events and nine Predator flights. The eight officers began their training in January with an initial flight screening course in Pueblo Colo. (Creech report by Ryan Mattox)