Air Force Can't Convince Anyone to Pilot Drones
It's mostly a dull job
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Aug 22, 2013 9:39 AM CDT
A student pilot and sensor operator man the controls of a MQ-9 Reaper in a ground-based cockpit during a training mission flown from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, New York.   (AP Photo/TSgt Ricky Best, Defense Department)

(Newser) – It turns out, killing people by remote control is an unpopular profession. The Air Force is having trouble recruiting new drone pilots, a new Brookings Institute report reveals, and the ones it already has quit at three times the rate of its manned pilots. The problem: It's a boring job. When not carrying out assassinations, drones generally perform surveillance missions, which are both dull and require around-the-clock shifts, Popular Science reports.

The job is also stressful and time-consuming, meaning pilots rarely get a chance for other training or education, dampening their future career prospects. Another limiting factor: The Air Force currently requires pilots to be commissioned officers, meaning they need a bachelor's degree. The Army, by contrast, allows people with only high school diplomas to fly its drones.

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Showing 3 of 47 comments
1freeusa
Aug 24, 2013 6:50 PM CDT
maybe renegade drone piolets will be usefull and retarget to NSA headquarters. Time to know the real threat to Our American freedoms.
jgarbuz
Aug 23, 2013 10:37 PM CDT
Still probably pays better and kills fewer people in the long run than flipping burgers.
NorCalHal
Aug 23, 2013 1:53 PM CDT
With all the unfavorable coverage in today's press, telling people you are a UAV / drone pilot may not be accepted well in some groups. Air Force officers that normally receive considerable respect may not be suited for the position. The Army probably has the better approach. The Air Force normally doesn't let a non-com operate anything that costs more than a few thousand dollars while sergeants and Warrants in the Army fly multi-million dollar helicopters and command million dollar tanks. If you have a college degree sitting behind a monitor and running a joy stick for hours probably seems like a waste of your talents, training and time.