Air Force Can't Convince Anyone to Pilot Drones

It's mostly a dull job

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 22, 2013 9:39 AM CDT

(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.

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.
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)
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