Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

Flying an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

Flying an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) April 23, 2002 -- The Predator is just like every other aircraft, you just don't ride in it.

That's the conclusion of Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Mathewson, commander of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. He should know, as his unit flies 24 of the unmanned aerial vehicles on missions around the world.

Mathewson, who flew F-15Cs before joining the squadron, said pilots qualified in other aircraft feel right at home in the Predator world.

The whole process involved in flying a mission in a Predator is virtually the same as any other aircraft, he said. Before the mission pilots attend briefings covering weather, route and intelligence reports.

"You step to the airplane and do the pre-flight check," Mathewson said. "When you're finished, instead of getting in the cockpit, you get in a ground-control station."

The transportable station is like a cockpit. Predators are flown the same as crewed aircraft are. A pilot sits in the left seat, the officer in charge of the sensors is in the right seat and behind them is a flight engineer. The cockpit control array includes a stick, rudder and all the other switches, buttons and lights any other plane would have.

Once in, they start engines, taxi and it's "ready for takeoff."

The same procedures apply upon landing. "We land, taxi back and debrief the mission just like any other," Mathewson said.

Mathewson said there were some surprises when he came to the aircraft. "For one, it's larger than I thought," he said. "Also, when you are flying the aircraft, you know you're not aboard it, but you think you are."

Mathewson, who has commanded the squadron for 18 months, said pilots also realize they're not in simulators, but on real missions. There's no pushing the reset button if they're "shot down" or encounter an unrecoverable problem.

"You are aware that what you're controlling is a real aircraft," he said. And, in fact, flying the Predator is harder than flying a manned aircraft in many ways, he added.

"It's more challenging than landing an F-15," he said. "There's no sound, no 'seat-of-the-pants' feel to it, and the peripheral vision is limited."

Maintenance of the aircraft is the same as any other plane in the Air Force. Mathewson said the same number of specialties is needed to maintain the aircraft, generate and plan missions, and service the payloads. All told. Predator squadrons have 350 to 400 personnel, including 27 pilots. He said aircrew members come from all walks of Air Force life. He has crew members who started in C-17s, C- 135s, F-15s and C-141s.

Another thing the Predator can do that other aircraft can't is switch crews. The aircraft can fly up to 40 hours at a stretch, but there's no need for one crew to fly the whole mission, Mathewson said.

"We mitigate the fatigue by changing out pilots and sensor operators every four hours," he said. Pilots and sensor operators have so much information to process that four hours is about as much as they can take. He said each mission is briefed to a crew of two pilots and four sensor operators.

The aircrews in the squadron have to adhere to the same crew rest routines and must meet the same physical requirements as manned-aircraft crew members.

Mathewson said the experience with the Predator has been eye opening for him. "I'm a zealot," he said. "I know this is going to be part of the air power future, and I can see from our successes in Operation Enduring Freedom that this is going to play a pivotal role in air power for years to come."

 

Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin





Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).

Contact