War on Terror

Air Force: No One Wants to Be A Drone Pilot

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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The U.S. Air Force has discovered drone piloting is an unpopular profession, according to a study from the Brookings Institute.

The report, written by Air Force Colonel Bradley Hoagland, found that even those who sign up to pilot drones quit at three times the rates of manned aircraft pilots.

It’s not that these recruits conscientiously object to remote controlled assassination. Rather they just find the job boring.

Drone pilots perform surveillance, when not carrying out assassinations. Both require around-the-clock shifts from pilots, according to Popular Science.

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The job is also very stressful. Nearly half of drone operators have increased job-related stress, the New York Times reported in 2011.

Despite debate over the ethics of drone warfare, the report states that "leading drone experts inside and outside of government all agree that drones are here to stay, and the proliferation of these systems will continue to explode over the next decade."

But what are we to do if no one will take the job?

Cutting back hours and changing the pilot requirements for drone operation may be the Air Force’s only hope to boost recruits. Drone pilot burnout and disinterest is making it difficult to shorten shifts. If the pool was larger, drone pilots wouldn’t work such long hours.

Another limiting factor could be that the Air Force requires all drone pilots have a bachelor’s degree. The Army, on the other hand, allows people with only high school diplomas to fly drones.

Sources: Newser, Popular Science