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Why Drone Pilots Are Quitting Faster Than They Can Be Replaced:

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posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 06:24 AM
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The US drone war across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa is in crisis and not because civilians are dying or the target list for that war or the right to wage it just about anywhere on the planet are in question in Washington. Something far more basic is at stake: drone pilots are quitting in record numbers.

There are roughly 1,000 such drone pilots, known in the trade as "18Xs," working for the US Air Force today. Another 180 pilots graduate annually from a training program that takes about a year to complete at Holloman and Randolph Air Force bases in, respectively, New Mexico and Texas. As it happens, in those same 12 months, about 240 trained pilots quit and the Air Force is at a loss to explain the phenomenon. (The better-known US Central Intelligence Agency drone assassination program is also flown by Air Force pilots loaned out for the covert missions.)

On January 4, 2015, the Daily Beast revealed an undated internal memo to Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh from General Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle stating that pilot "outflow increases will damage the readiness and combat capability of the MQ-1/9 [Predator and Reaper] enterprise for years to come" and added that he was "extremely concerned." Eleven days later, the issue got top billing at a special high-level briefing on the state of the Air Force. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James joined Welsh to address the matter. "This is a force that is under significant stress—significant stress from what is an unrelenting pace of operations," she told the media.
In theory, drone pilots have a cushy life. Unlike soldiers on duty in "war zones," they can continue to live with their families here in the United States. No muddy foxholes or sandstorm-swept desert barracks under threat of enemy attack for them. Instead, these new techno-warriors commute to work like any office employees and sit in front of computer screens wielding joysticks, playing what most people would consider a glorified video game.
www.motherjones.com...


While war is brutal and the witness to collateral damage can be demoralizing is it ever a good thing to have contractors who are basically mercs to do a soldiers job, they come under different rules and regs, I am guessing and can up and walk off the job, in the long run though we had better solve the problem of so called collateral damage no matter who is flying the mission, no oops in the world is gonna convince most of us here not to do something rash if our loved ones were blown to bits along with a thousand other people who just happened to be in the same general location as 42 terrorist, there have to be a better way of killing bad guys without making even more bad guys in an endless cycle of violence.
edit on 26-12-2015 by Spider879 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 06:47 AM
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I've read other articles and the main problem is that there just aren't enough drone pilots and staff are being asked to perform double shifts, work whole weeks on top of seeing people being killed when they press trigger buttons.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:10 AM
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From the article;




The Air Force explains the departure of these drone pilots in the simplest of terms. They are leaving because they are overworked. The pilots themselves say that it's humiliating to be scorned by their Air Force colleagues as second-class citizens. Some have also come forward to claim that the horrors of war, seen up close on video screens, day in, day out, are inducing an unprecedented, long-distance version of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).



Apparently these drone pilots are logging in 900-1800 hours per year while Air Force pilots log in around 300.

I also can't imagine leaving work at the end of the day after making a questionable missle strike and tucking my kids into bed and having a wife ask about my day. A lot of these pilots probably feel alienated at home as they don't have the kind of support they mentally need from peers.

The most damning portion seems to be long hours and their job being viewed as "geeks playing video games".

Maybe Tom Cruise needs to film Top Gun 2.0 to encourage more people to fly drones and glamorize war like only hollywood can.


+9 more 
posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:12 AM
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The way that report reads to me is almost as if the Air Force can't seem to get their collective heads around the truth that people really do not like looking at innocents being wiped out.

Any normal and rational person would know this truth. But the Air Force? Go figure.

P



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:14 AM
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It is also a crappy job for officers who want to actually pilot an aircraft. Drone pilots are at the bottom of the fly boy totem poll. Now they are going to allow enlisted pilots so that should solve any problems they have.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:15 AM
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a reply to: Spider879

Dont worry they'll be autonomous soon.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:20 AM
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originally posted by: ghostrager
From the article;




The Air Force explains the departure of these drone pilots in the simplest of terms. They are leaving because they are overworked. The pilots themselves say that it's humiliating to be scorned by their Air Force colleagues as second-class citizens. Some have also come forward to claim that the horrors of war, seen up close on video screens, day in, day out, are inducing an unprecedented, long-distance version of post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).



Apparently these drone pilots are logging in 900-1800 hours per year while Air Force pilots log in around 300.

I also can't imagine leaving work at the end of the day after making a questionable missle strike and tucking my kids into bed and having a wife ask about my day. A lot of these pilots probably feel alienated at home as they don't have the kind of support they mentally need from peers.

The most damning portion seems to be long hours and their job being viewed as "geeks playing video games".

Maybe Tom Cruise needs to film Top Gun 2.0 to encourage more people to fly drones and glamorize war like only hollywood can.


Yeah what conversation is like at the dinner table, hi hon how was work today. drone pilot: well we took out a lot of bad guys today, but the collateral damage was higher than usual, a kid no older the Jimmy here lost all his limbs and both his parents killed.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:24 AM
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a reply to: ghostrager

The Predator and Reaper fleet currently flies more than 60 orbits, consisting of four aircraft in each orbit, which means that they need 2,000 pilots and sensor operators to man that. Each mission lasts hours, and can include a close air support element over troops in contact. The Air Force set an 8.5:1 ratio for pilots to missions, and are at 8:1 now. Those are long missions, even though they're sitting in comfortable chairs, they're looking at small monitors, trying to pick out tiny details for hours on end, going home, and doing it again, and again.

The Air Force is looking at making the Reaper a single pilot platform for some missions to reduce the manning requirement, as well as putting an auto land feature on board, similar to that used by other UAVs, which will reduce the manning further for some parts of the mission, and reduce a lot of stress on operators.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:33 AM
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a reply to: MrSpad

It would be sad if it was about prestige more than about killing people
Personal glory above death

Is this a standard attitude from where you are from


+4 more 
posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:42 AM
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When the weapons of war become so uncivilized that soldiers actually quit over it we need to reconsider whether such weapons should be used at all.
The first man to drop the atomic bomb killed himself too.
There is no honor or courage required for long-distance killing by remote control.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:43 AM
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a reply to: Asktheanimals

Or when they're working 12+ hour days, for weeks at a time.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 07:55 AM
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Wonder how much is personality issue with the mission..

I dont doubt long tedious hours away from home and family life are a part..

But imagine all the tests people go through before becoming a sniper... now compare that to those of a drone operator.

Is anything about a drone operators training prepping them for seeing death up close, or is it just how to fly shoot and land the drone?
I dont know anything about the program buts its something ive wondered about.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 08:04 AM
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they are turning-their-backs because of both the Lack of Support and the continued Hand-Wringing & Rationalizations just like on this thread.
( I won't go into the WH luv-fest with Islam & the stupid, absurd denial of the obvious concerning the self-declared Enemy)
(I also suppose that the WH & the obedient WH Military brass make being a 'drone operator' a unduly grueling military specialty...at high risk of quitting because of policies to discourage the operators)

the supposed 'collateral' are actually the Jihad Sunni Radicals support people, including Familiars/relatives

but these undeclaired future Jihadists are not innocents as the hand-wringers suggest & moralize...

ALL the opponents (i.e.: Christians or non-Jihad Muslims) Of ISIS in a given location/village/meeting place have already been killed or otherwise expelled from the community where the 'persons-of-interest; AKA: Targeted Terrorists are being tracked-confirmed & OK'ed to be shot at by missiles from drones....

go watch that ;video 'Innocence of Muslims' that was False-Flagged as the cause of Benghazi & live in that dream world you have created for yourselves (I imagine that's the reason for the Delusion)[edit
edit on th31145113904026102015 by St Udio because: (no reason given)


 


I added the 'bold text' thought in the first paragraph, some 5 minutes from the original posting
edit on th31145113944226172015 by St Udio because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 08:11 AM
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originally posted by: MrSpad
It is also a crappy job for officers who want to actually pilot an aircraft. Drone pilots are at the bottom of the fly boy totem poll. Now they are going to allow enlisted pilots so that should solve any problems they have.


I'd imagine that the pilot manning issue would be solved by allowing an enlistee to go into the drone pilot program. Ok, maybe not an enlistee, but a TSGT or MSGT. I know quite a few would jump at that chance.

Edit: Use of the term enlistee is targeted towards brand new recruits.
edit on 26-12-2015 by ChuckNasty because: As above



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 08:33 AM
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Ontop of long hours, most of the pilots are basically kids. They're probably coming to terms that most military leadership is crazy people trying to kill other crazy people, and they don't even know why they're killing people other than it's "just a job."

There's not even a justification for such a program. Last I checked the homeland hasn't been attacked since 9/11, and with a dash of common sense it's questionable whether or not that was the result of domestic terrorism in all Highest offices.

Humans are nuts...
edit on 26-12-2015 by Flesh699 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 08:36 AM
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Enders game anyone?.
Just get people to ignorant to understand they are shooting real folk...
edit on 26-12-2015 by boymonkey74 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 08:47 AM
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originally posted by: Asktheanimals
When the weapons of war become so uncivilized that soldiers actually quit over it we need to reconsider whether such weapons should be used at all.
The first man to drop the atomic bomb killed himself too.
There is no honor or courage required for long-distance killing by remote control.

People used to say the same about Bow and arrows vs spears or swords, guns vs spears, swords and bows, now it's drones from the other side of the world vs guns on the ground, in the end we all got used to it and copy their usage.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 09:11 AM
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originally posted by: Asktheanimals
When the weapons of war become so uncivilized that soldiers actually quit over it we need to reconsider whether such weapons should be used at all.
The first man to drop the atomic bomb killed himself too.
There is no honor or courage required for long-distance killing by remote control.

The closer up, the more personal, the more honorable, then?

Or how physically exhausting and the nearness of death is more courageous?

Bombs are always dropped remote control. The pilot works a few levers and myriads of buttons, but even well trained, high performance combat pilots ride in air-conditioned reclined comfort as their weapons and targeting apparatus find the target by "remote".

The problem with drone pilots is they aren't as indoctrinated as "real" pilots are, their only requirement is to be mechanized video game experts with a joy stick.

The only solution will be to remove the pilots from the loop entirely, giving over to "smart" machines that autonomously kill from twenty thousand feet.

The Nazis encountered the same problem , machine gunning innocent women and children wore on them so they invented death camps.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 09:14 AM
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originally posted by: St Udio
they are turning-their-backs because of both the Lack of Support and the continued Hand-Wringing & Rationalizations just like on this thread.
( I won't go into the WH luv-fest with Islam & the stupid, absurd denial of the obvious concerning the self-declared Enemy)
(I also suppose that the WH & the obedient WH Military brass make being a 'drone operator' a unduly grueling military specialty...at high risk of quitting because of policies to discourage the operators)

the supposed 'collateral' are actually the Jihad Sunni Radicals support people, including Familiars/relatives

but these undeclaired future Jihadists are not innocents as the hand-wringers suggest & moralize...

ALL the opponents (i.e.: Christians or non-Jihad Muslims) Of ISIS in a given location/village/meeting place have already been killed or otherwise expelled from the community where the 'persons-of-interest; AKA: Targeted Terrorists are being tracked-confirmed & OK'ed to be shot at by missiles from drones....

go watch that ;video 'Innocence of Muslims' that was False-Flagged as the cause of Benghazi & live in that dream world you have created for yourselves (I imagine that's the reason for the Delusion)[edit

 


I added the 'bold text' thought in the first paragraph, some 5 minutes from the original posting


Your post was refreshing to read. All the fantasy land posts prior to it, describing the "horrors of collateral damage" were almost more than one could stand. There is no collateral damage in this war, or it is minuscule at best. The enemy is every age and sex.

How American society has gotten so soft and just so silly....can't even kill ones true enemies without crying about it. America did not become great by being a bunch of cry babies. Americans dominated North America at the expense of any competitors, without mercy. Then crushed several major powers in wars. Fire bombed Dresden, killing hundreds of thousands. Nuked Japan twice.

America won't stay great though, not with the sissies currently being raised in this country. Sobbing about micro aggressions being levied against them. Bereft about the poor Muslims dying in drone strikes. Hope all you sensitive little sweetie pies enjoy Shariah law.

Drone pilots aren't quitting due to a crisis of conscience. And if that's why they're quitting, they don't belong in the military. It's just high stress due to the high demand, which is due to the newness of the program. The AF will sort it out.



posted on Dec, 26 2015 @ 09:25 AM
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Drone aircraft would never last on an environment where the enemy has any kind of anti-aircraft capability. Thus they are used against small bands of guerrilla fighters. In other words, they are a weapon of terror to be used by the strong against the weak.




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