Monday, September 5, 2016

"Air Force, Running Low on Drone Pilots, Turns to Contractors"

there at least several hundred contractors, many of them former drone or fighter pilots who are making double or triple their military salaries


The Air Force was not prepared for this increased demand. Finding pilots was difficult. They typically work long hours in windowless rooms staring at computer monitors and do not get many days off. Many of those who fly armed drones have been found to have post-traumatic stress disorder because they have witnessed so many airstrikes. There is also a powerful perception in the Air Force that drone jobs are less prestigious and glamorous than flying more traditional military aircraft, and recruitment has been hard.

The pilots have also become targets for terrorists who say drones have been used to indiscriminately kill civilians. This past spring, the Islamic State released a detailed list of several dozen senior Air Force officers who the group said were connected to the drone program. The list included photographs of the officers, their home addresses and other personal information.