First Non-Pilot RQ-4 Operators Graduate New Course

Two 2nd Lts at Beale Air Force Base became the first RQ-4 Global Hawk pilots to graduate the dedicated UAV operator course, which is designed for those who were not previously rated pilots.

The new classification 18X is designated for RPA pilots coming from non-rated career fields as well as newly commissioned officers…

“With these pilots not coming from traditional training and not being experienced aviators, this is untested territory,” the colonel said.

In an interesting twist, the article apparently uses only the first names of the operators to protect their identity.

They will fly the Global Hawk from a keyboard in California.  Meanwhile, manned aircraft fly into combat over hostile territory — and their full names and photos are featured prominently.