Update: The Air Force selected 30 enlisted candidates for RPA training from this board.
The Air Force recently announced it had received 185 applications from enlisted personnel to fly the RQ-4 Global Hawk, the long range, high altitude, fly-by-keyboard unmanned aircraft. This marks the first time the Air Force has selected enlisted personnel to “fly” the UAVs.
“Expanding opportunities in the RPA program is Read more
Update: The Air Force just released the results of the most recent selection board, indicating more than 300 enlisted troops had been chosen to begin the process to become RPA pilots.
Two Air Force Master Sergeants recently became the first enlisted Airmen in decades to solo during Air Force flight training:
Both soloed in a DA-20 Katana at Pueblo Memorial Airport as part of the Air Force’s IFT program, which is mandatory for all manned aircraft pilots, combat systems officers and remotely piloted aircraft pilots.
The Air Force announced Read more
The Air Force has decided that operators of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, also known as Remotely Piloted Aircraft, RPAs) can log time in combat — even if they never leave the desert of Nevada:
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III authorized RPA aircrews to log combat time when flying an aircraft within designated hostile airspace, regardless of the aircrew’s physical location.
What is unclear is whether those same operators will now be entitled to Imminent Danger Pay (Combat Pay) and the Combat Zone Tax Exclusion (CZTE).
Allowing those operators to claim “combat” time while physically Read more
The Air Force announced that the 2016 Undergraduate Flying Training board would meet in January to select aviators for training next year. The board includes all aviators — pilot, RPA, CSO, and ABM. Read more
The US Air Force announced the timing of its 2015 Undergraduate Flying Training (UFT) selection board. This board gives active duty officers the opportunity to transition to the flying field (which is more than just pilots):
Eligible active-duty officers interested in undergraduate flying training must apply by Dec. 19 to be considered by the UFT selection board for 2015/2016 training requirements in the pilot, remotely piloted aircraft, combat systems officer and air battle manager categories.
The requirements include age, time in service, medical and other limitations, though some may be waiverable.
Read the full release. Read more
In 2009 the Air Force conducted beta classes in which it trained officers who had not previously been pilots to be UAV operators. (It also created new “wings” for the RPA pilots and granted them flight pay.) Earlier this year, the first non-pilots graduated into the RQ-4 Global Hawk, a keyboard-operated UAV.
Now, the first non-prior pilots have graduated to become MQ-9 Reaper operators:
This marks the first time a student pilot Read more
The US Air Force announced that it would continue its Aviator Continuation Pay, more popularly known as the pilot bonus, in fiscal 2012. This year, certain career fields can even get 50% up front, as opposed to equal yearly payments previously offered.
“Our goal this year is to influence retention in very specific mission areas based on forecasted shortages,” [Lt. Col. Gerard] Ryan said. “While the program is open to all initial eligible pilots, this year’s program further incentivizes our critical shortages in RPA Read more
The US Air Force has gone through a variety of iterations of its “flight screening program,” including the tragic T-3 Firefly program more than a decade ago. The short, civil aircraft-based program is designed to filter out those who demonstrate less than Read more