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JohnKachenmeister
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« on: December 29, 2006, 05:38:43 AM »

I have just recently learned a fact.  Right now, USAF pilots are being INVOLUNTARILY assigned to fly UAV's.  The Air Force (nobody's dummy) is assigning mostly mid-career pilots to this duty.

Meaning:  They're in a position that they can't quit.  The lieutenants will get out and fly for the airlines.  Mid-careerists have too many years invested toward a pension.  End-of-career pilots will all retire early if faced with such an assignment.

Now, this plan makes sense to me:

Instead of assigning a USAF pilot, young, experienced, in good physical shape, who COULD be leading younger officers in combat, to sit at a desk in South Carolina and fly a video game of an aircraft over Afghanistan, (But one played for real in Afghanistan); why not train and use an old, sick, bifocal-wearing, somewhat out-of-shape CAP pilot to fly that UAV?

The short answer is, its illegal.  CAP can only perform NON-COMBAT missions of the Air Force.  Predators can shoot.

I would propose modifying Title 10 to read that CAP "Can perform at the direction of the Secretary of the Air Force any mission or program of the Air Force, provided that the mission is carried out in the United States, its territories and possessions."

The current fix under consideration is to train non-pilot AF officers up through private pilot in C-172's then put them at the Predator Console, to free up the rated pilots.

That still ties up an officer who should be doing his own job, plus we have pilots with WAY more experience than they plan to give them flying C-172's.

How hard can it be to fly a Predator, anyway?  You take off, you fly straight and level, you navigate with GPS, and you land.  I've done that just to get a $100 hamburger.  It is a single-engine aircraft, it just lacks certain creature comforts of the C-172R, like leather seats, and a cockpit to put them in.  Once you show me how to fire the Hellfire, I'm good to go!

Helz Bellz, we could even have cadets doing that, what with the video game experience that most of them have!

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Chris Jacobs
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2006, 06:04:16 AM »

Why not just have enlisted Air Force personnel fly them.  They could have one officer oversee several enlisted pilots flying these remote control aircraft from one place.  I don't see the difference in an airman driving a robot that stays on the ground compared to a robot in the air.  Now when it comes to firing maybe that is a different question.  But for the sole recon predator missions couldn't an enlisted person do that.
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C/1st Lt Chris Jacobs
Columbia Comp. Squadron
lordmonar
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2006, 06:11:05 AM »

I have just recently learned a fact.  Right now, USAF pilots are being INVOLUNTARILY assigned to fly UAV's.  The Air Force (nobody's dummy) is assigning mostly mid-career pilots to this duty.

Meaning:  They're in a position that they can't quit.  The lieutenants will get out and fly for the airlines.  Mid-careerists have too many years invested toward a pension.  End-of-career pilots will all retire early if faced with such an assignment.

Now, this plan makes sense to me:

Instead of assigning a USAF pilot, young, experienced, in good physical shape, who COULD be leading younger officers in combat, to sit at a desk in South Carolina
Nevada actually...but go on

and fly a video game of an aircraft over Afghanistan, (But one played for real in Afghanistan); why not train and use an old, sick, bifocal-wearing, somewhat out-of-shape CAP pilot to fly that UAV?

The short answer is, its illegal.  CAP can only perform NON-COMBAT missions of the Air Force.  Predators can shoot.

Even it they could not shoot...it would still be combat operations.  ISR platforms are all classified as combat missions.

I would propose modifying Title 10 to read that CAP "Can perform at the direction of the Secretary of the Air Force any mission or program of the Air Force, provided that the mission is carried out in the United States, its territories and possessions."

I am following what you are saying....and that could be done....but (there is always a but)...currently the training pipe line for UAV pilots is very full.  There are not that many UAV's actually in the states.  The USAF cannot afford to give up training slots for non-combat pilots at this time.  Nor can they shake loose the assets to do any good if they could train those pilots.

I the UAV thread is still there I we had a very detail discussion about this subject.  I believe that the UAV is the single biggest threat to CAP and it's SAR mission.  In 10-20 years the USAF will not need us to fly SAR because they will have enough UAVs sitting around able to do the job quicker and cheaper.
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Johnny Yuma
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2006, 06:52:31 AM »

I have just recently learned a fact.  Right now, USAF pilots are being INVOLUNTARILY assigned to fly UAV's.  The Air Force (nobody's dummy) is assigning mostly mid-career pilots to this duty.

Meaning:  They're in a position that they can't quit.  The lieutenants will get out and fly for the airlines.  Mid-careerists have too many years invested toward a pension.  End-of-career pilots will all retire early if faced with such an assignment.

Now, this plan makes sense to me:

Instead of assigning a USAF pilot, young, experienced, in good physical shape, who COULD be leading younger officers in combat, to sit at a desk in South Carolina
Nevada actually...but go on

and fly a video game of an aircraft over Afghanistan, (But one played for real in Afghanistan); why not train and use an old, sick, bifocal-wearing, somewhat out-of-shape CAP pilot to fly that UAV?

The short answer is, its illegal.  CAP can only perform NON-COMBAT missions of the Air Force.  Predators can shoot.

Even it they could not shoot...it would still be combat operations.  ISR platforms are all classified as combat missions.

I would propose modifying Title 10 to read that CAP "Can perform at the direction of the Secretary of the Air Force any mission or program of the Air Force, provided that the mission is carried out in the United States, its territories and possessions."

I am following what you are saying....and that could be done....but (there is always a but)...currently the training pipe line for UAV pilots is very full.  There are not that many UAV's actually in the states.  The USAF cannot afford to give up training slots for non-combat pilots at this time.  Nor can they shake loose the assets to do any good if they could train those pilots.

I the UAV thread is still there I we had a very detail discussion about this subject.  I believe that the UAV is the single biggest threat to CAP and it's SAR mission.  In 10-20 years the USAF will not need us to fly SAR because they will have enough UAVs sitting around able to do the job quicker and cheaper.


The USAF turning over their newest global reach, fire a missilie and blow up things kind of a offensive and intelligence gathering technology to an organization of civilian flyboys? Neva happen GI.

The USAF graduates entire squadrons of Nintendo and Playstation trained airmen every month who could fly these things at the fraction of the cost to use a commissioned officer AND far better oversight than using a CAP member.
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lordmonar
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2006, 09:30:40 AM »

The USAF turning over their newest global reach, fire a missile and blow up things kind of a offensive and intelligence gathering technology to an organization of civilian flyboys? Neva happen GI.

Never said they would turn it over to us....they would lust load a DF unit into the bad boy and do the job themselves.   I.E. we would be out of a job.

The USAF graduates entire squadrons of Nintendo and Playstation trained airmen every month who could fly these things at the fraction of the cost to use a commissioned officer AND far better oversight than using a CAP member.

"entire squadrons"?!?!? 

I don't know if you know where I work in my day job...but I know for a fact the FTD at Creech is NOT graduating 100+ trained UAV pilots a month!  I'm not going into readiness levels and force strength with you...but your scale of production is way off.

They would never give us any MQ-1's because every single one of them is needed for full time combat mission.  But in 10 years or so when they have maybe 8-10 more UAV squadrons and not such a high ops tempo...you will see the USAF start to look at the SAR, HLS and DR applications of the UAV and then, my friends CAP will be out of business!
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
DNall
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2006, 11:19:46 AM »

Why not just have enlisted Air Force personnel fly them.  They could have one officer oversee several enlisted pilots flying these remote control aircraft from one place.  I don't see the difference in an airman driving a robot that stays on the ground compared to a robot in the air.  Now when it comes to firing maybe that is a different question.  But for the sole recon predator missions couldn't an enlisted person do that.
That was th einitial plan, and highly opposed in pilot ranks as it was seen as a slippery slope to NCO aviators, which the O-types see as a threat, for starters cause they're cheaper.

Just to be clear, and if I'm not mistaken, the initial contract on a pilot slot is 10 years AFTER finishing flight training - so 12, can be as much as 14.5 in the Navy based on dealys in openings for assigned personnel - got a former cadet at Navy right now grew up dreaming of an F18 that's turning down a slot this year & trying to fighure out how to switch services, at least to marine after the cut for that route (apparently they have open slots). There ain't no short time pilots free to do anything but what they're told. An active IP talked about this with me & few others a week ago... said is was mid-range being cycled out of flying slots, and the fear (besides avoiding it yourself) was what happens if these guys try to get back in the cockpit (maybe by going guard/reserve) after a couple years sticking a UAV.

 I believe that the UAV is the single biggest threat to CAP and it's SAR mission.  In 10-20 years the USAF will not need us to fly SAR because they will have enough UAVs sitting around able to do the job quicker and cheaper.
I know where you're coming from, but it's not really cheaper, not when you detail it out. Things aren't always what they appear, & truth isn't always the line used when selling things. Like for instance, is it better to use one F15 or 4 GA8s on a disaster assesment run? Do you look at cost per hour or cost to cover a specified area, and what value do you place on the quality & speed at which you get the data to customer? It's true that MQ1s are cheap on the gas & have some legs, but there's a lot of other pro/con issues to be considered, not least of which is paid crew. Of course tho when their mission falls off they'll be looking for new things to do & taking from us is certainly going to be on the table - already discussed. Which is one reason you'll see me talking about gear upgrades on our fleet to make them the rough equiv of a UAV (day/night FLIR, NRBC detection, low tech streaming over comercial satcomm - meaning the same Cessna fielded by Border Patrol, actually they do it on a 206, but not because of weight issues). When the time comes, I want that to be close enough to a toss up that the UAVs go to the dessert & CAP keeps working on the 10 years worth of mission record we've built.

To teh point though. I know where you're coming from & CAP members on AFAM are by international law combatants, which is why Title X has to specify non-combat missions are to be assigned, which is still open to interpretation on combat support, which might include flying the UAV while an Amn pulls the trigger, but that's a big ole stretch. Still, a retired military aviator, medical or not, wearing a CAP uniform, seems a lot more palatable than a private contractor. It just ain't gonna happen though.
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JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2006, 12:42:33 PM »

Why not just have enlisted Air Force personnel fly them.  They could have one officer oversee several enlisted pilots flying these remote control aircraft from one place.  I don't see the difference in an airman driving a robot that stays on the ground compared to a robot in the air.  Now when it comes to firing maybe that is a different question.  But for the sole recon predator missions couldn't an enlisted person do that.

Chris, I don't know the answer to your question, except that the Air Force sems to have an institutional mindset that only commissioned officers can launch ordnance larger than 7.62mm in diameter.

Until a few days ago, I thought that UAV operator WAS an enlisted speciaity.  At least to the extent that I thought about it al all.
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JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2006, 12:46:40 PM »

Lord Monar:

You are correct that the UAV is a threat to the traditional missions of CAP, and I'm tempted to say, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," but,

There are significant problems to flying UAV's over the US, since most general aviation pilots feel, as I do, that anything in the sky with me should have a pilot with as much to lose as I do if we collide.

Planes without pilots... Work of the Devil, I say!  She's a witch!  Burn her!!!
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Another former CAP officer
RiverAux
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« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2006, 01:54:53 PM »

I recently saw a newspaper article talking about a new NG UAV unit I think somewhere in the southwest.  Thats the big threat, not USAF operated UAVs.
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JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2006, 02:04:21 PM »

RA:

Yes, and we discussed that over at Midway Six's place.  Right now, though, in order to fly the UAV, they have to declare a TFR in the area that they intend to operate it.  That's so GA pilots like us don't fly through there and get hit with a multi-million dollar crash dummy.

Which means the smugglers also know when and where a UAV is operating.

And the AOPA is strongly opposed to UAV's in domestic airspace.  There might end up being some laws passed that restrict such operations.
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Another former CAP officer
Pylon
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Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2006, 02:12:05 PM »

Chris, I don't know the answer to your question, except that the Air Force sems to have an institutional mindset that only commissioned officers can launch ordnance larger than 7.62mm in diameter.

I think that would be the main issue with CAP operating anything such as an armed UAV.  Our members are not members of the military, our officers are not commissioned, and have little to no official authority -- why would we even want to tangle ourselves up in dropping bombs (even if remotely) on people and structures in a foreign country! 

I don't see it as a viable solution.  USAF has plenty of personnel to draw from for this -- If Capt Snuffy doesn't like his or her assignment, he or she shouldn't have signed the paperwork to work for Uncle Sam.   The Air Force would not want CAP pilots flying these multi-million dollar aircraft anyways... we bend enough of our own, cheaper airframes flying routine and training missions.   ;)
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
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JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #11 on: December 29, 2006, 02:14:17 PM »

DNall:

You are right, this probably isn't going to happen, but there's no sense in not giving them a solid "Put me in, Coach" shout out.

Our Title 10, in my humble and non-lawyer opinion, has no meaning under International Law.  We are still a part of the Armed Forces of the US, and an internal decision to employ CAP in non-combat roles is just that... an internal decision.  We would not fall under any of the "Non-combatant" classifications of the Geneva Convention, unless we were strictly limited to SAR operations, and marked our aircraft with Red Cross flags.

Once we take a decision-maker or a camera aloft to survey damage, we become a "Command, Control, and Communications" asset.

It just looks to me that a tremendous and very expensive asset, trained military pilots, is being squandered and wasted flying UAV's.  That is something OUR guys could do just as well, even if only until a sufficient force of trained non-rated officers come on line.
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Another former CAP officer
RiverAux
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« Reply #12 on: December 29, 2006, 02:19:17 PM »

I'm not opposed to the idea of changing Title 10 for this purpose in general, but given the absolute lack of interest the AF has shown in using CAP to augment in non-combat, boring roles I very much doubt they're going to be supportive of this change for this purpose.  If they don't think they particularly need CAP people to work in offices I see no way they would want CAP in such a high-profile mission. 

I hate to say it, but I suspect the reason the AF doesn't really call on CAP for augmentation purposes is the budget.  I think the AF is worried that if Congress gets the idea that the AF can use volunteers for some missions then they may look at cutting AF funding. 

The CG on the other hand, almost has no choice but to use the CG Aux to augment its forces just because of the way it is structured into many small, more or less independent units with few personnel on hand. 
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JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2006, 02:21:26 PM »

Chris, I don't know the answer to your question, except that the Air Force sems to have an institutional mindset that only commissioned officers can launch ordnance larger than 7.62mm in diameter.

I think that would be the main issue with CAP operating anything such as an armed UAV.  Our members are not members of the military, our officers are not commissioned, and have little to no official authority -- why would we even want to tangle ourselves up in dropping bombs (even if remotely) on people and structures in a foreign country! 

I don't see it as a viable solution.  USAF has plenty of personnel to draw from for this -- If Capt Snuffy doesn't like his or her assignment, he or she shouldn't have signed the paperwork to work for Uncle Sam.   The Air Force would not want CAP pilots flying these multi-million dollar aircraft anyways... we bend enough of our own, cheaper airframes flying routine and training missions.   ;)

Vell, I vish I had known zat you CAP peeples vere not supposed to shoot und drop bombs upon us poor, picked on German U-Boats!  how vas ve to know zat you doing zo vas not goot, since you vere not commissioned offizers?  Ach, du Lieber!  I vould not haf dived mein U-Boat if I had known you vere only kidding!

You rascals und your little airplanes!

--Kapitan Johann von Kachenmeister
   U-Boat Skipper
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Another former CAP officer
JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2006, 02:25:15 PM »

I'm not opposed to the idea of changing Title 10 for this purpose in general, but given the absolute lack of interest the AF has shown in using CAP to augment in non-combat, boring roles I very much doubt they're going to be supportive of this change for this purpose.  If they don't think they particularly need CAP people to work in offices I see no way they would want CAP in such a high-profile mission. 

I hate to say it, but I suspect the reason the AF doesn't really call on CAP for augmentation purposes is the budget.  I think the AF is worried that if Congress gets the idea that the AF can use volunteers for some missions then they may look at cutting AF funding. 

The CG on the other hand, almost has no choice but to use the CG Aux to augment its forces just because of the way it is structured into many small, more or less independent units with few personnel on hand. 

Bingo, RA.  You got it.

But the USAF may soon be in the same boat (pun intended) with the Coast Guard.  The AF is getting its personnel allocation cut to ribbons in favor of the Army and the Marines, because the gravel-grinding services have had to bear the brunt of the fighting in Iraq.

This means the AF will need to protect and keep the people it has, and rely a lot MORE on UAV's in the future.  I heard that about 1/3 of our flying strength will be UAV's, eventually.
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Another former CAP officer
Pylon
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Michael Kieloch, Marketing Communications & PR Leadership
« Reply #15 on: December 29, 2006, 02:39:08 PM »

Chris, I don't know the answer to your question, except that the Air Force sems to have an institutional mindset that only commissioned officers can launch ordnance larger than 7.62mm in diameter.

I think that would be the main issue with CAP operating anything such as an armed UAV.  Our members are not members of the military, our officers are not commissioned, and have little to no official authority -- why would we even want to tangle ourselves up in dropping bombs (even if remotely) on people and structures in a foreign country! 

I don't see it as a viable solution.  USAF has plenty of personnel to draw from for this -- If Capt Snuffy doesn't like his or her assignment, he or she shouldn't have signed the paperwork to work for Uncle Sam.   The Air Force would not want CAP pilots flying these multi-million dollar aircraft anyways... we bend enough of our own, cheaper airframes flying routine and training missions.   ;)

Vell, I vish I had known zat you CAP peeples vere not supposed to shoot und drop bombs upon us poor, picked on German U-Boats!  how vas ve to know zat you doing zo vas not goot, since you vere not commissioned offizers?  Ach, du Lieber!  I vould not haf dived mein U-Boat if I had known you vere only kidding!

You rascals und your little airplanes!

--Kapitan Johann von Kachenmeister
   U-Boat Skipper

Slightly different times, my friend, and much different context.  America is no longer in a total war with every man, woman, and child in the country either in the war effort or working to further the war effort because we needed every last one of them.   Back then, it was a great mission given the context of the times and the need at hand.

Today, the U.S. Air Force does not need CAP volunteers to drop bombs and fly combat missions for the war against terror.  They're cutting back on personnel ("force shaping") and have the personnel they need to get the mission done.  I would say the Air Force has about three or four other options to get "pilots" for the UAVs before an idea like CAP members driving the bus would ever come into serious consideration.  In fact, I don't even see where it's an issue right now with the USAF commissioned officers flying them...  maybe there's some complaining (?), but that doesn't mean it won't get done.  The AF would probably consider Officers, then Enlisted, then DOD Civilians, and then Sub-contractors before CAP members.

There are already so many other missions out there that we should be focusing on getting for ourselves, missions that don't require a Congressional change of law, that perhaps we could redirect our efforts there instead.  ;)
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Michael F. Kieloch, Maj, CAP
Concord Composite Squadron, NH       
JohnKachenmeister
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« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2006, 02:52:06 PM »

Mike:

The fact that the Air Force does have other options, ncluding use of enlisted technicians rather than officers for UAV pilots does not change two facts:

1.  The USAF is currently using qualified pilots to fly UAV's.  That is wasteful.  That's like putting a physician in an E.R. doing nothing but checking blood pressure and vital signs. 

2.  Whatever option the AF decides on will require training.  The AF is considering using non-pilot officers, and train them up for UAV's be putting them in Cessna 172's to learn to fly light singles, then transitioning them to the UAV.  This will take time, and even if that decision were firm, I could see CAP providing an interim force of qualified light-plane pilots for the transition period.

WE already have pilots who can fly the 172, and if given the opportunity could master te UAV as well or better than an AF lieutenant with 100 hours stick time in Skyhawks.

We are the only American military auxiliary with a battle history.  Frankly, an opportunity to use the skills we possess to kill enemies of our country should be welcomed, just as it was when the Coastal Patrol flew against the Germans.

   
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Another former CAP officer
A.Member
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« Reply #17 on: December 29, 2006, 03:34:55 PM »

the UAV thread is still there I we had a very detail discussion about this subject.  I believe that the UAV is the single biggest threat to CAP and it's SAR mission.  In 10-20 years the USAF will not need us to fly SAR because they will have enough UAVs sitting around able to do the job quicker and cheaper...

...They would never give us any MQ-1's because every single one of them is needed for full time combat mission.  But in 10 years or so when they have maybe 8-10 more UAV squadrons and not such a high ops tempo...you will see the USAF start to look at the SAR, HLS and DR applications of the UAV and then, my friends CAP will be out of business!
Do you know how much one UAV costs (purchase price plus maintenance, training, etc.)?  UAVs are not and will not be more cost effective that a 172/182 with a volunteer pilot.   For non-combant reconnaissance missions and SAR, we provide a more cost effective option.  That is our selling point.  The key for us is to maintain effective training/proficiency.

A more immediate impact to our SAR missions is likely to be the result of the 406 MHz ELTs and EPIRBs.

That said, UAVs will increasingly become a part of the USAF's future.  Manned aircraft can already have the capability to exceed human tolerances.  Humans can only tolerate ~9g's before taking a nap.  At the same time, air defense systems have become more advanced as well.  There is a formula that says if a pilot can turn 1/3rd the g's of a missile tracking him, he/she can out turn it (ex. say a missile pulls 24g's, if a pilot can turn 8g's he could potentially escape it).  However, new missiles can turn 50+g's and will only improve. 

For more info see: 
http://www.afa.org/magazine/dec2003/1203uav.asp
http://www.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-060322-009.pdf
http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=122
http://www.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=175

As for CAP pilots flying UAVs for USAF, well, no way...for many of the reasons already mentioned. 
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Chris Jacobs
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Posts: 302

« Reply #18 on: December 29, 2006, 04:16:34 PM »


2.  Whatever option the AF decides on will require training.  The AF is considering using non-pilot officers, and train them up for UAV's be putting them in Cessna 172's to learn to fly light singles, then transitioning them to the UAV.  This will take time, and even if that decision were firm, I could see CAP providing an interim force of qualified light-plane pilots for the transition period.

WE already have pilots who can fly the 172, and if given the opportunity could master te UAV as well or better than an AF lieutenant with 100 hours stick time in Skyhawks.


   

We already have 172's and a whole bunch of pilots.  What if we use our airplanes and our instructors to train their people.  Obviously that is pushing it, but it is an idea.
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C/1st Lt Chris Jacobs
Columbia Comp. Squadron
mikeylikey
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« Reply #19 on: December 29, 2006, 04:19:44 PM »

They cut LT's this year, will they have enough Junior Officers to train.  Seems to me that the AF is moving away from technical Officers to non-technical Officers. 
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