A couple of people have offered some suggestions for solving the surprising problem — disclosed on this blog earlier this week — that Predator flight crews are the most fatigued “aviators” in the US Air Force.
The USAF might ought to follow the Army model in their approach to UAV crews: They allow senior enlisted and Warrant Officers to pilot their UAV’s instead of assigning only trained USAF pilots (Officers) to fly the platforms. This is demonstrated by the Army’s push for 45 MQ-1C Warrior squadrons.
This suggestion could make a lot of sense. The published navy study I cited concluded that the primary culprit for Predator pilot fatigue is lack of manpower. But the air force is adamant that only commissioned officers can “fly” an aircraft in the same airspace as other manned planes, even if remotely. I’m not agreeing with this position, just pointing out why the air force will never accept this.
Another suggestion comes from Juan. He writes:
Maybe the USAF should buy the Raytheon Universal Control System.
Ah, yes. This is how the air force likes to solve manpower problems: buy new technology!