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Flight pay for UAV operators?

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  • GARY ALLS
    started a topic Flight pay for UAV operators?

    Flight pay for UAV operators?

    Those crazy guys of the "Wild Blue Yonder" What will they think of next. "Combat pay also?"

    I thought I would share this article with you that sent to me by a member of HMM-263.
    S/F Gary
    HMM-263 '66-'67

    Terry Stevens | October 31, 2009

    The Air Force decision to give incentive pay to their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operators certainly makes sense. However, Air Force's announcement that UAV operators would qualify for flight pay has been met with some controversy.
    As one retired USAF four-star opined, "I believe the personnel and PA folks who wrote this release would have been better served had they not used the term 'flight pay,' but it was their computer and their task."
    The officers and enlisted sensor operators clearly deserve a unique Air Force Specialty and pay for the extremely high skills and training required to fly and control the expanding Air Force inventory of UAVs.
    The Air Force says the decision has broken down barriers to career field differences and flight pay eligibility -- but what barriers did it build?
    Surely the Air Force could develop a professional, sustainable UAV population to handle whatever combat requirements the mission calls for, now and in the future, without granting them equal status to those Airmen who are actually engaged in manned aerial operations.
    To put console operators on a par (status and incentive pay) with past and current rated officers and enlisted personnel on flying status seems a bit much. It sort of reminds me of the Army decision to allow everyone to wear "special forces" berets.
    Do UAV pilots actually fly UAVs, or just control them electronically? A pilot, for example, is the person in the cockpit of an A-10 Warthog bearing down on a column of Iraq army tanks, while taking direct missile and ground fire.
    If you are a "dead" butt in a B-52, F-15, F-16, C-5, C-141 or any other manned weapons system, you are a traditional crewmember. You understand a max load takeoff on a short runway in a rainstorm, a hot landing in an ice storm, SAMs on the way, wind shear, or the concussion of an exploding rocket off your wingtip. It's hard to imagine a UAV operator feeling the rising pucker factor of that type airmanship.
    During WWII, 52,173 Airmen were killed in action. Another 13,093 Airmen lost their lives in aircraft accidents. Those aircrews set the standard for all others that followed. Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Iraq and all aerial combat and support missions in between.
    A friend and former B-52 pilot thinks a few of our current pilots and aircrew members will just be amused at a UAV crew being compared to them. Others will not. However, one thing he was sure of is when the UAV "pilots" go to the bar they will have their own corner uncluttered by airborne pilots, weapon system operators, navigators, or electronic warfare officers.

    While pilots talk with their hands showing how they bank and maneuver the aerospace vehicle they are strapped to, will a UAV systems operator likewise slide his chair and wiggle his joystick?

    Will we have to come up with new decorations? For the Distinguished Flying Cross shall we create the Distinguished Sitting Cross for "meritorious activity while under seriously remote hostile fire?"
    Since there will be no requirements to shield the UAV Operators from high altitude cold, as an added retention incentive the Air Force could provide them with a fake leather jacket, like Naugahyde, for fake pilots.

    Perhaps the cadre of space cadets tracking the thousands of pieces of junk orbiting the earth could be included in the great flight pay giveaway as well.
    Kidding aside, the UAV operators and controllers could provide a majority of our future reconnaissance, strike and combat operations. That capability -- if not usurped by enemy hackers wresting control of the UAVs remote systems -- is, no doubt, the future of air combat operations.
    Until then we need to give our airborne weapons systems flying devils their due -- they deserve every bit of respect, admiration, animosity, and disdain we can heap on them.

  • Tom Knowles
    replied
    The USAF will be awarded the Air Medal ---Oh the stress leading to PTSD!!!

    Tom Knowles

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    flight pay for uav....

    Bet your fearless leader will have it done. They can throw in a Congressional Medal of Honor, and a half for them too. All when there are old people out there eating canned cat food when they can afford it, because it has at least a little bit of second hand tuna in it, plus Double the flight pay.!! A big Hip-Hip for them.

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  • Bob Quinter
    replied
    You can call something an eagle all you want, but if it's fat with a flat nose and a curly tail, it's probably a pig.

    Leave a comment:


  • Carl L. Rice
    replied
    Flight Pay for UAV pilots

    Absolutely get them some flight skins,also hazardous duty pay, and start a work-up for PTSD.

    Leave a comment:

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