Remote-Split Operations and Virtual Presence: Why the Air Force Uses Officer Pilots to Fly RPAS
Since the advent of Remote-Split Operations (RSO) for MQ-1/9 remotely-pilot aircraft (RPA), where pilots fly aircraft that are thousands of miles away, a popu-lar view is that this distance instills a psychological gap, making it easy to carry out lethal actions. A common further assumption is that RPAs are automated and don't require traditional aviation or leadership skills to operate. But 20 years of combat RPA experience has led practitioners to a different view—that the effec-tive employment of RPAs has been improved by using pilots with previous expe-rience in manned aircraft and undergraduate training where pilot candidates re-ceived a foundation of manned flying skills. Furthermore the USAF experience has been that leadership, character, and decision-making qualities needed for ef-fective RPA employment are nearly identical to those required for the effective and efficient employment of manned weapons system.
(2015). Remote-Split Operations and Virtual Presence: Why the Air Force Uses Officer Pilots to Fly RPAS. 18th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 566-571.