Drone Milestone: More RPA Jobs Than Any Other Pilot Position

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June 16, 2017 | Originally published by Date Line: June 16 on

The U.S. Air Force now has more jobs for MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones than any other type of pilot position, the head of Air Education and Training Command said last week.

“I never thought I”d say that when I joined the Air Force,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson told reporters during a media roundtable at the Air Force Association”s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida. “So we”re really in a much better footing with RPA pilot production in addition to just getting the numbers up,” he said March 3.

For example, the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper family of remotely piloted aircraft are slated to have more than 1,000 pilot operators, according to fiscal 2017 statistics provided to Military.com on Tuesday. By comparison, the highest numbers in any other aircraft are 889 airmen piloting the C-17 Globemaster III and 803 flying the F-16 Fighting Falcon, said Lt. Col. Tracy Bunko, spokeswoman for AETC.