Sgt. Jason Lundquist, a team leader for 64th Military Police Company, 720th Military Police Battalion, entered the landing commands into his controller. The RQ-11 Raven reoriented itself and began its descent. It slowly glided in and hit the ground, breaking apart into nine pieces on impact – a unique characteristic of its landing procedure. The training he was receiving may save someone’s life in the future. This was Day 1 of the hands-on portion of the Raven certification course.
The 89th Military Police Brigade, sent a group of Soldiers to participate in the course Jan. 6-17 at Fort Hood.
The first week covered basic avionics of the Raven system and emergency procedures. The operator must know key points to flying, such as bearing, heading and wind speed.
“What I am teaching is ground avionics, which is flying an aircraft from a ground station,” said Staff Sgt. Luther Oldfield, a Master Raven Trainer with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “The antennas of the system have a range of up to 10 kilometers.”
For landing, the Raven has to face into the wind and it is programmed to guide itself in a coast all the way toward the ground. Landing is unique, because there are built-in break points that are designed to break apart on impact, which to the unfamiliar eye looks a lot like a catastrophic crash. However, the Raven is very tough and undamaged.