The first person to fire a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone in combat and destroy a target writes here about his experience. Scott Swanson has never written about this before. Read on. The Editor.
Flying a Predator drone in combat is nothing like playing a video game. Take it from me, the first person to pull the trigger in a lethal missile strike from a Predator.
As one of the early Air Force pilots to fly that Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV, I cringe when people make snide comments about the “Chair Force.” No, the pilot of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft can’t hear his plane’s engine, feel its motion, or smell that airplane smell; and yes, he (or she) has a joystick and throttle and a couple of TV screens in front of him. But there the comparison ends. Mentally, the pilot is inside a Predator, though the drone is half a world away. Emotionally, he is at war.