All enlisted airmen are now eligible to apply to become RQ-4 Global Hawk pilots. The move expands the pool of possible aviators to the entire service; previously, only career-enlisted aviators were eligible to apply. Airmen have from Sept. 1 to Oct. 14 to take the computer-based Air Force Enlisted Pilot Qualifying Test and the Test of Basic Aviation Skills, according to an Air Force release. Board packages are due by Dec. 16. Applicants must be a staff sergeant through senior master sergeant and retainable for six years after graduation. Even though all Air Force Specialty Codes are now eligible for the program, a career field manager release is required for airmen who already receive a critical skills retention bonus. The results of the first Air Force Enlisted RPA Pilot Selection Board will be released in late February 2017.
Changes are coming this year for Airmen taking professional military education (PME) distance learning courses. Closer interactions with facilitators, a revised capstone course, and more feedback on test performance are meant to improve the overall experience for distance learning students, who often include members of the Air National Guard.