Filling the Need for RPA Pilots

The Air Force has doubled the number of pilots training to fly remotely piloted aircraft and is on track to graduate 290 students by the end of 2016 with a goal of graduating 384 RPA pilots by the end of 2017, said Lt. Gen. Darryl Roberson, commander of Air Education and Training Command, at AWS16. The current class of RPA pilots is 24 students, up from the previous size of just 12, he said. “We are executing as we speak,” Roberson said. The service is taking students straight from the Air Force Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps, and Officer Training School, to fill the need for RPA pilots. There are more RPA pilot positions in the Air Force than any other type of pilot position, but the service continues to face a growing need for more intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance provided by these RPAs, Roberson said.