First Local Reaper Flight at Holloman

: The new remotely piloted vehicle formal training unit at Holloman AFB, N.M., recently completed its first local flight of an MQ-9 Reaper RPV on Oct. 1, according to an Oct. 8 release, which also notes that the 432nd Operations Group Det. 3 is soon to be designated the 29th Attack Squadron. Preparation for the flight by the FTU team, including the 432nd Maintenance Group Det. 1, soon to be designated the 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, took almost a year. Lt. Col. James Merchant, Det. 3 commander, said, “There were hurdles along the way, but everyone maintained focus, looked at the individual steps—from power and connections to pattern deconfliction and scheduling; everyone kept moving in a positive direction.” The unit expects to receive a second RPV in December and two more by January 2010. The new MQ-1 Predator FTU at Holloman recently achieved initial operational capability. (Holloman report by A1C Sondra Escutia)