New York Airlift Wing Makes Transition to Reaper

The New York Air National Guard’s 107th Airlift Wing at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station is transitioning from flying C-130 transports to operating MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. Already the wing has its first certified MQ-9 pilot in place, and a new manning document will take effect on April 1, according to a March 7 wing release. Under the changes, the wing will lose about 200 positions overall, and it will no longer have a maintenance group since no Reapers will actually be based at Niagara Falls, states the release. At the same time, the 107th Operations Group will grow from 90 personnel to more than 220, and Niagara Falls will get a new operations facility by 2017. Col. Robert Kilgore, 107th AW vice commander, said wing leadership realizes that wing personnel are “dealing with a lot of stress in the conversion to the new mission.” However, the change “sets us on a clear path to the future,” he said. (Niagara Falls report by Capt. Elaine Nowak)