Over the Great White North

The Air Force has conducted the first operational mission of an RQ-4 Global Hawk remotely piloted aircraft through Canadian airspace, paving the way for a new northern route that will enable the more rapid ferrying of RQ-4s in and out of Beale AFB, Calif., and forward operating locations worldwide. Previously Global Hawks have flown over Canada only during training sorties. Pilots and sensor operators from the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale controlled the RQ-4 during the April 8 flight. This northern route follows the curvature of the Earth, thereby significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to get from the US West Coast to East Coast and beyond. Capt. Kyle Blaikie of the 12th RS said the worldwide ferrying process has now been streamlined “into a single 26-hour flight.” (Beale report by TSgt. Luke Johnson)