(Source: U.S Air Force)
12:00 AM, October 23, 2008
WASHINGTON --- Air Force officials are seeking up to 20 captains with four to six years of experience to volunteer for the unmanned aircraft systems beta test program.>> "This first run of the test-run program is open to captains who have no previous military pilot-training experience," said Col. Curt Sheldon, assistant to the director of air operations for UAS issues, A-3O-A. The colonel indicated the volunteer can have civilian pilot experience but may not have attended any portion of military pilot training.>> Volunteers face an Oct. 31 deadline for completing the Test of Basic Aviation Skills, or TBAS, and a Nov. 3 application deadline.>> Officials are seeking volunteers for the beta test program.>> "We're looking for highly motivated individuals who are ready to contribute to the joint fight as UAS operators." Colonel Sheldon said.>> Volunteers who successfully complete the program will eventually fly the MQ-1 Predator. These UAS operators will be the final link in the delivery of air power in the war on terrorism, according to Colonel Sheldon. Predators are armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.>> The combat contributions of UAS in today's fight have surpassed all expectations and have become a critical part of the ongoing successes in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, Colonel Sheldon said.>> The beta test program will have two classes of 10 students each, according to the colonel. The first one starts in January 2009 and the second begins in the April timeframe. Each class lasts approximately eight months.