Flying a drone for the US Air Force is like any other skill; you have to learn it. The Atlantic got a rare look inside the classroom where that instruction happens. It’s a lot like most classrooms you’ve probably been in, except the word problems they’re working through involve killing people.
The Atlantic’s Corey Mead sat in on drone pilot training classes at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, for a week last year. Apparently, it’s a lot like an everyday university tutorial, but with especially morbid subject matter.
From the Atlantic:
[Senior instructor Patrick] directed his first question to Paul: “If you’re shooting a person walking around,” he asked, “how should you go about it?”
Paul took a moment to think. “Do I have time constraints on the shot?”
Patrick was dismissive. “There’s always a time constraint,” he said.
Paul adopted a firmer tone. “I’d probably try to shoot more towards the front,” he said, “because if I’m shooting off to the side, the missile might end up hitting behind him or off to the side, and not actually kill him.”
However chilling it is to see matters of life and death chatted about so frankly, it’s also totally fascinating to hear about the cold but complex reasoning and skill that goes into every shot. You can (and should) check out the whole thing over at the Atlantic, and get a taste of what learning to fight a remote control war is like. [The Atlantic]