Drone Wars Library – Drone pilots

| Autonomy | Civil use of drones | Civilian casualties | Drone pilots | Ethical issues | General overview |
| Israel and drones | Proliferation | Targeted Killing and Legal Issues | UK drone operations | US drone operations |

drone-pilotsDrone Pilots

Although one or two drone pilots and sensor operators have spoken publicly, to a large extent the voice of those operating armed drones on a day-to-day basis remains silent.  In the media they tend to be portrayed as either courageously restrained heroes or gung-ho video warriors. The long-term health impact on drone crews continues to be a source of contention with some arguing that drone crew suffer serious mental health issues.

If you have been involved in UK or US military drone operations and want to share your experience either on or off-the-record, we would welcome hearing from you.


Key documents and articles

Oct 2014 “It’s very odd” – a former UK drone operator speaks Former RAF Reaper drone operator speaks to TBIJ.
Sept 2014 On the frontlines with US drone pilots Interviews with crew of US Global Hawk drones.
Sept 2014 Confessions of a drone veteran: Why using them is more dangerous than the government is telling you Former US military analyst on the stress and trauma of being involved in the US drone campaign
Jun 2014 Inside the Air Force’s Secret Drone Pilot Training Classroom A rare piece on drone pilot training from inside Holloman AFB
Apr 2014 Actions Needed to Strengthen Management of Unmanned Aerial System Pilots GAO report for Congress argues the need for more USAF drone pilots
Dec 2013 I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on Former US intelligence analyst Heather Linebaugh challenges ‘pro-drone’ myths
Oct 2013: A rare insight into a day at work for a pilot of a drone Former US drone pilot Lt Col Bruce Black speaks with BBC News
June 2013 Former drone operator says he’s haunted by his part in more than 1,600 deaths Interview with former USAF drone pilot Brandon Bryant
Dec 2012 Dreams in Infrared: The Woes of an American Drone Operator Der Spiegel on the impact of drone wars on the operators – includes interviews with two pilots
Jul 2012 A Day Job Waiting for a Kill Shot a World Away New York Times interviews US drone pilots
Sep 2012 The air force men who fly drones in Afghanistan by remote control Telegraph article on UK drone pilots
Oct 2009 The War Room: The toll on drone operators – Stars and Stripes Military newspaper examines life of drone operators



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