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Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator Qualifications
Rept. for Jan 1999-Jan 2000
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB MESA AZ HUMAN EFFECTIVENESS DIRECTORATE
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There are large differences in operator qualifications for unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs operated by the Department of Defense. These differences were examined to identify underlying causes. For tactical UAVs operated by the US Navy, Marine Corps, and Army, specially trained enlisted personnel may qualify as internal pilot. Flight experience in manned aircraft is not required. For the medium-altitude endurance UAV employed by the USAF, only officers who are pilots of manned aircraft or navigators holding a commercial pilots license with an instrument rating may qualify as internal pilot. The interaction of UAV flight capabilities and federal aviation guidelines underlie these differences. Although service policy and federal aviation guidelines determine operator qualifications, research into the essential skills of UAV operators is needed. Knowledge of essential skills would guide design of training and identify human performance issues associated with mission execution. Knowledge of essential skills will serve as the frame of reference for research into the performance effects of mission length, night-time operations, and circadian dysrythmia. Development of remedial training and cueing technologies could follow as strategies for minimizing adverse effects on mission performance.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE