Céus dos EUA cobertos de aviões não-tripulados
30 mil aviões não tripulados podem vir a ser colocados nos céus dos EUA até ao final desta década, depois do Congresso ter aprovado uma lei que não só permite como estimula a utilização do espaço aéreo norte-americano por drones. A lei exige mesmo que a Federal Aviation Administration desenvolva um plano para colocar maior número possível de aviões não tripulados no ar dentro de nove meses
Uma realidade que vai acentua ainda mais a necessidade norte-americana de treinar pilotos de UAVs (já superior ao número de pilotos a treinar para voar caças e bombardeiros). Algumas universidades norte-americanas perceberam a necessidade de mais recursos humanos nesta área e estão também a dar resposta, com cursos de formação de pilotos que estão entre os mais bem pagos (o primeiro ordenado pode atingir os 120 mil dólares anuais)…
FAA: Look For 30,000 Drones To Fill American Skies By The End Of The Decade
Weaponized MQ-9 Reaper with camera
Congress passed a bill this week paving the way for unmanned drones to ply American skies.
The bill requires the FAA to rush a plan to get as many drones in the air as possible within nine months.
How many drones are we talking?
Shaun Waterman at The Washington Times reports the agency predicts that 30,000 drones could fill U.S. skies by the end of the decade.
Naturally, many are concerned that surveillance by police and federal government agencies will skyrocket in response.
From The Washington Times:
“There are serious policy questions on the horizon about privacy and surveillance, by both government agencies and commercial entities,” said Steven Aftergood, who heads the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists…
The bill calls for numerous test ranges to be operated in conjunction with NASA and the Department of Defense, use of drones in the Arctic, guidance system improvements, and an assessment of the “catastrophic failure of the unmanned aircraft that would endanger other aircraft in the national airspace system.”
This new bill follows up the Army’s January directive to use drone fleets in the U.S. for training missions and “domestic operations.”
And both of these initiatives are mandated in the NDAA (section 1097) that calls for six drone test ranges to be operational within six months of that bills signing December 31.
The commercial drone market would be worth hundreds of millions more if the bill passes.
New ‘Drone Studies’ Major Has Graduates Starting At $120,000 A Year
The fact that the U.S. is training more pilots to fly drones than it is to fly fighters and bombers is nothing new, but the stress those drone operators are under is only growing, and the need for civilian contractors to ease their burden is great.Erik German at The Daily reports some American colleges are responding to that demand and offering what could be America’s newest, and possibly best paying, major.
German tracked down a student at Northwestern Michigan College (NMC), Jeb Bailey, who says he’s taken every drone related class the school offers, and watched a classmate recently accept a job with an overseas contractor. “He got like $200,000 per year,” Bailey says, “and he didn’t even finish his associate’s degree.”
I called Al Laursen at Northwestern Michigan and he says they’re expanding the program, which is a series of electives in “unmanned aerial systems.” While he’s quick to point out that there is no domestic market for drone pilots, that’s about to change.
When the FAA allows for unmanned aerial vehicles in American skies “job prospects will be tremendous,” Laursen says, adding, “we’re definitely preparing for the future.”
By some estimates U.S. airspace will have enough room carved out of it to host 30,000 unmanned aerial vehicles by the end of the decade.
In the meantime, schools like NMC are training students for jobs overseas that will allow them to pay off their student loans way ahead of schedule.
As student pilot Bailey told German, “The idea of going to Afghanistan for a single year and paying off all my loans — that’s very attractive. In an airlines career path, you really don’t expect to make a whole lot until you’ve been in the industry 20 years.”