HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Good Reads (Forum) » The Drone Zone
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Sat Jul 7, 2012, 10:32 AM

The Drone Zone

Source: NY Times Magazine

Holloman Air Force Base, at the eastern edge of New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range, 200 miles south of Albuquerque, was once famous for the daredevil maneuvers of those who trained there. In 1954, Col. John Paul Stapp rode a rocket-propelled sled across the desert, reaching 632 miles per hour, in an attempt to figure out the maximum speed at which jet pilots could safely eject. He slammed on the brakes and was thrust forward with such force that he had to be hauled away on a stretcher, his eyes bleeding from burst capillaries. Six years later, Capt. Joseph Kittinger Jr., testing the height at which pilots could safely bail out, rode a helium-powered balloon up to 102,800 feet. He muttered, “Lord, take care of me now,” dropped for 13 minutes 45 seconds and broke the record for the highest parachute jump.

Today many of the pilots at Holloman never get off the ground. The base has been converted into the U.S. Air Force’s primary training center for drone operators, where pilots spend their days in sand-colored trailers near a runway from which their planes take off without them. Inside each trailer, a pilot flies his plane from a padded chair, using a joystick and throttle, as his partner, the “sensor operator,” focuses on the grainy images moving across a video screen, directing missiles to their targets with a laser.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/magazine/the-drone-zone.html?ref=magazine

0 replies, 481 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread