The Predator

By Deane Barker on June 9, 2006

In the sights of a joystick killing machine: Interesting article about a reporter’s impressions of the Predator UAV. The people flying these things over Afghanistan and Iraq are actually sitting in Nellis AFB in Nevada. It’s like the world’s most serious video game.

As I stood talking into a camera on a remote airstrip in Kandahar, a Predator drone circled the sky, putting me into its sights with its high-precision cameras — and just a trigger away from being turned into the charred remains of a Hellfire missile.

[…] Predators are not fast, cruising about 80 miles an hour. The rear-mounted propeller seems small for the size of the craft — what amounts to little more than a snowmobile engine strapped to a glider. It can fly for 20 hours at a time with a range of 450 miles on 100 gallons of fuel.

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Comments

  1. I read an interesting article on this in Pop Sci a couple of months ago that I unfortunately never found online.

    Apparently life as a Predator pilot is pretty stressful. They deal with all of the same stresses associated with life-and-death decisions all day as soldiers in-theater do, but at the end of their shifts, they’re expected to go home to a wife and kids and a normal life. Add to that the fact that they’re on Iraq time, and these guys are putting in a pretty tough war for being stateside.

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