We may be nearing the death of the real pilot

Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 03:51 PM.

But the future portends otherwise. The Air Force trained more UAS pilots than real pilots last year. Every service is interested in this unmanned aerial technology and more UASs are coming. Someday they’ll be autonomous too — capable of their own decision-making. Just add fuel and launch. Pilot not required. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s "Terminator" here we come.

Some day Cherry Point will have drones taking off from its Space Shuttle-sized runways instead of manned aircraft. The sign entering the base rather than reading, "Pardon our noise, it’s the sound of freedom." will read, "Like our whirring? We’re barely purring!" Noise complainers will appreciate that.

Pilots will begin to look more like Harry Potter than Tom Cruise. RPV pilot call signs instead of "Maverick," "Stones," or "Buff" will run the gamut of "Mini-me," "Mod" (for model), "Faux-eyes" (play on the term "four eyes"), "PC" (pronounced "pick" for politically correct), and "Balsa."

And real flying — as well as real aviators — will have died.

 Barry Fetzer is a columnist for the Havelock News. He can be reached at fetzerab@ec.rr.com. 

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