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The Curious, Stressful Life of a US Military Drone Pilot

In a hangar at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, a 23-year-old soldier named Matthew stands in front of a plane he’s flown dozens, perhaps hundreds of times over Afghanistan, Iraq, perhaps Yemen or the Philippines, even parts of Europe. Except, he’s never physically been over any of those places, and he’s never been inside the plane.

Matthew, a drone pilot, has been on the front lines for the last three years without traveling more than 20 minutes from the nearest Walmart. His drone, the Global Hawk, is a surveillance and support plane—it isn’t armed, but it’s flying over many of the same places Predator drones are, and then, really, a few more.

via The Curious, Stressful Life of a US Military Drone Pilot | Motherboard.

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