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Congress questions low UAV pilot promotion rates

by Mike Hoffman on January 2, 2013

Congress wants Air Force leaders to figure out why unmanned pilots don’t get promoted as often their fighter, bomber and cargo counterparts, according to an Air Force Times report.

Lawmakers inserted into the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act a mandate to receive answers in 180 days from Air Force leader.

Air Force Times reported that the past five promotion cycles have shown that unmanned pilots have lagged behind other pilots in three of those five promotion cycles.

Air Force pilots feared that a transition to flying drones could have harmful effects on their career. Many fought against being taken out of the air and stuck on the ground.

However, the Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1 Predator have played prominent roles in the wars over the past decade. Because of the demand, unmanned pilots have logged long hours from bases in Nevada, California and North Carolina.

Those long hours mean the pilots don’t have the same amount of free time to climb up the career ladder with activities such as completing Master’s degrees or traveling to Alabama for Squadron Officer School. Without those resume boosts, the UAV pilots have suffered, a pilot to Air Force Times reporter Jeff Schogol.

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