Air Force UAV operators face long hours, erratic schedules: survey

Almost half of the operators of Air Force unmanned aerial vehicles have high levels of job-related stress tied for the most part to the long and erratic hours they work, reports the New York Times.

A survey of nearly 1,500 operators, including 840 operators of Predator, Reaper and Global Hawk UAVs, conducted by the Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base found that 46 percent of the Reaper and Predator pilots and 48 percent of Global Hawk sensor operators had “high operational stress.”

The biggest sources of stress for UAV operators are long hours and frequent shift changes resulting from staff shortages, according to the study. To deal with this, the Air Force is training more pilots to operate UAVs than fighter and bomber pilots combined, the article states.

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