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Controlling Unmanned Aircraft Stresses Pilots

Written by on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Unmanned aircraft have revolutionized modern warfare in a number of ways. One of the most readily visible impacts is that it protects troops from the dangers of front-line combat. In many ways, preventing psychological trauma is just as important as preventing physical trauma. Allowing pilots to man remote-controlled aircraft should shield them from both of these negative consequences of battle. To everyone’s surprise, that might not be the case.

Rather unexpectedly, pilots of unmanned aircraft are reporting high levels of stress, or burnout. These psychological factors are having real, physical impacts on these pilots, as nearly 29% of them report extremely high levels of fatigue.

One of the possible reasons for these high levels of burnout stems from the high demand of unmanned aircraft. The demand for remote-controlled aircraft has steadily increased, and the supply of pilots has also increased, but not as quickly. These pilots are working long hours, pushing hard to meet the demands of an understaffed buy generic valium online section of the Air Force.

Additionally, the nature of unmanned aircraft surveillance presents pilots with rather unique circumstances that could also impact their mental health. These pilots are often tasked with observing a specific area, sometimes for stretches of weeks or months. Pilots could, understandably, come to dread hours of staring at an unchanging computer monitor.

Those fortunate enough to survey a busy location, such as a town, are presented with a much more troubling dilemma. These pilots watch inhabitants in their daily lives, learning their habits and watching them interact with their families. So when the order comes to shoot, pulling the trigger could be particularly difficult for pilots of unmanned drones.

The Air Force plans to reevaluate the function of unmanned aircrafts in light of this recent discovery. Hopefully, they will be able to develop a solution that will aid these stressed pilots while maintaining the same high levels of surveillance provided by these expert pilots.

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