SAN DIEGO – General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions, today announced that the company’s new Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Flight Training Academy graduated its first cadre of GA-ASI aircrews on August 12th.
“Our first graduates have benefitted from safe, effective, cutting-edge training that will enable them to support flight operations for our global customers,” said David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI. “We look forward to providing the same high-quality training services to our customers’ aircrews to meet their growing demands in the very near future.”
GA-ASI’s North Dakota-based Flight Training Academy now demonstrates a dramatic reduction in the time required to train qualified aircrew, thereby expanding the company’s ability to meet the growing demand for Predator®-series UAS and the aircrew required to fly them. Prior to the Academy’s opening in June, training occurred at the company’s California flight operations facilities, where long logistical pipelines stretched aircrew instruction to as long as six months. Today, students can complete their UAS training in as little as two months. Pilots complete 15 flights (36 hours), 25 simulator lessons (59 hours), and 114 hours of academic studies. Sensor operator training time is similar with the exception that slightly fewer hours are required for graduation.
Three pilots comprised the Academy’s first graduating class. Five additional pilots and six sensor operators will follow shortly. Upon graduation, the new aircrews will join GA-ASI’s approximately 230 qualified aircrews currently deployed around the world.
Prior to entering training, all GA-ASI UAS pilots must possess a Bachelor’s degree, a FAA commercial instrument pilot rating and accumulate 300 hours as a pilot-in-command. For sensor operators, a commercial pilot rating or a private pilot license is required. Both pilots and sensor operators also must be able to maintain a Class II FAA medical certificate and to obtain and maintain a DoD security clearance,
GA-ASI Flight Training Academy graduates are qualified aircrews for Predator A. The company expects to have its second training system, Predator B, available before the end of this year, providing students with the opportunity to qualify on both aircraft.
As an additional benefit, the Training Academy also can serve to augment U.S. Air Force RPA training programs.
High-resolution photos of Predator, Predator B, and artistic renderings of the GA-ASI UAS Flight Training Academy are available to qualified media outlets from the GA-ASI media contact listed above.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing remotely piloted aircraft systems, radars, and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems business unit is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable RPA systems, including Predator A, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper®, Gray Eagle, the new Predator C Avenger®, and Predator XP. It also manufactures a variety of state-of-the-art digital Ground Control Stations (GCS), including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for RPA field operations. The Mission Systems business unit designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® Multi-mode Radar and sophisticated Claw® sensor control and image analysis software into both manned and remotely piloted aircraft. It also focuses on providing integrated sensor payloads and software for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft platforms and develops high energy lasers, electro-optic sensors, and meta-material antennas. For more information, please visit www.ga-asi.com.