Study Shows Drone Pilots Suffer Stress Disorders Like Regular Pilots
By Sarah Dee
February 27, 2013
A recent study done on drone pilot operators shows that they suffer from stress disorders like anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and depression as much as pilots that operate from manned aircraft do.
This study was the first of its kind, and only one in a series of many firsts concerning unmanned air vehicles or drones.
The Air Force is currently developing a miniature class of drones (MAV’s ) that will be able to camouflage themselves as insects or birds, charge their batteries from power lines, and stealthily sneak up on a target and deliver a lethal blow.
The IntelHub also reported on a first-of-its-kind medal of honor for drone operators, which will be the first medal given to military members that haven’t seen physical combat.
This study shows that the cost of seeing the violence on screen, may take its toll. Though drone operators control the unmanned vehicles from the U.S., they are active in places as far away as Yemen and Somalia, and the pilots get a front row seat to any violence that occurs thanks to on-board cameras capturing all the action.
The New York Times reported that:
“Though it might be thousands of miles from the battlefield, this work still involves tough stressors and has tough consequences for those crews,” said Peter W. Singer, a scholar at the Brookings Institution who has written extensively about drones.”That is one major difference between pilots of bombers and fighter jets, is that they don’t witness the after-effects of delivering their payload first-hand, whereas drone pilots see it all on the live-camera feed.
It appears that the number of drone pilots being trained is on the rise, as cyber warfare comes to the forefront of today’s military strategy.
Dao, J. (2013, February 22). Drone pilots found to get stress disorders much as those in combat do. The New York Times
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Sarah Dee is a University of Texas graduate and animal lover who enjoys writing, reading, and living in the Lone Star State. She is also a guest co-host on Truth Exposed Radio Show and an investigative journalist for theintelhub.com a popular alternative news website.