One of CAE USA's senior instructor pilots on the MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) recently participated as one of the aircrew during the ceremonial "final flight" of the MQ-1 Predator at Holloman Air Force Base (AFB) in New Mexico.In total, seven pilots and seven sensor operators participated in the ceremonial final flight of the MQ-1 at Holloman AFB on February 27, 2017 as the U.S. Air Force begins the transition to training solely MQ-9 Reaper aircrews at Holloman AFB. Senior CAE USA instructor pilot, call-sign "Gris", was one of the MQ-1 pilots and the only contractor asked to be part of the aircrew for the final flight.
"I was humbled that the active duty Air Force invited me on this sortie as the only contractor out of 14 crewmembers invited to fly the final flight," said Gris, whose full name will not be disclosed due to U.S. Air Force security concerns surrounding RPA personnel. "While active-duty, I was part of the team that originally established the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron, and later the 6th Attack Squadron, at Holloman. I am very proud of the contribution the MQ-1 and its aircrews have made to many U.S. Air Force missions, and honored that I can continue leveraging my experience as part of the CAE team helping to train future RPA aircrew."
Holloman AFB is the site of the U.S. Air Force's MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper RPA Formal Training Unit (FTU). CAE USA is the prime contractor on the MQ-1/MQ-9 aircrew training program and works closely with active-duty U.S. Air Force personnel to provide classroom, simulator and live flying instruction for U.S. Air Force and international MQ-1 and MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators. Senior CAE USA instructor pilot "Gris" has more than 3,000 hours of MQ-1 and MQ-9 combat support and FTU instructor hours.
The U.S. Air Force has flown the MQ-1 Predator, originally called the RQ-1, for over 20 years in combat operations. The 6th Reconnaissance Squadron (RS) and Attack Squadron (ATKS) at Holloman AFB has provided initial qualification training for pilots and sensor operators learning to operate the MQ-1 since 2009.
"Today we close the chapter of the MQ-1 Predator at Holloman," said James G. Clark, the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Modernization and Infrastructure; Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR, Headquarters United States Air Force. "The MQ-1 was a revolution. It changed the way of aviation. Risk taking leadership and innovators saw the vision of the MQ-1 and made this airframe a success."