Tuesday, November 21, 2006
The Mighty Global Hawk
Somewhere out there, close to the Bay Area, lies Beale Air Force Base, about 10 miles East of Marysville (You can find it here. ), whence flies the Northrup Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk. This UAV bird is about the size of a Boeing 737, and it flies at 65,000 feet. The flights are directed by the 9th Reconnaisance Wing at Beale, from on-site console stations (think video games) and the UAVs are flying over Iraq and Afghanistan!
The "pilots" arrive at Beale for 8-hour shifts, 4 hours as co-pilot/observer, then 4 hours as pilot. 24/7. Pilots, through their Hawks can see down at night and through dust and rain storms. The Hawks are guided by Beale in response to requests from the military on the ground in the Middle East.