New Scientist (sub required) explores the training and the pressures of a remote Predator or Reaper pilot. That is increasingly the new “Air Force” as the graph below shows.
“On top of the stress of taking lives and witnessing battleground horrors, drone operators must monitor a barrage of digital and auditory information. And between each high-octane skirmish stretch hours or days of boredom, which can be stressful in a different way. Psychologists are now wondering whether the separation of pilots from their planes - "split ops" in military parlance - is taxing the human mind in unprecedented ways.”
“Drone operators have an unprecedented view of war carnage as they circle scenes for hours. "In an F15 fighter jet, you're seeing first hand what's going on, but not hanging around for the aftermath," says Mike Weaver, a veteran jet pilot who commands the drone training programme at Holloman. When dropping a guided missile from a jet, "you might never see the target".”