Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Jason M. Turner, PhD


Currently, Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are operated by pilots and navigators experienced with manned combat aircraft. With a projected increase in UAVs, more combat pilots will be needed to operate these aircraft. Yet, if the current operational tempo continues, the supply of combat pilots may not be able to meet the demand. Perhaps alternative pools of Air Force personnel could be considered for UAV duty to meet operational requirements. Because the Predator UAV is a software-driven aircraft, video game players (VGPs) already possess and use many skills that may be similar to those of Predator UAV pilots. A variety of games can add situational awareness skills that a player/airman can bring to a new situation. This research examines the applicability of video-games-based skills to the operation of the Predator UAV. Nine people were interviewed to determine the overlap between piloting skills, UAV-specific skills, and skills gained and developed from gaming. The results indicate that frequent VGPs have the confidence and the consistent ability to obtain and retain new skills, many of which are related to operating the Predator UAV in a 2-D environment while not relying on the visual and nonvisual cues of the manned aircraft pilot.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number