"UAV: Unemployed Aviators Vanquished?"
(See A. Winberry, pp. 84-85, July 2002 Proceedings)
Commander Sean Clark, U.S. Naval Reserve, Strike Fighter Squadron 201—While I appreciate Ensign Winberry's look at the future uses of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), I am struck by some of the faulty reasons by which he claims that aviators should be taken out of the equation.
Aviators don't need "seat-of-the-pants sensory input" to maintain situational awareness. Situational awareness comes from multiple sources: onboard electronics sensors, off-board communication inputs, and simple airborne reasoning, just to name a few. The latter probably is the most important awareness generator, and actually being in the environment that one is fighting in is paramount to that reasoning. It is the aviator's brain and his ability to make instantaneous decisions that make him lethal in combat environments.