DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del., Aug. 31, 2017 —
Fifteen Airmen assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing celebrated 70 years of aviation while showcasing the remotely piloted aircraft MQ-9 Reaper model at the 2017 Thunder Over Dover air show Aug. 25-27, 2017, at Dover Air Force Base, Del.
As part of Creech’s efforts to expand public knowledge on the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9, the Airmen, consisting of avionics and maintenance personnel, pilots, sensors, intelligence analyst and public affairs explained how RPA missions are executed 24/7/365 in support of combat operations overseas.
“It’s been a great experience being able to interface with the public,” said Capt. Tim, 11th Attack Squadron instructor pilot. “I’ve certainly seen a lot of people who were very interested in the MQ-9 and in our mission.”
This visit to Dover marked the second time that an MQ-1/9 has been on display for public viewing on the East Coast. Despite being overshadowed by larger aircraft, the MQ-9 drew large crowds interested in the aircraft and the men and women who execute RPA missions daily.
For many, this was the first time seeing a Reaper up-close while learning about its capabilities.
“I’m very impressed by it [MQ-9 Reaper],” said Mr. Edward Peters, retired Marine and Vietnam veteran. “I was also impressed by your people [432nd Wing/ 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing representatives], the new technology, the uniforms, their professionalism and the whole nine yards.”
Many were shocked to hear that aircrews operating the MQ-1/9s fly the mission from the continental United States.
“I think the Air Force is helping to save lives, not just the Drones [RPA], but with every plane,” said Peters. “The Airmen, the Marines, the Navy, the Army, everyone does what they need to without question and I thank them for their service.”
Overall attendees were amazed by the effectiveness of the Air Force’s ability to combine manned and remotely piloted assets to aid other services and coalition partners.
In addition to the MQ-9, spectators enjoyed the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the KC-135 Stratotanker, the C-130 Hercules, and the B-2 Spirit.
The air show also included demonstrations from C-130s, a Red Nose P-51D Mustang and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. Overall, more than 40,000 spectators came to enjoy the show.
“I hope we’ve been able to give the public good information about our mission and its importance to the United States Air Force,” said Tim.