Air Guard's 174th Attack Wing flies MQ-9 to an air show for the first time
For the first time Wednesday, August 9, the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing will fly one of their MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft to an air show.
HANCOCK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (08/09/2023) (readMedia)-- For the first time Wednesday, August 9, the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing will fly one of their MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft to an air show.
The 174th has exhibited their MQ-9s at other air shows, but then they had to be trucked to the location and assembled at the site.
Thanks to new satellite control technology, the Guard pilots can fly the aircraft to the Rochester Airshow being held at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport on August 12-13 from Hancock Field Air National Guard Base.
The flight marks a significant milestone for the 174th Attack Wing.
"Flying to the Rochester Airshow gives us a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the capabilities of this amazing aircraft to our local communities," said Col, John O'Conner, the commander of the 174th.
"It's another airplane with a pilot controlling it landing at the airport," O'Connor said.
Landing a remotely piloted aircraft at Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport for participation in the airshow breaks down multiple barriers, according to O'Connotr.
Doing so has not been a normal operation at a civilian airport, and, up until now, MQ-9 participation in airshows has always been limited to transporting the aircraft in by truck and assembling it on-site.
Col Brett Batick, commander of the 174th Maintenance Group, said "pushing past those barriers will greatly accelerate the efforts to have this platform and those like it be recognized for their ability to safely operate in the national airspace structure like any other aircraft."
The MQ-9 platform no longer requires large maintenance teams or restrictions to select airfields.
Recent advances in technology have enabled light, easily mobile, and agile maintenance teams to move quickly to service the aircraft at different locations, greatly expanding landing site and servicing options locally and throughout the world.
"Flying into the Rochester Airshow, though it may seem like a routine operation, is the result of years of training improvements and advancements in hardware," Batick said.
A more capable MQ-9 can quickly respond to local, state, and federal agencies with critical capabilities such as search and rescue, real-time situational awareness, and a robust communication relay for first responders in hazardous terrain.
"The dual- purpose nature of the Air National Guard Airmen and the MQ-9 is a valuable tool to support our neighbors in distress locally as well defend our freedoms abroad federally," said Lt. Col. Lee Nietzel, commander of the 174th Maintenance Squadron.
The 174th Attack Wing flies the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft. From a command center at Hancock Field, members of the wing operate aircraft at locations around the world.
The 174th Attack Wing transitioned from the F-16 Falcon fighter to the MQ-9 in 2010.
The wing also conducts training for the pilot and sensor operator teams which fly the aircraft and the mechanics who keep the MQ-9 flying. The wing trains Airmen from the active Air Force, the Air Force Reserve, the Air National Guard, and allied nations.
The wing was the first Air Force unit to fly an MQ-9 from a commercial airport in 2015.
Page Last Modified: Sep 05, 2023