Things military drone pilots say when they crash their drones


“You mean I’ve been hurting guilty people?!”

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As someone who has flown and crashed (now illegal) FPV planes and quadcopters, I can say I’ve uttered most of these things before, during and after crashes.

The fact that military drones crash sometimes is entirely unsurprising - if anything good can be said about them its that fewer people are hurt when a drone crashes compared to when an actual aircraft crashes.

Reminds me of this list of airplane pilot “last words” recorded by the black box. Some are sad (“Ma I love you.”) or appropriately dramatic (“Goodnight, Goodbye, We Perish!”), others are very similar to these drone pilot utterances - the low level frustration of someone for whom nothing is going well, but who hasn’t quite grasped the enormity of the situation yet, “Can’t keep this SOB thing straight up and down.”

What do these chair-force “heroes” say when they realize they’ve just murdered a half dozen children collecting firewood?

Or are they even told that the Metadata was wrong? Do they go about the rest of their lives thinking they destroyed an Al Qaeda cell?


I imagine it’s much like with the police, no matter what they do, it’s fine. Good job, nothing to see here. I mean I hope that’s not true, but…

Actually, these conditions don’t look very good at all, do they? - the captain of Air New Zealand 901, just before crashing into Mt. Erebus; all 257 lives lost.

Even for a Kiwi, that is quite an understatement.


And the most-heard after a drone is hit: “LAG!”


See: Catch-22.

(tl;dr: give 'em a medal for carrying out an immoral act with a high degree of technical proficiency)

There is a line in … James Michener’s Space(?) where the characters are talking about test pilots and are played the recording of a test pilot in the process of dying. The pilot is in obviously an agitated state, but the transcript of the conversation between him and the control tower(?) is along the lines of “I’ve tried A, that didn’t work. I’ve tried B, that didn’t work. Give me something to try!” Even though Space is fiction, I got the impression that that particular bit was based on an actual event.

Amy I love you

Last words, Cockpit Voice Recordings (Do not read)

That guy in Jalalabad was ripping off an old Bill Cosby bit.

would rather see those in a new topic.

I am surprised that “I’m glad I’m a drone pilot” doesn’t top the list.

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There’s a Predator hanging in the Evergreen Museum in Oregon where they keep the Spruce Goose. These things are huge…

Although not directly over the F-15, it gives you a good idea how big these things are. It’s not a tiny thing falling out of the sky if it’s one of these…


Actually, I think that’s a Global Hawk, which has a whopping 130’ wingspan, while Predators are only about 50’ to 55’ in wingspan. Still the size of a Cessna, though, which can demolish a house if it hits it.


They blame you. You’re not chaining yourself to their jet, you could do more.

Those are some surprisingly restrained responses. Compared to the invective the average programmer unleashes toward unruly code, the drone operator’s responses are more like a soothing mantra of healing.

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They actually can - and do - end up with burnout and PTSD. For all they are, it at least shows they are at least somewhat humans too.

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