Houston & Peach

Unmanned aircraft landing at Robins next week

A Global Hawk like this one on display at the Museum of Aviation is expected to fly into Robins Air Force Base for the first time next week.
A Global Hawk like this one on display at the Museum of Aviation is expected to fly into Robins Air Force Base for the first time next week. wcrenshaw@macon.com

The first ever landing of an unmanned aircraft at Robins Air Force Base is expected to take place next week, but people outside of the base won’t be able to see it.

An RQ-4 Global Hawk is scheduled to land in the early morning hours, said base spokesman Roland Leach. He said the early morning landing is because that’s when the sky will be clear of other aircraft. The day and exact time of the landing have not been set, he said.

The landing is a test with an eye toward Global Hawks coming in regularly for repairs. Leach said the one flying in next week will get some maintenance related to corrosion control.

The aircraft will fly in from California. A pilot at a remote location will land it at Robins, Leach said, but there will be someone on the ground at Robins who will be able to control it after it touches down.

It will be the first time an unmanned aircraft has flown into any U.S. Air Force maintenance depot.

Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, announced in January that a Global Hawk landing was planned sometime this year.

“This would be a big step for Robins to be able to fly a Global Hawk into Robins Air Force Base,” he said. “That opens the door for us to do some work on the Global Hawk.”

The surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft has a 131-foot wingspan, which is nearly that of a C-130. The aircraft can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering high-resolution imagery. It has flown in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other areas.

The day and time of the landing is expected to be announced Monday.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1

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