Even though Reaper pilots have been operating out of the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base since 2009, the MQ-9 aircraft has never actually been used at the base. For training missions, they're flown out of Fort Drum. Tuesday 19th the UAV taxied at the base for the first time.
It will still be a slow and methodical process before seeing the MQ-9 Reaper in the air. The 174th Attack Wing Commander said he hopes to see them off the ground in the next six months. "Just staying within just a couple miles within the airfield here to work out the procedures and to get the FAA controllers comfortable with the operations. And once we're comfortable with that, we'll work our way out further," said Col. Greg Semmel.