The Predator B lands
at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh on Tuesday morning, July
Kevin Krogh, Air
Interdiction Agent with the CBP.
History was made on Tuesday morning in
Oshkosh when a Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) landed for the
first time ever at Wittman Regional Airport for participation in next
week's AirVenture 2009. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
aircraft, piloted remotely from a trailer on the flight line, touched down
on Runway 18's blue dot at 9:46 a.m. A number of local media
representatives were on hand, along with scores of digital camera and
smart phone-toting onlookers as the aircraft landed, taxied, and parked in
front of the EAA Radio building. It will be on display outside the Federal
Pavilion throughout AirVenture.
Kevin Krogh, Air Interdiction Agent with
the CBP, had the honor of making the first Predator B landing in Oshkosh.
"It was pretty awesome," said
Krogh, who is also an EAA member (866375). "Normally we're not
operating at a civilian air show, so this is exciting." Control of
the aircraft, which came from Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota,
was handed off to Krogh about 50 miles from Oshkosh. Ensconced in the
high-tech trailer/cockpit, he piloted the aircraft up the length of Lake
Winnebago, turned it base to final, then greased the landing on Runway 18.
Krogh attended his first Oshkosh last year
and planned to fly in this year in his own airplane, a Piper PA 20.
"I couldn't get off work, but next year I hope to fly in," he
With a wingspan of 66 feet and a length of
36 feet, the Predator is equipped with electro-optical, infrared, laser
designation and laser illumination, and rapid strike capabilities along
with Synthetic Aperture Radar. It's powered by a Honeywell TPE 331-10T
turboprop in pusher configuration and has a payload of 3,800 pounds
(maximum gross weight 10,500 lbs.). The Predator B has a top speed of 240
kts and can fly up to 50,000 feet for 30 hours.
The Predator B was first deployed by the
CBP's Office of Air and Marine (OAM) on the Southwest border in 2005 and
along the Northern border this year. Built by General Atomics Aeronautical
Systems in San Diego, the Predator's priority mission is anti-terrorism,
identifying and intercepting potential terrorists or illegal cross-border
activity. Predator B's have to date contributed to the arrest of nearly
5,000 illegal aliens.
You can speak with crewmembers and see the
Predator up close during special forums in the Federal Pavilion on
Wednesday, July 29, 12-1 p.m.; and Thursday, July 30, 2:45-3:45 p.m. The
Federal Pavilion is located along the flight line across Wittman Road from
Homebuilders Headquarters. (Click on Federal Pavilion in the "Find
It Fast Map" alphabetical list.)