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MQ-9 model heads west to Travis AFB

Tech. Sgt. Christopher, 867th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator, shares a laugh with spectators of the Wings Over Solano air show May 6, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Interacting with spectators gave MQ-9 crews the opportunity to dispel myths, provide information and explain the reaper mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Tech. Sgt. Christopher, 867th Attack Squadron MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator, shares a laugh with spectators of the Wings Over Solano air show May 6, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Interacting with spectators gave MQ-9 crews the opportunity to dispel myths, provide information and explain the reaper mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Spectators gather around the MQ-9 Reaper model May 7, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., during the Wings Over Solano air show. During the show, pilots, sensor operators and intelligence Airmen showcased how they accomplish their mission day in and day out. *U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Spectators gather around the MQ-9 Reaper model May 7, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., during the Wings Over Solano air show. During the show, pilots, sensor operators and intelligence Airmen showcased how they accomplish their mission day in and day out. *U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Staff Sgt. Cadi, Senior Airman Chris and Master Sgt. Joe, members of the 432nd Maintenance Squadron, push the MQ-9 Reaper casket across the hangar May 5, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. In order to begin assembling the model, the team had to reposition the casket below a hoist and lift it from its casing. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Staff Sgt. Cadi, Senior Airman Chris and Master Sgt. Joe, members of the 432nd Maintenance Squadron, push the MQ-9 Reaper casket across the hangar May 5, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. In order to begin assembling the model, the team had to reposition the casket below a hoist and lift it from its casing. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainers unpack the MQ-9 Reaper model May 5, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The aircraft was displayed at the Wings Over Solano air show for spectators to see an actual MQ-9 and learn about the Reaper's capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen

432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainers unpack the MQ-9 Reaper model May 5, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The aircraft was displayed at the Wings Over Solano air show for spectators to see an actual MQ-9 and learn about the Reaper's capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen

Airmen assigned to the 432nd Maintenance Squadron lift the wings of the MQ-9 Reaper model May 5, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. 432nd MXG maintainers used jacks in order to secure and transport the wings during the build before the 2017 Wings over Solano air show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Airmen assigned to the 432nd Maintenance Squadron lift the wings of the MQ-9 Reaper model May 5, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. 432nd MXG maintainers used jacks in order to secure and transport the wings during the build before the 2017 Wings over Solano air show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Senior Airman Paulino holds an MQ-9 Reaper model wing steady while a team of seven airmen with the 432nd Maintenance Squadron insert it into the fuselage of the display. The maintenance crew was tasked with unloading, building and maintaining the model for the 2017 Wings over Solano air show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Senior Airman Paulino holds an MQ-9 Reaper model wing steady while a team of seven airmen with the 432nd Maintenance Squadron insert it into the fuselage of the display. The maintenance crew was tasked with unloading, building and maintaining the model for the 2017 Wings over Solano air show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

1st Lt. Aaron, pilot, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher, sensor operator both assigned to the 867th Attack Squadron hold a conversation during the 2017 Wings over Solano air show May 6, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The aircrew greeted and discussed facts to all attendees interested in the MQ-9 Reaper model during the show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

1st Lt. Aaron, pilot, and Tech. Sgt. Christopher, sensor operator both assigned to the 867th Attack Squadron hold a conversation during the 2017 Wings over Solano air show May 6, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The aircrew greeted and discussed facts to all attendees interested in the MQ-9 Reaper model during the show. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

Gabriel, nine, and Sofia, five, children of Mariano Hernandez, a Sacramento local and U.S. Navy veteran, play with U.S. Air Force Thunderbird toys during the Wings Over Solano air show May 7, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The event attracted more than 100,000 guests and featured performances by the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the Air Force Thunderbirds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Gabriel, nine, and Sofia, five, children of Mariano Hernandez, a Sacramento local and U.S. Navy veteran, play with U.S. Air Force Thunderbird toys during the Wings Over Solano air show May 7, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The event attracted more than 100,000 guests and featured performances by the U.S. Army Golden Knights and the Air Force Thunderbirds. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly in formation above the 2017 Wings over Solano air show May 6, 2017 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The Thunderbirds concluded the air show with a high-speed maneuver demonstration. ( U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds fly in formation above the 2017 Wings over Solano air show May 6, 2017 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The Thunderbirds concluded the air show with a high-speed maneuver demonstration. ( U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform at the 2017 Wings over Solano air show May 7, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The Thunderbirds concluded each show and were one of many aerial demonstrations held at the event May 6-7. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)
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The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds perform at the 2017 Wings over Solano air show May 7, 2017, at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. The Thunderbirds concluded each show and were one of many aerial demonstrations held at the event May 6-7. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class James Thompson)

The MQ-9 Reaper model is displayed at the Wings Over Solano air show May 5, 2017 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Spectators were able to see an actual Reaper and interact with sensor operators, pilots and intelligence Airmen and learn about how the MQ-9 helps warfighters make a difference every day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)
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The MQ-9 Reaper model is displayed at the Wings Over Solano air show May 5, 2017 at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. Spectators were able to see an actual Reaper and interact with sensor operators, pilots and intelligence Airmen and learn about how the MQ-9 helps warfighters make a difference every day. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

Eleven aircrew, intelligence and maintenance Airmen from Creech AFB, showcased the MQ-9 Reaper at the Wings Over Solano air show May 6-7, 2017, at Travis AFB, Calif., making it the first time the MQ-9 model has been to the West Coast.

During the airshow, Creech Airmen spoke with thousands of attendees to provide information about the Reaper enterprise.

"We were out here to help educate the attendees by answering questions and interacting with them," said 1st Lt. Tre, 489th Attack Squadron MQ-9 pilot. "We wanted to show that these aircraft aren't robots in the sky. There are skilled Airmen involved at all times."

The MQ-9 model, designed to eliminate man hours on assembly time and reduce security concerns, drew considerable crowds during the two-day air show.

"We were able to correct misconceptions and educate a lot of people who were confused on what we really do," Tre said. "They know the endgame, but don't know how we actually get the mission done."

While the attendees had a plethora of questions, many started with one. Is this a drone? Reaper flight members explained that while the MQ-9 is called a drone in the news, they are actually remotely piloted aircraft because there is a skilled aircrew in control of the aircraft at all times following specific aviation guidance and deliberate rules of engagement consistent with the law of armed conflict.

"Going to these air shows and showcasing the aircraft is important so we can highlight the MQ-9 mission to tens of thousands of people to spread knowledge and understanding to the public."

For one spectator, seeing the MQ-9 Reaper up close and dispelling rumors was the highlight of his day.

"We've come so far in aviation from 1909, it’s hard to believe it can carry so many weapons and can be so precise to take out enemies while preserving friendly lives," said Larry Winters, a California native and Vietnam War veteran. "My son is in the Army and what these [RPA] guys do helps keep him safe. I like that."

The 432nd Wing partnered with the 60th Air Mobility Wing at Travis AFB to help transport the aircraft within the U.S. because RPAs such as the Reaper do not operate in civilian airspace. The RPA community often partners with mobility aircraft for transport to enable persistent attack and reconnaissance for the combatant commanders in the theater.

While the MQ-9 was a very popular attraction, the airshow also included static displays of the B-52 Stratofortress, A-10 Thunderbolt II and C-5M Supergalaxy, and performances by the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team and the Air Force Thunderbirds.

"Overall the event went well and people were very interested in learning about what we do," Tre said. “This was a good opportunity to educate the community about how we operate."

The air show attracted more than 100,000 guests and the 432nd Wing is committed to outreach efforts so be on the lookout for an MQ-9 display at an air show near you.


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