First MQ-9 model debuts at Tyndall Air Show

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Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class James Thompson

An Airman assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing watches one of the air demonstrations performed during the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Airshow April 22, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Airmen from Creech Air Force Base, Nev., debuted the model at the air show and were able to communicate the MQ-9s capability and mission sets to visitors.

Airmen assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., showcased an MQ-9 Reaper at the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show April 22 and 23, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.

A team of MQ-9 Reaper pilots, sensor operators and maintenance personnel took part in unveiling the first MQ-9 model aircraft to the public. The model provided on-lookers with a realistic visual of the Reaper up-close and proved to be essential in building community understanding of the remotely piloted aircraft mission set and its impact abroad.

The MQ-9 Reaper model enables the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing to keep all operational aircraft in rotation while still providing a visual for the public at events like the 2017 GCS Open House and Air Show.

“Airshows are a big deal and they attract a lot of people, so at this one, we were able to show them what the plane actually looked like and brief them on common misunderstandings about the MQ-9 and its use in daily operations,” said Senior Airman Ricardo, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member.

The team of subject matter experts consisted of three aircrews and eight maintainers charged with building up the model, maintaining the display and the breakdown.

Airmen from the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assemble an MQ-9 Reaper model for the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show April 21, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.The airshow marked the first time the MQ-9 model was revealed to the public.

Ricardo said communication and teamwork were imperative to mission success, and the arduous process of building the model was well worth the outcome.

Ricardo recounted the visitors’ excited expressions when hearing the capabilities of the MQ-9 and that experience was the highlight of the Air Show.

“It was a good experience because we were able to see how much people were interested in what we do and what the mission consists of,” said Ricardo. 

Airmen from the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assemble the MQ-9 Reaper model April 21, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Eight Airmen worked to build the 5,300-pound model for its first-ever appearance to the public at the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show.

The 432nd AMXS acquired the 5,300 pound carbon-fiber model in 2013. It takes approximately eight people to assemble using a crane or overhead hoist with a weight capability to lift the display.

The MQ-9 model symbolizes the persistence and innovation of the latest in the Air Force’s arsenal and, for a weekend, members of the Tyndall community got a personal experience of the aircraft and the Airmen that make a daily impact on the battlefield.
 

An Airman assigned to the 432nd Wing Maintenance Squadron works to assemble an MQ-9 Reaper model before the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show April 21, 2017 at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The model required at least eight Airmen to build and disassemble.

 

A child grips the end of the MQ-9 Reaper model propeller during the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show April 22, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The MQ-9 model was revealed for the first time and provided visitors an up-close look at the MQ-9 and the Airmen that operate and support the aircraft.

 

An Airman assigned to the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing lifts a child in the air to feel the propeller of the MQ-9 Reaper model during the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show April 22, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The MQ-9 model stood among other aircraft displays for the first time and provided air show visitors a visual of the MQ-9.

 

A child waves the U.S. flag in front of the MQ-9 Reaper model during the 2017 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show April 23, 2017, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Visitors of the air show were able to experience a close look at the MQ-9 model for the first time and ask questions regarding the MQ-9 capabilities and mission set.