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    Bulgarians, U.S. Soldiers train together, develop drone skills

    Bulgarians, U.S. Soldiers train together, develop drone skills

    Photo By Sgt. Jacob Banuelos | Spc. Christian Portinga (left), the battalion small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS)...... read more read more



    Story by Spc. Jacob Banuelos 

    22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   

    KAZANLAK, Bulgaria – Bulgarian and U.S. Soldiers took to the skies in a bilateral training event through use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) April 26, 2018.

    The training enhanced operators’ proficiency in piloting the RQ-11B Raven
    UAS, and also allowed both armies to work with one another in taking advantage of
    Bulgaria’s terrain features and low amount of flight restrictions comparable to a deployed

    “Training out here in Bulgaria gives me and my students less restrictions when requesting
    airspace (to be made available by air traffic controllers),” said U.S. Army Spc. Christian
    Portinga, a small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) master trainer assigned to Headquarters
    and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade
    Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas. “It gives them a diverse environment to
    test their classroom knowledge with hands-on learning. This open environment is a better
    representation of what they will see when dealing with airspace on a standard deployment.”

    Bulgarian and U.S. troops started off the week in a classroom learning the fundamentals and safety procedures of the RQ-11B Raven. Once Soldiers from both countries were trained on the basics, they transitioned to hands-on training.

    “It turns out that the language barrier is not really an issue,” said Bulgarian 2nd Lt. Petar
    Hristov, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle platoon commander, 61st Mechanized
    Brigade, Kazanlak, Bulgaria. “We proved that it’s possible, with the combining efforts from both
    countries, to perform a lot of different tasks regardless of the language barrier.”

    Portinga and his UAS operators started with basic flights to get a sense of the Bulgarian soldiers’ proficiency with the system.

    “Working with our Allies has been very humbling,” said Portinga. “They have a very deep
    knowledge of the system.”

    A high-degree of proficiency by the Bulgarians and the U.S. at the start of the training helped Bulgarian and U.S. troops learn from each other and increased their skills in piloting the RQ-11B.

    “Imagine you can build a pyramid,” said Hristov. “Until now, we’ve had the first three levels of
    the pyramid. I think that after this week working with the U.S., we’ve put another two levels on
    top of our pyramid.”



    Date Taken: 04.26.2018
    Date Posted: 04.28.2018 08:45
    Story ID: 274917
    Location: KAZANLAK, BG 
    Hometown: FORT RILEY, KS, US
    Hometown: MANHATTAN, KS, US
    Hometown: WICHITA, KS, US

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