Past Meetup

SCAPA Dinner, Meeting & Presentation


Flying Worldwide Reconnaissance Missions with the Global Hawk

Presented by Lt Col John Tate, Chief Pilot 13th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale AFB

Have you ever wondered just why there are so many TFRs restricting flight around and above Beale Air Force Base? Beale is the home of the Global Hawk, the premier worldwide reconnaissance drone flown by the Air Force to find out what the bad guys are doing. For our May 13 meeting, come hear Global Hawk Instructor Pilot John Tate speak about flying the Global Hawk on US Intelligence Surveillance Missions throughout the world. Within the realm of non-classified information, he will tell us how the Global Hawk operates, and share some of his more interesting missions with us. During the talk, he will also give us a safety briefing on how Beale assures safe operations for all planes (drones and not) in its air space.

About the Speaker-

Lt Col Tate is an instructor Pilot on the RQ-4 and is currently serving as the Chief Pilot in the 13th Reconnaissance Squadron at Beale AFB, CA. The 13th RS operates as an Associate unit to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale, operating the unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawk Aircraft.

His military career began in 1982 as a Crew Chief (mechanic) on the KC-135. In 1986, he earned his private pilot license & began building time in the usual assortment of Cessnas, Grummans & Pipers. He has been in the reserves since 1986 flying the KC-135 and Global Hawk. In 1990 he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering and started working for United Airlines as an Aircraft Engineer, designing modifications on B-727 & B-737 aircraft. In 1991 he obtained a coveted pilot training slot and began his military flying career. He flew the KC-135 from 1991 until 2008, when his unit converted to the Global Hawk.

He was activated for 4 months for the Kosovo war, flew numerous Homeland defense missions after 911, flew one of the first Operation Tomodachi sorties over Japan and flew the first RQ-4 sortie over Libya when combat operations began.

Lt Col Tate is currently on a military leave of absence from United Airlines where he has flown the B-727 and most recently the B747-400. In addition to the planes listed above, he has also flown the T-37, T-38 and his 1969 V35A Bonanza. He has a little over 10,000 hours of total flying time and enjoys flying formation in his Bonanza with the "BeechBoys."


*Dinner $15 members, $20 non-members