Fairgoers are able to check out military equipment used by the Air National Guard at their tent in front of the Coliseum. There are armored vehicles, weapon displays and even a simulator for the MQ-9 Reaper Drone. As our Katie Gibas reports, Air National Guard officials say the new technology is helping keep troops safe.
NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- 174th Fighter Wing commander Colonel Greg Semmel says things were much different when he joined the Air Force in 1986.
"When I first got into the Air Force, I never would have thought we'd have technology like this," Semmel said.
And some of that technology is on display at the Great New York State Fair, including armored humvees and a simulator for the MQ-9 Reaper Drone.
In 2009, the 174th's mission changed from flying F-16s to piloting remotely controlled MQ-9 Reaper Drones.
Semmel said, "It was very different. I'll say it was a historic conversion for us in the 174th, a very different mission. But it's got huge benefits to it. We would take about 400 to 500 folks, airmen with us and deploy over into theatre. With our new mission, we don't need to do that and we take a very small footprint with us of about 50 folks who maintain the airplane. So it's very cost effective and it keeps the folks safer."
And the simulator here at the fair isn't just on display. Fairgoers can try their hand at flying the MQ-9 Reaper Drone. And it's a lot harder than it looks.
"It had three screens. You can control the altitude and where you go. It’s hard to keep your balance. If you pause it, you go down and if you floor it, you go really high up," said Logan McGill.
"I think it's very cool because it gets people interested in the Air Force and get more people interested in learning how to fly and get their pilot’s license and that might open up more jobs too," said Brian Williams, Civil Air Patrol NY Squadron 135 Cadet.
You can test the simulator out for free for the duration of the fair.