Release Number: 020815
8/4/2015 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- A
pilot's channelized attention resulted in an excessive descent rate and
subsequent crash of an MQ-9A Reaper Dec. 11, 2014, at Creech Air Force
Base, Nev., according to an Abbreviated Accident Investigation Report
The aircraft was assigned to the 432nd Wing at Creech AFB and was
operated by members of the 42nd Attack Squadron and 11th Reconnaissance
Squadron. The aircraft, valued at $11.3 million, was destroyed on
impact. There were no injuries or damage to private property.
When the accident occurred, the MQ-9A crew was flying a launch and
recovery training mission at Creech AFB. During the training sortie, the
crew performed 10 practice approaches to a landing. On the final
approach, the instructor pilot directed the student pilot to pitch the
nose of the aircraft down, which lead to an excessive descent rate.
Neither pilot accounted for the increased descent rate nor the location
of the aircraft, which was over elevated terrain. Despite subsequent
attempts to recover the aircraft by pulling up and out of the descent,
the pilots were unable to save the aircraft.