Release Number: 160101
2/3/2016 - Joint Base Langley-Eustis, VA -- An
abbreviated accident investigation board found that a remotely piloted
MQ-1B Predator that was intentionally crashed into an uninhabited area
of the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility on May 27, 2015,
suffered an engine failure due to loss of coolant.
At the time of the accident, the aircraft was flying a classified combat support mission in the U.S. CENTCOM AOR.
The board president identified interference as a main factor that
contributed to the mishap. According to the investigation report, the
crew learned the engine was overheating and began running the associated
checklist for addressing the problem. Simultaneously, the pilot in
coordination with the mission commander, decided to return the aircraft
to base so the checklist was not completed. This interference
forestalled the sensor operator from manually turning on the cooling fan
as per the checklist instructions.
The aircraft and crew were assigned to the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron,
an associate unit at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., under the 432nd Wing
at Creech AFB, Nev. The total loss to the U.S. Government is estimated
at $2.8 million. There were no additional injuries or damages to other
government or private property.