An MQ-9A crashed Feb. 20, 2016, in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility while conducting a simulated flame-out training approach, according to an Air Combat Command Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report released April 13, 2017.
The MQ-9A from the 432nd Wing at Creech AFB, Nev., was being operated by a launch and recovery element in the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron in Afghanistan, and was returning from a combat support mission in the U.S. Central Command AOR at the time of incident.
Evidence indicated the pilot set the power below the recommended power setting for simulated flame-out practice approaches, and failed to maintain altitude and approach path awareness. This led to a steeper descent path and low energy state from which the pilot was unable to recover, and the aircraft impacted the ground short of the runway.
Loss of government property is valued at $12.3 million. The mishap did not cause injuries, deaths, or damage to private property.