JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — A ground control station error in the wake of a starter-generator failure led to the intentional crash of an MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft in the CENTCOM area of responsibility Nov. 24, 2015, according to an Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report released today.
The aircraft, valued at $9.9 million, was assigned to the 432nd Wing, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, and was destroyed on impact. There were no injuries or damage to private property.
The crew was flying an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission in the CENTCOM AOR when the mishap occurred. Approximately 80 minutes into the flight, the starter-generator failed and the crew contacted a nearby alternate launch and recovery element to take over command of the aircraft.
Immediately upon assuming control of the aircraft, the aircraft stalled and lost altitude. Control was returned to the original crew, but all three flight control assemblies had failed leaving the aircraft not fully controllable. As a result, it was decided to intentionally crash in an unpopulated area.
It was later determined that the alternate LRE had not properly calibrated their systems to fly the MQ-9A, causing the flight control assembly failure. The wreckage was not retrieved.