Pilot Error Caused Predator Crash

Air Combat Command officials investigating the March 20 crash of a Predator unmanned aerial vehicle in Iraq say that the pilot flying the UAV erred when he decided to “turn off the aircraft’s Stability Augmentation System pitch and roll axes.” The pilot was flying the Predator at a speed that led to rapid loss of altitude, dropping the UAV 2,000 feet below its required clearance altitude, states an ACC release. The pilot mistakenly attributed the loss of altitude to a control issue and turned off the SAS, sending the UAV into a steep dive and breaking the satellite communication link with the aircraft.