Cause of Predator Crash Remains a Mystery

Accident investigators could not determine by clear and convincing evidence why an MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft crashed last September in Southwest Asia, according to Air Combat Command. The Predator went down shortly after operators lost the satellite data link with the aircraft, according to ACC’s April 9 release, which references the command’s newly released accident investigation board report. The Predator’s remote pilot, assigned to the 432nd Wing at Creech AFB, Nev., ran the appropriate checklist, but was unsuccessful in reestablishing a satellite link during the Sept. 18, 2012, mission. The AIB president thought it was possible that a catastrophic power loss preceded the crash, but the board could not determine the cause of the power loss “based on the limited recovered wreckage and other available evidence,” states the release. The AIB president ruled out anomalies with the ground control station, operating crew, maintenance, and weather. The lost Predator was valued at approximately $4.4 million, states the release.