Gummy Mess and One Less Predator

A turbocharger failure doomed an MQ-1B remotely piloted aircraft, which crashed due to severe turbulence as it lost altitude in the mountains of Afghanistan last spring, Air Combat Command investigators determined. The RPA lost power as the operator at Creech AFB, Nev., attempted to increase power to maintain its assigned flight level on a sortie near Jalalabad on June 25, 2014. According to the abbreviated investigation, downdrafts in the mountain valley caused the aircraft to lose additional altitude and slam into terrain. The turbocharger failure was blamed on oil residue caused by high temperature inhibiting its proper functioning, according to the inquest. Loss of the RPA and its weapons was pegged at an estimated $4.8 million. No damage was caused to private or unassociated government property, according to a Jan. 8 release. (Read the full AIB report; Caution, large-sized file.)