Predator Downed by Pilot Error

An Air Combat Command accident investigation board (AIB) has determined that pilot error led to the Nov. 2, 2008, crash of an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle in Afghanistan. According to the AIB, the pilot took an aggressive turn to avoid entering a no-fly zone, causing the UAV to spin out of control and crash. Contributing to the accident were these factors: the UAV had a Hellfire missile on its left wing, causing extra weight on the left; there was a significant crosswind; the autopilot did not limit the turn to 40 degrees of bank; and it is easy to over-control the Predator. (ACC April 2, 2009, release)