Predator’s Sea Bed in the Med

A power converter failure doomed an MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Sept. 17, 2013, after a mission supporting US Africa Command, according to an April 2 release. Flight controllers were preparing to hand the RPA off to the launch and recovery controllers after a 20-hour surveillance mission when they lost communication with the Predator, states Air Combat Command’s investigation executive summary. Two seconds before losing contact, the RPA transmitted engine, electrical, and flight control warnings which the abbreviated accident investigation board determined “were a direct result of a power converter malfunction in the aircraft’s control module.” The Predator spiraled out of control and impacted the sea, resulting in the loss of the aircraft and a communications pod valued at approximately $5.3 million. The RPA was deployed from Creech AFB, Nev.