Turbocharger Failure, Wind Gust led to Predator Crash

Failure of the turbocharger on an MQ-1 remotely piloted aircraft, coupled with wind gusts as the pilot attempted to land the vehicle, led to the airplane’s crash at Jalalabad AB, Afghanistan, last June, announced Air Combat Command on Monday. The MQ-1 and the Hellfire air-to-ground missile it was carrying were destroyed on impact at a loss of approximately $4.5 million, states ACC’s release, which cites the results of the command’s abbreviated accident investigation board report, issued on Jan. 6. The MQ-1 was flying a classified surveillance mission out of Jalalabad on June 27, 2013, when operators noticed indications of a possible turbocharger failure making the aircraft unable to maintain altitude and prompting them to initiate its return to the base, states the release. During final approach, the MQ-1 experienced a strong gust of wind, which caused the pilot to attempt a go-around, but the aircraft was unable to sustain flight and crashed approximately 800 feet past the end of the runway. The MQ-1 was deployed to Jalalabad from Creech AFB, Nev. (AIB report; caution, large-sized file.)