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Sun, Jan 28, 2007

'Pilot Error' Not Limited To Manned Aircraft Accidents

Cause Cited In August Predator UAV Crash

Air Force investigators ruled this week that pilot error caused an MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle to crash during a training mission at Nevada's Creech AFB last August.

According to the aircraft accident investigation report released Friday, the Predator's civilian contractor pilot inadvertently pressed the wrong switch while attempting to retract the aircraft's landing gear. Instead, the pilot shut off the aircraft's engine... while the aircraft was approximately 500 feet above ground level.

The pilot attempted to glide the aircraft (file photo of type, above) back to the runway, but the aircraft crashed just off the runway. There were no injuries or fatalities from the accident... though the repair bill for the aircraft totaled $1,436,765.

The MQ-1 Predator is a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV system. Its primary mission is interdiction and armed reconnaissance. The accident aircraft was assigned to the 11th Reconnaisance Squadron at Creech AFB.

(ANN thanks Air Combat Command News Service for this report)

FMI: www.af.mil

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