LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — A failed power converter in an MQ-1B Predator’s onboard control module led to the crash of the aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea, Sept. 17, 2013, according to an Air Combat Command Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report released today.
The remotely piloted aircraft was deployed from the 432d Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. When the accident occurred, the aircraft was returning from a 20- hour intelligence, surveillance and reconnaisance operational mission in support of U.S. Africa Command. The aircraft and one communication pod were lost on impact, with a loss valued at approximately $5.3 million. There were no injuries or damage to other government or private property.
According to the report, the crew noticed a loss in communications with the aircraft prior to handing control over to the Launch and Recovery Element. The crew completed appropriate checklists, and notified the GCS that they could not establish communications with the aircraft.
Two seconds prior to the loss of satellite link with the aircraft, the GCS logged electrical, flight control and engine warning indications. The board president found that these indicators were a direct result of a power converter malfunction in the aircraft’s control module, which forced the RPA to lose control in the air and begin a rapid spiral descent into the Mediterranean Sea.
The board president found by clear and convincing evidence, that the mishap was caused by failure of the power converter in the control module, which led to loss of control of stabilizers and engine power output. For more information, contact Air Combat Command Public Affairs at (757) 764-5007 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.