LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — Loss of telemetry downlink signal and an unprogrammed pitch over caused the crash of an MQ-1B Predator 7.5 nautical miles North of Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Oct. 30, 2013, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released today.
The remotely piloted aircraft was deployed from and controlled by the 6th Reconnaissance Squadron at Holloman AFB when the accident occurred. The crew was attempting the landing phase of the flight after 6.5 hours of normal operation when sporadic signal data from the aircraft caused the crew to go-around in order to preclude a difficult and potentially unsafe landing. The continued degradation in the telemetry downlink signal prompted the crew to put the aircraft on its emergency “lost link” mission profile. While the MQ-1B was operating in accordance to its preset emergency mission profile and under its own control, it performed an unprogrammed pitch over, departed from controlled flight and crashed into the ground. The AIB could not determine what caused the departure from controlled flight.
The aircraft and two inert training munitions were destroyed on impact, with a loss valued at approximately $4.5 million. There were no injuries or damage to other private or government property.