Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Wind shear and pilot's lack of training caused Predator accident

An unmanned MQ-1B Predator drone impacted a runway on April 4 because of low-level wind shear and incorrect pilot recovery techniques during a practice landing at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, according to an Air Combat Command abbreviated accident investigation board report released Tuesday.

The aircraft and its aircrew were assigned to the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron at Creech, when the accident occurred. The aircraft was significantly damaged by the impact with a repair cost estimate of $4.5 million. There were no injuries or damage to private property. The aircrew was conducting a routine launch and recovery training mission at the time of the mishap.

The board president found by clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the mishap was low-level wind shear during a critical phase of landing, and the pilot's lack of training in landing operations for the MQ-1B. Specifically, after the aircraft experienced loss of lift due to low-level wind shear, it bounced on the runway and the mishap pilot used the wrong recovery technique for an MQ-1B. The pilot's incorrect control inputs caused the aircraft to continue bouncing on the runway until its landing gear were destroyed.

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