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Command releases RQ-1 accident report

Released: Feb. 19, 2003

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (ACCNS) -- Air Force investigators have determined that human error caused an RQ-1 Predator aircraft to crash Sept. 17 at a classified forward-operating location in Southwest Asia.

The Predator, which is an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, was destroyed upon impact. The loss is estimated at $3.2 million. No one was injured in the accident. The aircraft was assigned to the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

According to an Air Combat Command accident investigation report released today, the primary cause of the accident was that the pilot unintentionally flew the aircraft into a hazardous cloud.

The pilot lost communication with the aircraft several times, but was able to re-establish communication twice. However, the aircraft failed to respond to the pilot's commands, indicating the flight control computers were disabled by the hazardous weather conditions.

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