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Officials release Predator accident report


Release Date: 3/17/2004

3/17/2004 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFPN) -- Operator error caused an RQ-1L Predator remotely piloted aircraft to crash Dec. 11 in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, according to Air Force officials.

Based on an Accident Investigation Board report released March 17 by Air Combat Command, the pilot over-controlled the aircraft's pitch commands during a nose-high unusual attitude (or uncommanded aircraft position).

The aircraft abruptly pitched upward because of a software program anomaly and the pilot overcorrected to bring it back down. The abrupt input began a cycle of upward and downward movements that caused the aircraft to exceed its operating limits and eventually crash.

The Predator, which belonged to the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Valued at $3.3 million, the Predator was destroyed upon impact. There were no injuries or fatalities, or damages to other property or equipment. (Courtesy of ACC News Service)

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