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Air Force officials release Predator accident report

2/2/2010 - LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFNS) -- A mechanical failure caused the crash of an MQ-1B Predator Sept. 4, 2009, in a forward operating area in Afghanistan, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released Feb. 2.

The Predator was flying a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The aircraft was an asset of the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., and flown by pilots from the 3rd Special Operations Squadron located at Cannon AFB, N.M. The remotely piloted aircraft was carrying one Hellfire missile and crashed approximately 70 miles west of its intended airfield. The remainder of the aircraft was destroyed by friendly ground forces.

The loss of aircraft and its components is valued at approximately $4.9 million.

The AIB president determined the cause of this mishap was a malfunction of the variable pitch propeller servo, which caused erroneous commands to the aircraft propeller, resulting in an abnormal propeller position. The abnormal propeller position did not allow the proper amount of air into the engine and caused the aircraft engine to "bog down," resulting in the rapid loss of airspeed and altitude.

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