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Unmanned Predator lost power, crashed into Mediterranean

Apr. 2, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
At day's end
An MQ-1 Predator similar to this one crashed in September when a power converter in the aircraft's control module failed, according to an abbreviated mishap report released Wednesday. (1st Lt. Shannon Collins / Air Force)
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An MQ-1B Predator flying a 20-hour mission in Africa crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on Sept. 17, the Air Force announced today.

A failed power converter led to the crash, which destroyed the unarmed drone and its communication pod valued at $5.3 million, according to an Air Combat Command abbreviated accident investigation board report released Wednesday.

The aircraft was deployed from the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nev.

The Air Force did not release the base from which the drone was flying. The Air Force has flown unmanned reconnaissance missions from countries such as Niger, Ethiopia, Djibouti and the Seychelles. The service also did not specify where in the Mediterranean the mishap occurred.

According to the report, the Predator’s crew members noticed a loss in communication with the aircraft just before they handed control over to the Launch and Recovery Element, which is tasked with landing the aircraft. The crew went through their checklists and told the ground control station that they could not establish contact with the aircraft, according to an Air Combat Command release.

The ground control station logged electrical, flight control and engine warning indications, which the investigation board president found were a direct result of a power converter malfunction in the aircraft’s control module.

The loss of control caused the aircraft to spiral and crash into the sea, the report states.

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