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MQ-9A abbreviated AIB report released

  • Published
  • Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs
The Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report for an MQ-9A assigned to the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M., which crashed July 5, 2016, at an undisclosed location, was released on May 31.

While flying with the autopilot engaged, the aircraft experienced an uncommanded loss of thrust followed by an uncommanded descent. The crew, consisting of two pilots and one sensor operator, were unable to gain normal engine control but were able to guide the aircraft to crash away from any persons, animals, cultivated plants, or manmade objects. The modified MQ-9 and its payload of two missiles were destroyed resulting in a loss valued at $15,922,806.

In accordance with AFI 51-503, Aerospace and Ground Accident Investigations, the accident investigation board conducted a legal investigation to inquire into all the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident, prepared a publicly-releasable report, and obtained and preserved all available evidence for use in litigation, claims, disciplinary action, and adverse administrative action.

The investigation board concluded that the cause of the crash was an unrecoverable failure of the on-engine fuel control unit which resulted in insufficient thrust to maintain flight under any circumstance. The board ruled out other malfunctions, anomalies, or defects of the command/control datalink, fuel aircraft or ground control station and any encounter with adverse weather, foreign objects, or hostile fire.

For questions concerning the report, or to request a copy, please contact Air Force Special Operations Command Public Affairs at 850-884-5515.