The reaction of the Launch and Recovery Element (LRE) mishap pilot to a dual alternator failure began a chain of events that led to the crash of an MQ-1B Predator Feb. 14, 2012, in Afghanistan, according to an Air Combat Command Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board report released today.
According to the report, the Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board president found, by clear and convincing evidence, that the cause of the mishap was two-fold. First, the mishap remotely piloted aircraft (MRPA) experienced a dual alternator failure followed by the complete loss of aircraft electrical power. Secondly, The LRE mishap pilot failed to adequately assess the nature of the emergency and fully execute proper procedures listed in the published flight manual.
Upon gaining control of the MRPA, the LRE mishap pilot failed to fully accomplish the dual alternator failure checklist and execute appropriate forced landing procedures. In addition, he failed to preserve battery power and land the MRPA as soon as possible. Instead, he elected to maneuver the MRPA over the airfield with the intention of reaching a position above the approach end of the runway to execute an engine-out emergency landing.
The board president also found, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the LRE crew’s poor checklist coordination and channelized attention on a landing gear warning indication substantially contributed to the mishap.
As a result, the MRPA crashed into a field northeast of the deployed airfield and was destroyed. There were no injuries; however, damage to the aircraft and government and private property is estimated at $3.9 million.