Officials released the MQ-1B Predator accident report Aug. 20,2010, regarding the April 20, 2010, crash of a Predator, similar to the one pictured above. The remotely piloted aircraft was flying a training mission at Southern California Logistics Airport. (Photo: U.S. Air Force)
20 August 2010, LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. (AFNS) -- Pilot error caused the crash of an MQ-1B Predator at Southern California Logistics Airport during an April 20 training mission, according to an Air Combat Command Accident Investigation Board report released Aug. 20.
The Predator was an Air National Guard aircraft from the 163rd Reconnaissance Wing at March Joint Air Reserve Base, Calif., operated by members of the 3rd Special Operations Squadron under the supervision of instructors from the 163rd Operations Group Formal Training Unit also based at March JARB.
While no injuries occurred as a result of the accident, the aircraft and one inert Hellfire training missile were a total loss. The estimated damage to government property, including a runway light, is valued at about $3.7 million.
According to the report, the crash was caused by a student pilot's failure to recognize the aircraft's speed was too low for the weather conditions and aircraft configuration.
Insufficient speed during final approach caused a stall from which the student pilot and his instructor were unable to recover. This resulted in a hard landing that exceeded design limitations for the aircraft. Upon impact, the left wingtip dragged on the ground, causing the aircraft to leave the prepared runway surface and subsequently break apart.
Unexpectedly difficult wind conditions at the field during the landing contributed to the mishap, officials said.