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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 249601
Last updated: 17 September 2021
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Date:25-JUN-2020
Time:13:24 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic Q9 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
General Atomics MQ-9A Reaper
Owner/operator:USAF (United States Air Force)
Registration: 15-4295
MSN:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Category:Accident
Location:Syracuse-Hancock International Airport, NY (SYR/KSYR) -   United States of America
Phase: Take off
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Syracuse-Hancock International Airport, NY (SYR/KSYR)
Destination airport:Syracuse-Hancock International Airport, NY (SYR/KSYR)
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Narrative:
The unmanned MQ-9A lost engine power shortly after takeoff and impacted the ground. The aircraft came to rest approximately 600 feet from the departure end of runway 33 of Syracuse Hancock International Airport. The MA was assigned to the 174th Attack Wing and operated by the 108th Attack Squadron’s Launch and Recovery Element located at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base (ANGB), Syracuse, New York. The MA was significantly damaged on impact resulting in a loss of Government Property valued at $6,085,179.00. Damage to civilian property was minimal and localized to Syracuse Hancock International Airport. There were no injuries or fatalities reported.
At 13:23:41Z, the pilot applied takeoff power to the aircraft and began the takeoff down runway 33 Syracuse Hancock International Airport. At 13:24:14Z the aircraft lifted off the runway and began to climb out for departure. Approximately seven seconds after becoming airborne and about 150 feet above ground level (AGL) the aircraft experienced a complete loss of engine power.
Loss of engine power was due to the pilot misidentifying the Flap Lever. Instead of pushing the Flap Lever forward to reduce the flaps, the MP pulled the Condition Lever backwards which resulted in the fuel supply to the engine being cutoff stopping the engine. Upon realization that the engine had lost power, in accordance with emergency procedures checklist, the crew consisting of the pilot and sensor operator, began running the Critical Action Procedures (CAPs) for an engine failure. The pilot continued to misidentify the appropriate lever and pulled the Flap Lever to full aft or back. The aircraft impacted the ground 21 seconds after loss of engine power. Upon impact the aircraft struck a portion of airport runway lights, spun 180 degrees, and came to a rest approximately 600 feet off the departure end of runway 33.

The Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) President found, by a preponderance of the evidence, the cause of the mishap was the pilot misidentifying the Flap Lever and pulling aft or back on the Condition Lever instead of pushing forward on the Flap Lever which cut the fuel supply to the engine, causing the engine to stop and the aircraft to impact the ground. Further, the AAIB President found, by a preponderance of the evidence that the following factor substantially contributed to the mishap: The design of the pilot Ground Control Station (GCS) Control Console Throttle Quadrant including the proximity of the Condition Lever and the Flap Lever, lack of markings, color differentiation, or a safety guard.

Sources:

USAF AIB
http://aerossurance.com/safety-management/mq9a-reaper-lever-confusion-hf/

Accident investigation:
cover
  
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration:
Download report: Final report


Images:


Photo: USAF


Photo: USAF

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
10-Apr-2021 07:24 harro Added
10-Apr-2021 07:26 harro Updated [Destination airport, Photo]
12-Apr-2021 18:58 Aerossurance Updated [Source]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description