Accident General Atomics MQ-9A Reaper 12-4203,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 279916
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Date:Sunday 20 June 2021
Time:12:55 UTC
Type:Silhouette image of generic Q9 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
General Atomics MQ-9A Reaper
Registration: 12-4203
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:unknown -   Afghanistan
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
An unmanned MQ-9A, 12-4203, was intentionally crashed into a mountain in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan. The mishap aircraft (MA) was operated remotely by a Mission Control Element (MCE) comprised of the mishap pilot (MP1) and the mishap sensor operator (MSO1). The MCE was assigned to the 138th Attack Squadron and belonged to the 174th Attack Wing. Both units are located at Hancock Field, an Air National Guard (ANG) Base near Syracuse, New York. The MA was not recovered after it was intentionally crashed in an unrecoverable location. The crash resulted in no reported damage to civilian property, no injuries, and no fatalities. The loss of government property was valued at $14,426,412.

Approximately 30 minutes before deciding to crash the MA, MP1 noticed the oil level indication dropped to approximately 40%. The MA lost 100% of its indicated oil level between approximately 1219z and approximately 1224z. During this time, MP1 alerted MSO1 of the issue and turned the MA toward an Expeditionary Launch and Recovery Element (ELRE). Between 1225z and 1234z, oil pressure decreased from 100 psi to 5 psi. At roughly 1237z, the engine torque and propeller speed began to fluctuate and the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) spiked. MP1 determined the MA would suffer engine failure before reaching the ELRE, and at 1242z MP1 pulled the condition lever to the aft position, shutting down the engine. The supported unit then requested the MA be crashed in a location where it would be unrecoverable. At approximately 1254z, MP1 turned off all aircraft autopilot features, took a nose down attitude, and the MA impacted the ground at 1255z at 7,350 feet mean sea level (MSL).

The Abbreviated Accident Investigation Board President (AAIB BP) found, by a preponderance of the evidence, MP1 shut down the engine after an oil leak reduced the indicated oil level to 0%, preventing the MA from returning safely to a recovery location. Moreover, the AAIB BP found, by a preponderance of evidence, the MA experienced an oil leak, reducing the indicated oil level to 0% substantially contributing to the mishap



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Report number: 
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 1 year
Download report: Final report

Revision history:

01-Jul-2022 18:42 harro Added

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