Accident General Atomics MQ-9A Reaper 16-4332,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 311394
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Date:Wednesday 28 September 2022
Type:Silhouette image of generic Q9 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
General Atomics MQ-9A Reaper
Owner/operator:432nd Wg /489th Attack Sqn USAF
Registration: 16-4332
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Creech Air Force Base, Nevada -   United States of America
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Creech Air Force Base, Nevada
Destination airport:Creech Air Force Base, Nevada
Investigating agency: USAF AIB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
While on approach for a touch-and-go landing, the pilot was using the Multi-Spectral Targeting
System (MTS) for primary visual cues. When nearing the ground, the MTS slewed rapidly downward from its original forward-looking position. The pilot initiated a go-around and increased the pitch angle, but became disoriented from the uncommanded MTS movement and incorrectly positioned the throttle to flight idle.
While the aircraft began to climb, the airspeed and positive climb rate bled off due to lack of thrust. Although the instructor pilot quickly identified the idle thrust and called out for a correction to
throttle, the MQ-9A had already entered a stall and began to descend, resulting in the aircraft impacting the runway. Due to the force of impact, the right main landing gear failed, and the aircraft entered a decelerating spin on the runway. When the aircraft came to a stop, it caught fire and was destroyed.
The AAIB president found the mishap occurred due to the pilot reducing the throttle to idle, instead of pushing forward to full throttle, while executing a low-altitude go-around procedure.
Furthermore, the AAIB president determined the following factors substantially contributed to the mishap: the MTS failure at a critical phase of flight caused disorientation and distraction for all four crewmembers; the pilot did not reference the sensor operator’s heads up display to regain visual references and confirm the aircraft was not flying in an unusual attitude; and the instructor pilot did not prioritize ensuring go-around procedures were properly performed over correcting video display to the pilot.



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

Revision history:

27-Apr-2023 08:34 harro Added
01-May-2023 20:55 Nepa Updated [Operator, Operator]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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