Bad Wires, Bad Day

Engine failure caused by an ignition cable failure downed an MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft during a reconnaissance mission over Afghanistan on April 14, according to Air Combat Command. The RPA “experienced a single-point failure that simultaneously caused both ignition circuits to lose the ability to control engine ignitions,” states ACC’s Sept. 4 release summarizing the report of the command’s accident investigation board. Controllers from the Ohio Air National Guard’s 162nd Reconnaissance Squadron in Springfield followed the correct protocols to attempt the aircraft’s recovery. However, they purposely crashed the RPA on an unpopulated mountainside after deeming it impossible to restart the engine or have the airplane glide back to base, according to the release. The RPA and a guided anti-surface missile survived mostly intact but were destroyed by an Army recovery team after it stripped the aircraft’s sensitive components. The total value of the lost equipment was $3.8 million, according to ACC. (AIB report; caution, large-sized file.)