Lost in the Clouds

Ice buildup and a momentary loss of satellite link caused a MQ-1B remotely piloted aircraft to stall and ?then crash in an undisclosed location last September, Air Combat Command investigators found. Just as the operator at Creech AFB, Nev., momentarily lost the link with the RPA on Sept. 24, 2015, the aircraft entered clouds, according to the abbreviated investigation report. The operator tried to reverse direction, but icing and turbulence degraded flight performance, stalling the RPA. Investigators concluded an inaccurate weather forecast, a failure to perform a timely weather scan, and complacency substantially contributed to the mishap. Another aircraft spotted the destroyed RPA, but the wreckage was not recovered. Loss of the RPA cost an estimated $5.2 million. No damage to private property was reported.