Drones over America: Pilot error costs U.S. taxpayers $10M for crash

The Air Force is reporting that it was mostly the pilot’s fault for wrecking an unmanned drone in December in the Arizona desert.

That mishap cost taxpayers nearly $10 million, The Associated Press reported. No one was injured, but the drone and on-board artillery was estimated at $9.6 million.


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An investigation found that the pilot failed to complete his preflight checklist as he took over control of the drone. The drone subsequently stalled during flight, then crashed to the ground in Douglas County, just north of Las Vegas.

It’s not clear if the pilot, or anyone, had been disciplined for the Dec. 5 accident. Nellis Air Force Base spokespeople told AP that the drone — an MQ-9 Reaper — was being flown as part of the Air Force’s weapons school combat training program.

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