- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) - Fort Carson soldiers who were flying a small drone when it crashed 12 miles from the post didn’t have the proper clearance to fly it and didn’t alert key leaders, Army investigators said.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Friday (https://tinyurl.com/pshfsyn) the investigation found the RQ-11 Raven drone, which was Army property, malfunctioned and flew away when controllers tried to bring it back for a landing.

The drone crashed into a tree May 12 outside a Colorado Springs house. The post is adjacent to the city.

The cause of the malfunction wasn’t known but it might have been a battery or computer problem, the investigative report said. The Gazette obtained the report under the Freedom of Information Act.

Investigators also said Fort Carson air traffic controllers weren’t notified the drone was missing and learned about it from television news reports the next day.

The report said the drone was being flown outside authorized airspace and in violation of Army regulations and Federal Aviation Administration rules.

That contradicted Fort Carson’s initial statements on the crash. Fort Carson spokeswoman Dani Johnson said Friday commanders first thought the flight did comply with regulations but discovered the violations later.

The man who found the drone called police because it had no markings to indicate it belonged to the Army.

Fort Carson commander Maj. Gen Ryan Gonsalves ordered the military police battalion that was flying the drone to complete remedial training. He also ordered improvements in the way drone flights are planned.

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