TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- An unmanned QF-4 drone, assigned here to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, crashed on the drone runway during take-off at 8:25 a.m., July 17, 2013. No personnel were injured during the incident.
Base and local police officials have closed the highway near the crash site as a precautionary measure due to fires resulting from the crash and a small self-destruct charge carried on board the drone. The status of this device is unknown, however it is powered by a short-life battery that will be fully depleted in 24 hours.
The charge is used to destroy the drone if it leaves its pre-approved flight plan.
More details will be released as they become available.
UPDATE 2/13/2014 AirForceMag. "Mechanical Error Caused Phantom II Crash - A defective pitch-rate controller caused a QRF-4C unmanned aerial target, assigned to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla., to crash seconds after take-off on July 17, 2013, according to a summary of the accident investigation board report released Feb. 12. “The attitude heading reference system, which controls the up and down movement of the aircraft, sent incorrect inputs for the horizontal pitch of the aircraft to the autopilot system,” stated the summary. “These inaccurate inputs caused the aircraft to pitch up and down rapidly.” Although the pilot, based in the ground-control station, properly conducted checklist items, the aircraft could not be stabilized. The Phantom II, an infrared flare-dispensing pod, and 120 flares were destroyed on impact. Tyndall's runway and barrier also were damaged, making the total cost of the mishap almost $4.6 million, according to the release.