Read Brian Everstine’s full report from Kabul.
A US Air Force MQ-9A that
crashed in northern Syria on July 5, 2016, was brought down by a failure of the fuel control unit, according to an Accident Investigation Board
report released Wednesday. The remotely piloted aircraft operators lost control of the Reaper when a failure of the main metering valve caused sudden low fuel flow to the engine, resulting in insufficient thrust to keep the aircraft in flight. Additional operators were unable to regain control of the aircraft, and the MQ-9A crashed “in an open area” and was destroyed on impact at a total loss of $15.9 million. Engine maker Honeywell said in the report the accident marked the “first known fuel control unit failure of this type,” and the Air Force said it marked the “first MQ-9A loss attributed to an FCU failure.” The Reaper was assigned to the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon AFB, N.M.
—Pratt & Whitney propose upgrade to F135 engine, which powers the F-35 strike fighter:
—Stratolaunch, a private space launch company, unveiled the world's biggest airplane on May 31. The wingspan is longer than a football field:
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