17 July 2013
Air Force drone crashes and explodes in Florida, shutting down highway
Russia Today

http://rt.com/usa/air-force-drone-crash-221/


A United States military drone presumed to be a QF-4 crashed, exploded and sent up a large black cloud of smoke Wednesday morning at Tyndall Air Force Base.

Local news outlets from the Florida panhandle region reported Wednesday morning that an unmanned aerial vehicle crashed on the drone runway at Tyndall AFB during take-off at 8:20 a.m. EST that morning.

Eyewitnesses told WJHG News that the drone “came in hard and fast” before it crashed.

According to the network, Tyndall officials said the drone was carrying a small self-destruct charge and “had to be destroyed for safety considerations during its return to base following a routine operation.”

Following the accident, the UAV reportedly went up in flames and started a ground fire, prompting authorities to close nearby Highway 98. They’ve reported no injuries.

This closure is being done strictly as a precautionary measure due to fires resulting from the crash and a small self-destruct charge carried on board the drone,” officials from Tyndall said in a statement. “The status of this device is unknown, however it is powered by a short-life battery which will be fully depleted in 24 hours.”

The Air Force described the QF-4 as a supersonic, reusable full-scale target drone modified from the F-4 Phantom and “provides a realistic full-scale target for air-to-air weapons system evaluation, development and testing.” The aircraft measures 63 feet long, 30,328 pounds and has a wingspan of more than 38 feet. Converting each jet to a UAV costs the Air Force an average of $2.6 million. 

Only last week, officials at Tyndall ordered another QF-4 to self-destruct over the Gulf of Mexico. “The drone was carrying a small self-destruct charge and had to be destroyed for safety considerations during its return to base following a routine operation,” Tyndall announced at the time.

Late last year, an F-22 Raptor fighter jet crashed near Tyndall AFB, again prompting officials to close down Highway 98. An Air Force pilot safely ejected from the aircraft before the jet crashed a quarter-mile east of the drone runway.


17 July 2013
A Drone Fell From the Sky and Exploded Next to a Florida Highway
Ashley Feinberg
Gizmodo
http://gizmodo.com/a-drone-fell-from-the-sky-and-exploded-next-to-a-florid-813083795


For the second time this month, a drone (this one presumed to be a QF 4) has come spiraling out of the sky. The crash and subsequent explosion happened next to US 98 near Tyndall Air Force Base in—oh what a surprise—Florida.

Blocking off all traffic on the highway, the crash landing sent up a major cloud of black smoke, leading to a barrage of 911 calls claiming to have seen a plane spark and catch fire. Tyndall has explicitly confirmed it to be a QF-4 drone, which are modified F-4 Phantoms (pictured below) meant to be used as a target for test weapons. So essentially, this is what we're dealing with:

Whereas as the earlier drone explosion was a "routine operation," that's decidedly not the case here. According to Tyndall, the crash happened during take off and, fortunately, no personnel have been injured. Below is the full statement from Tyndall Air Force Base:

Base and local police and safety officials have closed Highway 98 and are anticipating that it will remain closed for up to 24 hours. This closure is being done strictly 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 which will be fully depleted in 24 hours. The charge is used to destroy the drone if it leaves its pre-approved flight plan.

Tyndall certainly has experience when it comes to rogue aircrafts falling out from the sky. Their most recent drone crash happened just last week over the gulf of Mexico, and they're the same base that saw an F-22 Raptor hit the ground last year near the very same highway. Unlike the Raptor crash though, this most recent one was thankfully unmanned.
 


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