The Pentagon Capers

Crashing from the Air--And on the Ground

Close readers of Notebook will recall that last year a mistaken "crash command" sent a $45 million GLOBAL HAWK pilotless aircraft crashing into the desert. Last week the Air Force detailed another Global Hawk spy-drone embarrassment. This one happened on the ground.

After the aircraft landed safely at California's Edwards Air Force Base last December, its onboard computer was to instruct the plane to taxi along the runway at about 15 m.p.h. Instead, the computer commanded the jet-powered drone to taxi at 180 m.p.h. The aircraft zoomed--to about 90 m.p.h.--before it careered off the runway, smashed its landing gear and collapsed...

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