(Photograph courtesy Air Force Materiel Command).

The death of an Air Pressure civilian contractor last calendar year following strolling into the moving propellers of a military drone was owing to the contractor dropping situational consciousness. That’s in accordance to a new report unveiled by Air Force Materiel Command this week.

The contractor, Stephanie Cosme, died on Sept. 7, 2023 when conducting telemetry readings on an MQ-9 drone at Grey Butte Airfield in California. The group of civilian contractors were being working into the evening on ground tests on the drone when Cosme walked into the spinning propellers of the MQ-9, seriously injuring her. Crews and eventually crisis responders experimented with to assistance her. She was airlifted to a healthcare facility but died before long immediately after. She was 32. At the time, Cosme was doing the job for Sumaria Devices LLC, a contractor hired by the Air Drive.

The report from the Air Drive Materiel Command Accident Investigation Board seemed into the conditions leading up to her dying and what could have been finished to avert it. It identified that the circumstance worsened because of to a “clear lack of conversation amongst the exam group and ground support personnel,” the investigation identified, as nicely as rushed attempts by the crew. 

Cosme “was incorrectly instructed or educated on how to get telemetry readings when approaching the MQ-9A when the motor was jogging,” a statement from Air Force Material Command mentioned. “Second, she dropped situational consciousness although strolling all over the mishap aircraft taking telemetry readings with a hand-held measurement gadget.”

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Cosme was conducting checks on a hand-held gadget, strolling around the MQ-9 drone. Whilst undertaking so, she acquired dangerously close to the aircraft and did not see. Other users of the take a look at crew found her walking towards danger and tried to wave her down, but had been not able to achieve her prior to she walked into the spinning propellers.

Floor crews were being also dashing to finish their checks, pursuing a Sept. 6 dry run. The mission and safety briefing on Sept. 7 skipped numerous actions, like important sections about crisis processes and what the AIB named “aircraft keep out zones.”

As aspect of its investigation, the AIB staged a simulation of the circumstances and layout at Grey Butte Airfield the night of the incident. Investigators identified that “the spinning propeller was not seen when on the lookout to the rear of the plane from the trailing edge of the proper wing.”

Cosme is survived by her parents, two siblings, a fiance and a stepdaughter, in accordance to her obituary shared on Legacy.com. 

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