The report shows Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) crashing consistently and unpredictably due to a wide array of failures from technical malfunction, to complications in dealing with air traffic controllers, to downright incompetence. The documents, obtained by the Washington Post, number several thousand pages, and show that at least seven drones have crashed near airports in the past two years. One account from April describes a sub-contracted operator launching an $8.9 million MQ-9 Reaper from the runway at the Seychelles International Airport without getting the go-head from the control tower. The same operator then accidentally switched off the engine without noticing and then tried an emergency landing, but did not release the wheels. The aircraft was a write-off. It was the second similar accident at the site in just five months. “I will be blunt here. I said, ‘I can’t believe this is happening again,’ ” the report cites an Air Force official present at the scene as saying. He later adds, “You go, ‘How stupid are you?’”. The UAV, which was flown using a brand new, top secret technology that enabled it to be controlled locally and not from an air base in the US, was sub-contracted to Merlin RAMCo, an obscure US company. Reports say Merlin RAMCo employed inexperienced pilots and was exempt from efficient local supervision as it had signed a highly classified contract with the Air Force. All this, while operating from an airport that is also heavily used by civilian planes. In Djibouti – which the US uses as a base for its operations against Somali pirates and Al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen – five drones have crashed in recent years. Reports describe tension with local air traffic controllers, who are not used to working with unfamiliar equipment, and its specific demands. They also describe several crashes. Including one of an air drone whose throttle had failed, but which was carrying a live missile. Luckily, it did not explode upon impact. US officials insist the safety record of its recent drones corresponds to that of the generally reliable F-16 at a similar stage of development and will only improve.