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Air Force drone crashes in remote area near Mt. Whitney

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A U.S. Air Force drone the size of a small airliner has crashed in a remote section of California near Mt. Whitney.

Edwards Air Force Base said in a statement that the RQ-4 Global Hawk, an unmanned surveillance aircraft, was making a routine trip Wednesday afternoon from Edwards to its usual home at Beale Air Force Base when it crashed for unknown reasons.

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The Inyo County Sheriff's Department said the crash caused a small wildfire that was quickly brought under control.

The aircraft, which has a 130-foot wingspan, is designed to fly at high altitudes for long distances. It is slowly replacing the manned U-2 spy planes used for decades by the Air Force.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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