Helicopter UH-1D 66-16531

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16531
The Army purchased this helicopter 0667
Total flight hours at this point: 00000632
Date: 09/23/1968
Incident number: 680923251ACD Accident case number: 680923251 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 604 TC CO
The station for this helicopter was Camp Holloway in South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: AR795478 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 49PAR795478)
Number killed in accident = 3 . . Injured = 3 . . Passengers = 4
costing 413954
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

Passengers and/or other participants:

Accident Summary:

The aircraft was a medivac helicopter belonging to the 283d Medivac Detachment and on work order to the 604th TC. The main rotor hub and one blade had been changed and some sheet metal repair completed. Two run-ups had been completed on the aircraft that morning for tracking by CW2 Jesse Hill, quality control officer, of the 604th TC. After the lunch, hour WO Cahela approached the aircraft and preflighted the aircraft for test flight. Six people boarded the aircraft for this test flight. There were no seats or safety belts aboard the aircraft for passengers, only the pilot and copilot positions had seats and safety belts. Holloway tower received a call from UH-1H 66-16531 at 1321 hours requesting clearance to the hover test area. After checking the aircraft in the hover test area for approximately five minutes, WO Cahela departed the Holloway Airfield for the big rice paddy area approximately four miles to the southeast of Holloway. No witnesses noted anything unusual about the preflight, hover test, or flight enroute to the big rice paddy area. Upon arrival at the area WO Cahela made an autorotation to the west, completed the autorotation and initiated a takeoff to the west. After forward speed was attained, a sharp cyclic climb was observed to an altitude of 300 or 400 feet, followed by a sharp right turn to the east, probably a pedal turn, and an abrupt bottoming of collective pitch. This caused all passengers to rise in the aircraft with one passenger hitting the ceiling of the aircraft as it started down in an autorotation, terminated and transition into forward flight followed. Once forward speed was attained, WO Cahela banked the aircraft steeply to the right turning from a heading of 090 degrees to a heading of approximately 150 degrees. The right bank was followed immediately by a bank to the left, again, very steep, probably in excess of 60 degrees. It was during the left bank that one passenger observed the main rotor blade strike the ground, and the other two passengers suffered their loss of recall. The aircraft was on an approximate heading of 135 degrees when the main rotor struck. The main rotor blade snapped and reaction forces caused severe mast bumping, pinching the mast in two and separating the rotor head and remaining portion of rotor blades from the aircraft at an unknown point during the crash sequence. The aircraft continued on a crash path of 135 degrees after the blade strike, making its initial fuselage impact in the next rice paddy approximately 95 feet past the point of initial blade strike, continuing up over a junction of four dikes and coming to final rest on a heading of 175 degrees 192 feet from the point of initial blade strike in the center of a third rice paddy. The main rotor head with remaining portions of the rotor blades came to final rest six feet past the junction of the four dikes. The aircraft exploded into flames during the crash and fire consumed the major portion of the aircraft forward of the engine compartment except for that portion of the aircraft under water. Except for the main rotor blades and hub, all major components of the aircraft were at the final resting point.

This record was last updated on 09/20/1998

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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