Helicopter UH-1D 66-16524


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16524
The Army purchased this helicopter 0667
Total flight hours at this point: 00000940
Date: 10/31/1968
Incident number: 681031121ACD Accident case number: 681031121 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 54 SIG BN
The station for this helicopter was Nha Trang in South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: BP992599
Number killed in accident = 10 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 6
costing 768954
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:
AC CW2 CAVIN STEVEN IKE KIA
P WO1 DRISCOLL PAUL RICHARD KIA
CE SP4 BARTLETT DONALD HAROLD KIA
G SP4 BOWMAN JOSEPH MICHAEL KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
SP4 EPPS PATRICK BEVERLY, AR, PX, KIA
1LT BATTAGLIA PHILIP J JR, AR, PX, KIA
1LT MAHONEY ALFRED RICHARD JR, AR, PX, KIA
1LT HENDEE LARRY KEITH, AR, PX, KIA
SFC HOLLAND FARIS E, NOT, A
1LT FLETCHER DONALD FRANK, AR, PX, KIA


Accident Summary:

Supercoach 524, a U.S. Army UH-1H aircraft, sn 66-16524, departed Nha Trang Air Force Base on or about 1740 hours, 31 October 1968, enroute to Qui Nhon via Dong Ba Thin (CP030295, map series 1507, sheet ND 49-13) and LZ Nha Trang West (BP900570), with courier and pay officers on board with the mission to deliver courier traffic and pay members of the unit at outlaying sights. The aircraft made a momentary stop at Dong Ba Thin enroute to LZ Nha Trang West to deplane one passenger. The aircraft departed LZ NhaTrang West at approximately 0835 with a crew of four (4) and six (6) passengers. At approximately 0840 Nha Trang Air Force Base tower received a "Mayday" call on guard channel stating "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, this is Supercoach 524, 5 miles north of Nha Trang going down by 100th Log Command, have severe lateral vibrations". (see tab 10 transcribed tower tape). The aircraft then crashed and burned. The sequence of events believed to have occurred after take off from LZ Nha Trang West are as follows: It is believed that the pilot flew low level through a saddle in the mountain range between LZ Nha Trang West and Ninh Hoa (970820). As he was going through the saddle, he lost a part of or all of a tail rotor blade which set up a vibration the pilot misinterpreted as a lateral. The pilot made a 180 degree turn to return to Nha Trang Air Force Base when the vibration set up by the unbalanced condition of the tail rotor made a major portion of the 90 degree gear box to separate from the aircraft. When the tail rotor and 90 degree gear box separated, the aircraft went into an extremely nose low attitude, at which time the pilot went into autorotation. The aircraft immediately went into a spin to the left. Just prior to final impact the main rotor sheared from the main rotor mast just below the head and then the main rotor struck and sheared the tail boom just aft of the cabin section (see photos 1, 2, and 3). The main cabin section made impact with the ground, which was a mountain side with a 45 degree slope covered with dense jungle, at about a 45 degree angle and believed to have come to rest on the left front nose. Post crash fire occurred on impact and was so intense that the entire cabin section was consumed except for the engine, transmission gears, and main rotor mast (see photos 3 and 4). The engine appeared to be operating at very low RPM at the time of impact because of little damage to turbine blades, other than impact damage. Inspection of the main rotor system indicated no failure prior to mast bumping. The tail rotor and a major portion of 90 degree gear box could not be found due to dense jungle, rugged terrain and the area being unsecured. There were no survivors and only witnesses were Republic of Korea soldiers about 750 meters from the scene of the accident.

This record was last updated on 10/02/2008


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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