Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16033
The Army purchased this helicopter 0267
Total flight hours at this point: 00000808
Incident number: 681031131ACD Accident case number: 681031131 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: A/3/17 CAV
The station for this helicopter was Long Binh in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 6 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 2
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
AC 1LT PATE MILTON DALE KIA
P 1LT WOLTER RONALD ALAN KIA
CE SP4 BOURNE LAWRENCE GILBERT KIA
G SP5 GHEER JAMES MELVIN KIA
PX PFC LEMUS CHARLES RUIZ JR KIA
Passengers and/or other participants:
SP4 MESA TOMAS REYES, AR, PX, KIA
The aircraft involved was one of two flare ships, with AH-1G escort, conducting a fire fly mission which included dropping flares for illumination on radar sightings from ground surveillance radar. The normal flare load for this type of mission is 25 flares. 1LT Pate's aircraft had dropped six (6) flares on target number one. The ground radar gave the mission commander another sighting in grid XS8962. The flight of four proceeded to the area and prepared to make the second flare drop of the mission. 1LT Pate's aircraft was approaching the second target for a flare drop at approximately 1500 feet altitude, when the aircraft commander, 1LT Pate, transmitted on the radio. He said, quote "we have an emergency, we have a flare off inside the ship, kick it out." eyewitnesses, in the other three aircraft, stated that they could see a fire inside the cabin. Others stated that the fire was hanging outside the right cabin door near the skid. The aircraft started to descend very slowly after the transmission and the fire appeared to increase in intensity. At approximately 1000 feet altitude, there was an explosion in the aircraft. It should be noted that the time lapse between the emergency transmission and the explosion was 45 seconds to 60 seconds. The aircraft then disintegrated and fell almost vertically to the ground. The wreckage was thrown over a wide area. Adverse conditions at the scene of the accident such as water and soft mud did not permit exact measurements between the fallen parts of the aircraft.
This record was last updated on 04/14/1999
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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