Helicopter UH-1H 67-17287


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17287
The Army purchased this helicopter 0268
Total flight hours at this point: 00001365
Date: 03/03/1969
Incident number: 690303321ACD Accident case number: 690303321 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 114 AHC
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XS053316 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48PXS053316)
Number killed in accident = 7 . . Injured = 2 . . Passengers = 6
costing 545866
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 W1 WJ CUNNING
P W1 KK WINCHELL
CE SP4 HICKMAN STEVEN MURDOCK KIA
G SP4 COOK WEYMAN TERRY KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
UNK UNK, LCO, G
2LT SAMS MICHAEL DOUGLAS, AR, PX, KIA
SP4 TEEPLE WAYNE WINSTON, AR, PX, KIA
1LT HARRISON HARRY TODD, NOT, A
MAJ MCCARTNEY DARRYL EUGENE, AR, PX, KIA
SP4 BINNS GEORGE MICHAEL, AR, PX, KIA


Accident Summary:

 1. BRIEF: (ABRIDGED) WO^CUNNING^ DECIDED TO MAKE A HOVER CHECK BEFORE ATTEMPTING HIS TAKEOFF. HE PULLED UP TO ABOUT A THREE FOOT HOVER AND THE RPM BLED DOWN TO 6400. ALSO THE ACFT WENT IFR. ^CUNNING^ THEN SET THE ACFT DOWN AND TOLD HIS CREW CHIEF AND GUNNER TO OFF LOAD ABOUT 200 POUNDS OF CARGO. THEY ACTUALLY OFF LOADED ABOUT 290 POUNDS OF CARGO. ^CUNNING^ THEN PICKED UP THE ACFT, MADE A 180 DEG PEDAL TURN AND HOVERED AWAY FROM THE WIRES APPROXIMATELY 180 FT. THE ACFT BLED OFF TO 6400 RPM AS ^CUNNING^ HOVERED WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS DOWNWIND, ACTUALLY HE WAS HOVERING INTO A QUARTERING HEADWIND. HE WAS ENGULFED IN DUST AS HE HOVERED BACK. HE THEN DID A 180 DEG PEDAL TURN AGAIN AND IMMEDIATELY TOOK OFF FROM A THREE FOOT HOVER. THE TAKEOFF WAS NORMAL WITH EXTRA POWER PULLED IN TO REACH TRANSLATIONAL LIFT AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. UPON INITIATING HIS TAKEOFF, ^CUNNING^ HAD THE WIRES IN SIGHT, HOWEVER, AS HE BEGAN MOVING FORWARD, BACK TOWARD THE ROAD THE DUST CAUSED HIM TO LOSE SIGHT OF THE WIRES. WHEN HE DID BREAK ABOVE THE DUST HE SAW THE WIRES DIRECTLY TO HIS FRONT. HE IMMEDIATELY APPLIED AFT CYCLIC, FOR A CYCLIC CLIMB AND PULLED UP HIS REMAINING COLLECTIVE. HE CLEARED THE FIRST SET OF WIRES BY ABOUT 5 FT. HE CONTINUED TO HOLD WHAT HE HAD SO AS TO CLEAR THE SECOND SET OF WIRES ABOUT 50 FT AWAY. AT THIS POINT HE WAS ABOUT 50 FT IN THE AIR WITH MAXIMUM OR NEAR MAXIMUM COLLECTIVE, SLOW AIRSPEED AND AN RPM SOMEHWERE BETWEEN 5000 AND 5400. FOR ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION PURPOSES, ^CUNNING^ HAD NOW TAKEN THE ACFT BEYOND THE POINT OF WHERE AN UNEVENTFUL LANDING COULD HAVE BEEN MADE. ^CUNNING^ REALIZED THAT THE TAKEOFF HAD TO BE ABORTED AND HE DECIDED TO TRY FOR THE RICE PADDY APPROXIMATELY 200 YARDS TO HIS FRONT AND JUST BEYOND SOME BUILDINGS. IN DOING THIS HE PASSED OVER ABOUT 150 YARDS OF OPEN FIELD WHICH CONTAINED TWO MORE SETS OF WIRES RUNNING PERPENDICULAR TO HIS ROUTE OF FLIGHT. ^CUNNING'S^ REASON FOR NOT IMMEDIATELY ABORTING THE TAKEOFF AND ATTEMPTING A RUNNING LANDING TO THE DIRT FIELD WAS THAT HE WAS AFRAID OF THE WIRES. HE THEN TURNED SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT TO TRY AND FLY THROUGH AND OPENING BETWEENTHE TWO MAIN BUILDINGS. HE WAS NO LONGER ABLE TO HOLD HIS ALTITUDE AND AS HE FLEW THRU THE OPENING HE HAD TWO SEVERE BLADE STRIKES ON THE WALL OF THE RIGHT, (EAST) BUIDLING. THE AIRCRAFT WAS THEN TURNED 90 DEG TO THE RIGHT AND IT ROLLED 90 DEG OVER ON ITS LEFT SIDE. IT LANDED IN THAT POSITION, ITS NOSE 90 DEG FROM ITS ORIGINAL ROUTE OF FLIGHT. THE CARGO COMPARTMENT LANDED DIRECTLY OVER A DRAINAGE DITCH. TWO OF THE DEAD MEN WERE FOUND PARTIALLY SUBMERGED IN WATER IN THE DITCH. ^COOK^, THE GUNNER, SITTING ON THE RIGHT SIDE WAS APPARENTLY UNHURT AT IMPACT, EXITED THE AIRCRAFT IMMEDIATELY AFTER IT HIT. HE MOVED A FEW FEET CLEAR OF THE CRASH BUT THEN TURNED BACK TO THE AIRCRAFT TO HELP THE OTHER PASSENGERS. AT THIS POINT THERE WAS APPARENTLY A FUEL EXPLOSION WITH ^COOK^ FACING THE BLAST. HE HAD HIS FLIGHT HELMET OFF AND HIS FACE WAS UNPROTECTED. BOTH THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER AND THE PILOT WERE IN THEIR SEATS WHEN THE FUEL EXPLODED HOWEVER THEY WERE EFFECTIVELY PROTECTED BY THE ARMOR SEATS. WO ^CUNNING^ AND WO ^WINCHELL^ THEN CLEARED THE AIRCRAFT, ^WINCHELL^ GOING THRU THE FRONT WINDSHIELD AND ^CUNNING^ OUT THE RIGHT DOOR. MAJ ^MACCARTN^ AND SP4 ^COOK^ WERE THE ONLY OTHERS TO GET OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT, THEIR CLOTHES IN FLAMES. THE FIVE PERSONNEL TRAPPED IN THE AIRCRAFT ALL DIED OF BURNS.\\

This record was last updated on 07/15/2012


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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021


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