Helicopter UH-1H 66-16928


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 66-16928
The Army purchased this helicopter 1067
Total flight hours at this point: 00000486
Date: 03/21/1969
Incident number: 690321271ACD Accident case number: 690321271 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 335 AHC
The station for this helicopter was Bear Cat in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 4 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 2
costing 530345
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 1LT NEWMAN THOMAS MCKNETT KIA
P 1LT JONES THOMAS EDWARD JR KIA
CE SP4 ASHLEY FRANKLIN D II KIA
G PFC PIERSON ROBERT EMMETT KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
UNK UNK, GM, G
O4 PR RILEY, LCO, G


Accident Summary:

 ABRIDGED: AT ^1915 HOURS^ ON THE EVENING PRIOR TO THE ACCIDENT, ^20 MAR 69^, THE ^335TH AHC^ CLOSED HOME STATION, ^BEAR CAT RVN^, AFTER BEING RELEASED FROM THEIR MISSION. THE ^335TH AHC^ HAD BEEN NOTIFIED THAT THEIR AIRCRAFT WOULD HAVE TO BE DISPERSED ON THE NIGHT OF ^20 MAR 69^. ^MAJOR RILEY^ DISPATCHED 8 UH-1H AIRCRAFT AT ^2130 HOURS^ FROM ^BEAR CAT^. THE PLAN WAS TO RETURN TO ^BEAR CAT^ BY ^0545 HOURS, 21 MARY 69^, CHANGE CREWS AS REQUIRED, EAT BREAKFAST, AND DEPART AT ^0700^HOURS, IN TIME TO MEET MISSION REPORT TIME. THE EIGHT SHIPS DEPARTED ^BEAR CAT^ IN TWO FLIGHTS, ONE OF SIX SHIPS, AND ONE OF TWO SHIPS, AT ^2130 HOURS^. BY ^2230 HOURS^, ^20 MAR 69^, ALL EIGHT AIRCRAFT WERE SHUT DOWN IN "L" SHAPED REVETMENTS AT ^BLACKHORSE.^ BETWEEN ^0445 HOURS^ AND ^0505 HOURS^ ON ^21 MAR 69^, THE CREWS WERE AWAKENED BY OTHER CREW MEMBERS OR BY THE SOUND OF THE LEAD AIRCRAFT CRANKING UP. AT APPROXIMATELY ^0515 HOURS^ A GROUND COMMUNICATIONS CHECK WAS INITIATED BY ALPHA FLIGHT LEAD, ^WO KNOBLACUH^. HE THEN CALLED ^BLACKHORSE^ TOWER FOR HOVER AND LINE-UP INSTRUCTIONS FOR A FLIGHT OF EIGHT. ALPHA LEAD RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS, ACKNOWLEDGED THEM, AND MOVED OUT TO HIS POSITION. CHALKS 2 AND 3 OF ALPHA FLIGHT MOVED OUT IN ORDER AND TOOK UP THEIP POSITIONS. AIRCRAFT ^380^, BELONGING IN BRAVO FLIGHT FROM POSITION ASSIGNMENTS ON ^20 MAR 69^, HOVERED OUT IN FRONT OF BRAVO LEAD, AND THEN REMAINED AS CHALK 4 IN ALPHA FLIGHT. BRAVO LEAD THEN ASSUMED THE FIFTH POSITION, AND ALPHA LEAD WHO WAS ON TOWER FREQUENCY WAS UNAWARE THAT HE NOW HAD A FLIGHT OF FOUR. THE REST OF THE LINE-UP WAS ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT INCIDENT AND AT ^0522 HOURS, BLACKHORSE^ TOWER CLEARED ALPHA LEAD AND A FLIGHT OF EIGHT (8) FOR TAKEOFF TO THE EAST ON RUNWAY 11. ALPHA LEAD INITIATED HIS TAKEOFF AND CLIMB OUT STILL UNAWARE THAT HE HAD A FOURTH AIRCRAFT. AT APPROXIMATELY 1000 FEET INDICATED ALTITUDE ^BLACKHORSE^ FIELD ELEVATION IS 820 FEET) HE EXPERIENCED A THIN WISP OF CLOUD OR HAZE, AND NOTICED LOW-HANGING CLOUDS TO THE NORTHEAST, OR TO HIS LEFT. AT THIS TIME HE EXECUTED AN ABRUPT 20 TO 25 DEGREE RIGHT BANK AND TRANSMITTED TO THE FLIGHT TO "COME UP A LOOSE, LOOSE V OF THREE". ALPHA CHALKS 2, 3, AND 4 OBSERVED ALPHA LEAD MAKE HIS TURN AND BEGAN TO TURN AND MOVE OUT TO THEIR FORMATION POSITIONS. CHALK 2 EXPERIENCED HAZE OR CLOUDS AND INTERMITTENT IFR WEATHER CONDITIONS. CHALK 3 COULD PARTIALLY SEE THE RUNNING LIGHT ON ALPHA LEAD, BUT AS HE SLIPPED LEFT (EAST) TO GAIN HIS POSITION IN THE "VEE", HE ALSO EXPERIENCED INTERMITTENT IFR WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND DID NOT BREAK OUT COMPLETELY UNTIL HE REACHED 2000 FEET INDICATED ALTITUDE. AIRCRAFT ^380^, ALPHA CHALK 4, MOVED TO PICK UP HIS POSITION CENTERED BEHIND LEAD TO FORM A DIAMOND. HE DID NOT BEGIN A CLIMB AND ATTEMPTED TO DESCENT BELOW THE LEVEL OF THE CLOUDS UNTIL HIS PILOT AND CREW MEMBERS YELLED "TREES", AND AT A POSITION NOT MORE THAN THEN FEET ABOVE THE TREE TOPS HE INITIATED A NORMAL CLIMB. SIMULTANEOUSLY BRAVO FLIGHT TOOK OFF WITH NO APPARENT SEPARATION BETWEEN THE FLIGHTS. BRAVO FLIGHT ESTABLISHED A TRAIL FORMATION CARRYING OUT TO THE EAST FOR SEPARATION. BRAVO LEAD ENTERED A WISP OF CLOUDS OR HAZE, AND TURNED LEFT, PROBABLY INADVERTENTLY, PAST A 90 DEGREE HEADING SO THAT HIS GROUNDTRACK AND THAT OF THE TREE SHIPS BEHIND HIM WAS IN FACT 050 DEGREES FROM THE EAST END OF RUNWAY 11.HE INIATED AND MAINTAINED A CLIMB OF 1000 FEET PER MINUTE, 40 LBS TORQUE, AND 60 KNOTS INDICATED AIRSPEED. BRAVO CHALK 2, CHALK 3, AND TRAIL AIRCRAFT ^385^, CONTINUED ON THIS GROUND TRACK. CHALK 2 WAS CLIMBING SLOWLY AT A RATE ESTIMATED TO BE LESS THAN 300 FEET PER MINUTE, AND CHALK 3 WAS FOLLOWING HIM. CHALK 2 THEN TRANSMITTED,"CHALK 2, I'M IN TROUBLE, WATCH ME", HE MUST HAVE ENCOUNTERED, UNEXPECTEDLY, THE SAME IFR CONDITIONS THE FIVE PREVIOUS SHIPS HAD ENTERED. APPROXIMATELY ONE MINUTE AND TWENTY FIVE SECONDS AFTER LIFT OFF, AIRCRAFT SN^66-16928^ TURNED RIGHT AND CRASHED ON A 210 DEGREE HEADING. ALPHA FLIGHT PROCEEDED TO ^BEARCAT^ AS A FLIGHT. BRAVO LEAD BEGAN CIRCLING MIDWAY BETWEEN ^BEARCAT^ AND ^BLACKHORSE^ ATTEMPTING TO CONTACT HIS AIRCRAFT. BRAVO TRAIL CONTINUED ALONE INTO ^BEARCAT^ WITH UHF RADIO PROBLEMS. AT APPROXIMATELY ^0535 HOURS^ OR TEN TO FIFTEEN MINUTES AFTER TAKEOFF, BRAVO LEAD, AIRCRAFT ^654^, CALLED ^BLACKHORSE^ TOWER AND SAID HE HAD FOUND ONE AIRCRAFT, THINKING HE KNEW WHERE ^354^ WAS, BUT WAS STILL MISSING ONE. THE TOWER INFORMED HIM OF A REPORT BY A PERIMETER GUARD THAT A SHIP HAD CRASHED BETWEEN 5-- AND 2000 METERS EAST OF THE COMPOUND. AFTER SEARCHING THROUGH MORE INTERMITTENT IFR CLOUD CONDITIONS, BRAVO LEAD LOCATED AIRCRAFT ^928^ AT APPROXIMATELY ^0630^ HOURS, ^21 MAR 69^.\\

This record was last updated on 09/20/1998


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