Helicopter UH-1H 67-17354


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17354
The Army purchased this helicopter 0368
Total flight hours at this point: 00001179
Date: 03/21/1969
Incident number: 690321281ACD Accident case number: 690321281 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 = 1
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:
P WO1 BAETZEL ROBERT ALLEN KIA
P 1LT GIBSON HARRY HUTCHISON KIA
CE SGT MILLS TED DOUGLAS KIA
G SP4 KRAUSSER ALBERT OTTO KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
O2 DJ HANNING, FCO, G


Accident Summary:

 (ABRIDGED) ^MAJOR RILEY^ DISPATCHED EIGHT (8) UH-1H TROOP SHIPS AT ^2130 HOURS ^ FOR ^BEARCAT^ WITH CREWS SCHEDULED FOR MISSION OF ^21 MARCH 1969^. THE EIGHT SHIPS DEPARTED ^BEARCAT^ IN TWO FLIGHTS ONE OF SIX AND ONE OF 2 SHIPS AT ^2130^. THE FLIGHTS LANDED AT ^BLACKHORSE^, BY ^2230^, ^20 MARCH 69^, ALL EIGHT AIRCRAFT WERE SHUT DOWN IN "L" REVETMENTS. BETWEEN ^0445^ AND ^0505^ HOURS ON ^21 MARCH 69^, THE CREWS WERE AWAKENED. AT ^0518^ HOURS ALPHA LEAD CALLED ^BLACKHORSE^ TOWER FOR INSTRUCTIONS FOR A FLIGHT OF EIGHT. ALPHA LEAD RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS, ACKNOWLEDGED THEM, AND MOVED OUT TO HIS POSITION ON RUNWAY 11. CHALK # 2 AND #3 OF ALPHA FLIGHT MOVED OUT IN ORDER AND TOOK UP THEIR POSITIONS. AIRCRAFT ^#380^ BELONGING TO BRAVO FLIGHT FROM THE POSITION ASSIGNMENTS OF ^20 MARCH 69^ MOVED OUT IN FRONT OF BRAVO LEAD TO ASSUME THE POSITION OF CHALK #4 ALPHA FLIGHT. THIS MOVE WAS CHALLENGED BY BRAVO LEAD, BUT AIRCRAFT #^380^ REMAINED CHALK #4 ALPHA FLIGHT. BRAVO LEAD THEN ASSUMED THE FIFTH POSITION, AND ALPHA LEAD, ON TOWER FREQUENCY, WAS UNAWARE THAT HE NOW HAD A FLIGHT OF FOUR. AT ^0522^ HOURS, ^BLACKHORSE^ TOWER CLEARED ALPHA LEAD AND A FLIGHT OF EIGHT FOR TAKE OFF TO THE EAST OF RUNWAY 11. ALPHA LEAD INITIATED HIS TAKE OFF AND CLIMB OUT, FOLLOWED BY CHALKS # 2, #3, AND #4 OF ALPHA FLIGHT STILL UNAWARE THAT HE HAD FOUR SHIPS. AT APPROXIMATELY 200 FEET AGL, ALPHA LEAD 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 RIGHT TURN USING APPROXIMATELY 25 DEGREES OF BANK AND TRANSMITTED TO THE FLIGHT TO "COME UP A LOOSE, LOOSE V OF 8". ALPHA CHALKS #2, #3,  BEGAN TO TURN AND MOVE OUT OF THEIR FORMATION POSITIONS. CHALK #3 COULD PARTIALLY SEE A HAZY RUNNING LIGHT ON ALPHA LEAD; BUT AS HE SLIPPED LEFT, TO THE EAST, TO GAIN HIS POSITION IN THE "V", HE ALSO EXPERIENCED IFR WEATHER CONDITIONS INTERMITTENTLY AND DID NOT BREAK CLEAR COMPLETELY UNTIL HE REACHED 2000 FEET INDICATED. CHALK ALPHA #4, MOVED TO PICK UP HIS POSITION CENTERED BEHIND LEAD TO FORM A DIAMOND. HE DID NOT BEGIN A CLIMB AND ATTEMPTED TO DESCEND BELOW THE LEVEL OF THE CLOUDS UNTIL HIS PILOT & CREW MEMBERS YELLED "TREES", AND AT A POSITION BELIEVED TO BE NOT MORE THAN TEN FEET ABOVE THE TREE TOPS BEGAN A NORMAL CLIMB, REMAINING IN AND OUT UNTIL 2000 FEET ALTITUDE INDICATED. SIMULTANEOUSLY, BRAVO FLIGHT TOOK OFF WITH A SEPARATION ON ALPHA LEAD OF APPROXIMATELY 30 SECONDS. THE SEQUENCE OF RADIO CALLS, AFTER BRAVO LEAD TURNED RIGHT IS AS FOLLOWS: BRAVO LEAD: " FLIGHT STAY LOOSE, LOOSE TRAIL CARRY IT OUT FOR SEPARATION TO THE EAST." BRAVO CHALK#2: CHALK #2, I'M IN TROUBLE, WATCH ME." UNIDENTIFIED: "DOING A ONE-EIGHTY" ALPHA LEAD: " CONTINUE TURNING TO A WESTERLY HEADING." BRAVO LEAD: "CHALK #3 ARE YOU IN TROUBLE?" ALPHA CHALK #3:23,25: I'M NOT IN TROUBLE." ALPHA LEAD: "I'M AWARE OF THAT, STAY OFF THE AIR." WHILE THESE TRANSMISSIONS WERE TAKING PLACE, ALPHA FLIGHT WAS IN AND OUT OF CLOUDS FROM 1000 TO 2000 FEET INDICATED ALTITUDE IN A RIGHT TURN TO CROSSWIND AND DOWNWIND LEGS. BRAVO FLIGHT WAS IN TRAIL FORMATION CARRYING OUT TO THE EAST FOR SEPARATION. BRAVO LEAD INITIATED AND MAINTAINED A CLIMB OF 1000 FEET PER MINUTE, 40 POUNDS OF TORQUE, 60 KNOTS (KIAS). BRAVO CHALK #2 A/C ^354^; AND CHALK #3 AND TRAIL CONTINUED ON THIS GROUND TRACK IN A 3 SHIP STAGGRED RIGHT FORMATION. A/C ^354^ WAS CLIMBING SLOWLY AT A RATE LESS THAN 300 RPM AND CHALK 3 A/C ^928^ WAS FOLLOWING HIM. WHEN ^354^ TRANSMITTED, "I'M IN TROUBLE WATCH ME," HE WAS MOST PROBABLY ENCOUNTERING, UNEXPECTEDLY, THE SAME IFR CONDITIONS ALL FIVE PREVIOUS SHIPS HAD ENTERED, BUT FAILED TO IDENTIFY OR WARN ABOUT OVER THE AIR. APPROXIMATELY 1 MINUTE 30 SECONDS AFTER LIFT OFF, A/C ^354^ WHILE ATTEMPTING TO CLIMB OUT SLOWLY AND TURN RIGHT, TO A WESTERLY HEADING AS INSTRUCTED BY ALPHA LEAD, FLEW DIRECTLY INTO THE SIDE OF A 1260 FOOT HILL.\\


War Story:
As I was over my flight time limit, I still travelled with the unit to Black Horse. I was a pax on Bob Baetzelís a/c until just before pitch-pull when Capt Hanningís CE ran up and told me to go back to his a/c. I told Bob Baetzel Iíd see him later, but later was when I found his body and put him in a body bag. On t/o, Capt Hanning experienced inadvertent IFR and the a/c banked over 40 degrees when he looked at the copilot and calmly said,ĒYouíve got the a/cĒ. Our Peter Pilot was just out of flight school and his recent instrument training kicked in and he climbed straight ahead breaking out of the clouds above 5000í saving our lives. The copilotís name escapes me but I think it was Williams? When we were climbing out, below and left of our a/c there was a bright orange glow followed by another bright orange glow below and on the right side. We flew around trying to land close to the crash sites but both were on the side of obscured muntains. After about an hour when the sun came up, Capt Hanning landed on the edge of a cliff, called for ground support and protection and he and I, with one of the a/cís M-60ís walked down the mountain until we spotted the wreckage of Bob Baetzelís a/c. We sifted through the bodies that were burned beyond recognition. I found Bobís body but did not recognize him. I took off his boot because on the inside we had our names from boot camp. On doing so, his flesh came off also.( Bob and I went through basic training and flight school together before being stationed with the Cowboys) The 11th ACR came and provided security. Upon arriving back at home station, I found Bobís dog tags( ID) on his bunk and I cursed him for what I had to do to identify him. I will live with those images till the day I die as my eyes are welling up typing this. George E Mayl, CW3, USA Ret, Life Member

This record was last updated on 04/19/2018


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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019


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