Helicopter UH-1D 66-00802


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-00802
The Army purchased this helicopter 1066
Total flight hours at this point: 00002095
Date: 04/23/1969
Incident number: 690423371ACD Accident case number: 690423371 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 173 AVN
The station for this helicopter was Lai Khe in South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XT547347
Number killed in accident = 11 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 7
costing 809504
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 CPT SANFORD ARNOLD KIA
P WO1 AULD ROGER MARTIN JR KIA
CE SP5 FAULKNER TROY DAVID KIA
G SP4 MCGRAW DONALD ORIN KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
UNK UT DV, , PX, KIA
X2 CHAU MN, , PX, KIA
X2 HGHIA DV, , PX, KIA
X2 MINH T, , PX, KIA
X2 GIOI MT, , PX, KIA
X2 KHAI PD, , PX, KIA
X2 VAN T, , PX, KIA


Accident Summary:

 AIRCRAFT #^802^ AND #^203^ WERE WORKING ON AN AUTHORIZED OPERATIONAL MISSION IN SUPPORT OF THE ^3RD BRIGADE, 1ST U. S. INFANTRY DIVISION^ LOCATED AT ^LAI KHE, RVN^. #^802^ WAS ACTING AS THE LEAD AIRCRAFT IN A FLIGHT OF FIVE UB-1D'S ATTEMPTING TO INSERT 35 TROOPS INTO A LANDING ZONE LOCATED AT ^XT554356, RVN^. #^203^ WAS THE WING AIRCRAFT IN A LIGHT FIRE TEAM OF TWO AIRCRAFT GIVEN THE MISSION OF SCREENING THE INSERTION TO THE SOUTH OF THE LANDING ZONE. THE LANDING AXIS OF THE INSERTION WAS APPROXIMATELY 410 DEGREES. DUE TO AN ARTILLERY STRIKE NORTH OF THE LANDING ZONE THE INSERTION AIRCRAFT WERE REQUIRED TO FLY A DOWNWIND LEG TO THE SOUTH OF THE LANDING ZONE, THEREBY SETTING THEMSELVES UP WITH A RIGHT BASE LEG AND A RIGHT TURN TO FINAL. INSERTION FLIGHT LEAD #^802^ HAD JUST TURNED TO A HEADING OF 050 DEGREES WHEN IT COLLIDED WITH #^203^. THE ALTITUDE AT THE TIME OF IMPACT WAS APPROXIMATELY 600 FEET INDICATED AND #^802^ BROKE IMMEDIATELY TO THE RIGHT AND DESCENDED AT A RAPID RATE. #^203^, WHO WAS FLYING ON A HEADING OF 140 DEGREES, CONTINUED ON THAT COURSE FOR ANOTHER 200 METERS BEFORE STRIKING THE GROUND. FIRES BROKE OUT ABOARD BOTH AIRCRAFT EITHER AFTER CONTACT OR UPON IMPACTION WITH THE GROUND AND EXCEPT FOR THEIR ROTOR SYSTEMS AND SMALL SECTIONS OF THEIR TAILBOOMS, WERE SUBSTANTIALLY CONSUMED BY THE FLAMES.\\


War Story:
Lost that night (actually early morning) of 23 April 69 from the Hoods were CPT Arnold Sanford, CW2 Roger Auld Jr., Troy Faulkner (crew chief), and Donald McGraw (Door Gunner). They were flying White lead, CW2 Kohl was chalk 2 and I was chalk 3. I don't remember who was 4 and 5. Seems this mission was to advance someone's career. As rumor has it, the guy in charge of the 11th CAB was gone for a couple weeks and the second in command wanted to put a feather in his cap. Intelligence said that the enemy was spending the nights in a village called Ben Suc. So his big idea was to insert troops in the dark to surround the village and surprise the enemy. As if one Huey could sneak up on anything (wap-wap-wap) let alone a whole sky full of them. We were ordered to fly without running lights, so we had to fly formation off the instrument lights of the aircraft in front. We were still flying 1/2 rotor disc formations then. We had just gone trail on long final when a Rebels gunship passed me on the left. He got up next to the lead aircraft, and I figured he was just setting up to suppress our left side while landing. Then all of a sudden he did a 90 degree to the right. He flew right into our lead aircraft. I don't know how Kohl evaded them, and I don't know how I kept from hitting Kohl. I remember admiring Kohl for being able to keep his composure and take over the lead. The rest of that morning is a blank other than getting back to Sherwood Forest. My room mate Cpt Jarad Nenstiel woke to ask how the flight went. I told him they had died. Then I just remember him in the next bunk crying and me thinking, "I wish he would shut up so I can get some sleep". By the way, they didn't find any enemy in Ben Suc, surprise-surprise. Craig Buchman, Robinhood 20, 173rd AHC, 68-69-70, cbuchman@outdoorfocus.org, Oct 97.

I am George French I flew with the 213th and you Dec 68 - Aug 69. William Rhae, Thomas Milam and I (all 3 were FEs) were in the back of a Black Cat Ship (I think it was an A model I crewed on before getting one of the new C models. I do not remember who the pilots were. They woke us up and we went out to my ship and after starting it up taxied out to the side of the runway at Phu Loi and I hooked up the hydraulics and slings to a set of fire buckets we had just gotten. We took off with the buckets and after a short while the pilot let me know we were descending to water to load up. We drug the buckets in the river and got tangled up with some logs and trash in the water. The search lights were on and we were able to hover backwards and free the buckets. After several attempts by the pilots to drop the water on the fires, it was decided that the landing lights would be turned on and the man in the hole would direct the pilots over the fire and release the water. I was in the hole and when the water buckets were about 20 feet off the fire, I released them. There was a large cloud of smoke, ash and steam that came up through the cargo hole but just as I told the pilot the load was released and we took off I remember seeing several skeletons huddled together in the center of what was left of a UH-1. This was when I found out what we were putting the fires out on. Those bones moved with the water and rotor wash and I got my first view of hell. We put all the fires out and went home very sober. I think this was the mid air I mentioned in the e-mail subject box. I though we put the fires out on 3 ships. There are only two mentioned here. This was the first mission using the fire buckets that I know of by the Black Cats. As far as I know it might even be the first fire bucket mission in Viet Nam.That was a long time ago and the mind plays tricks. I do know that I will never forget the smell and sights of that night. From: George French

This record was last updated on 05/07/2010


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