Helicopter UH-1H 67-17800


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17800
The Army purchased this helicopter 0968
Total flight hours at this point: 00000497
Date: 07/27/1969
Incident number: 690727131ACD Accident case number: 690727131 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 57 AHC
The station for this helicopter was Kontum in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 4 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 455945
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, Unit History (Operations Report. )
Summary: Crashed during a radar approach to Kontum in very bad weather.
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
AC WO1 BERGQUIST ERIC EMANUEL KIA
P 1LT CARR JAMES ALLEN KIA
CE SP4 HINSON THOMAS ALLEN KIA
G PFC DEES JERRY RICHARD KIA


Accident Summary:

 ON 27 JULY 1969, AT APPROXIMATELY 1800 HRS (LOCAL), A TACTICAL EMERGENCY WAS DECLARED BY FOB HEADQUARTERS AT KONTUM. THE 57TH AVN CO (ASLT HEL) WAS INFORMED OF THE SITUATION AND SCRAMNLED FOUR UH-1H (SLICK) AND TWO UH-1C (GUNSHIP) AIRCRAFT IN SUPPORT OF THE OPERATION. THEY WERE TO MAKE TROOP EXTRACTIONS IN THE BEN HET AREA. THE AIRCRAFT DEPARTED KONTUM AND ALL ARRIVED SAFELY AT DAK TO, WHERE THEY REFUELED AND PROCEEDED ON THEIR MISSION. THEY WERE UNABLE TO REACH THE EXTRACTION SITE, DUE TO THE WEATHER AND BEGAN A CIRCULAR ORBIT APPROXIMATELY FOUR MILES TO THE NORTHEAST OF THE SITE WAITING FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXTRACT THE TEAM. AFTER APPROXIMATELY ONE HOUR, THE FLIGHT RETURNED TO BEN HET. WO1 JOHN M. SMITH, AIRCRAFT COMMANDER OF AIRCRAFT 559 HAD LED THE FLIGHT THIS FAR, DUE TO THE FACT THAT HE WAS THE PRIMARY EXTRACT SHIP. UPON ARRIVAL TO BEN HET, WO1 SMITH WAS INSTRUCTED BY THE FLIGHT LEADER, WO1 MAURICE D. MAXWELL, TO PROCEED DOWN THE ROAD TOWARDS DAK TO AND TO RELAY THE WEATHER BACK TO THE REST OF THE FLIGHT, WHICH WOULD REMAIN IN ORBIT AT BEN HET. APPROXIMATELY HALF WAY TO DAK TO, WO1 SMITH CALLED THE FLIGHT AND SAID THAT HE HAD MADE IT ALLRIGHT, THAT CEILING ALONG THE ROUTE WAS RANGING FROM FIFTY TO ONE-HUNDRED FEET AGL AND THAT THERE WAS MODERATE RAIN FALL.\\ THE FLIGHT LEADER'S STATEMENT. HE STATES THAT WO1 SMITH REPORTED THAT HE HAD TO GO IMC FOR SHORPERIODS OF TIME AND THAT IT WAS AT THIS TIME WHEN WO1 BERGQUIST ASKED FOR PERMISSION TO RETURN TO KONTUM UNDER IMC FLIGHT. THIS IS SOMEWHAT NEGATED BY THE STATEMENT OF WO1 SMITH, WHO MAKES NO MENTION OF IMC IN HIS STATEMENT, AND BY THE FACT THAT CW2 ALLEN M. MORRIS, AIRCRAFT COMMANDER OF 552, STATES THAT HE FOLLOWED WO1 BERGQUIST DOWN THE ROAD FROM BEN HET FOR A SHORT DISTANCE BEFORE WO1 BERGQUIST ACTUALLY DEPARTED THE FLIGHT. IT APPEARS THAT WO1 BERGQUIST WAS UNDECIDED AS TO HOW TO RETURN AT THIS TIME. THE FLIGHT LEADER FELT THAT WO1 BERGQUIST WAS CAPABLE AND LEFT IT TO HIS OWN DISCRETION. SHORTLY AFTER DEPARTING BEN HET, CW2 MORRIS OBSERVED WO1 BERGQUIST'S AIRCRAFT (67-17800) IN A LEFT CLIMBING TURN. CW2 MORRIS QUESTIONED WO1 BERGQUIST AS TO HIS INTENTIONS. THE REPLY WAS THAT HE WAS GOING TO MAKE A 360 DEGREE TURN FOR SPACING.\\ APPROXIMATELY THREE TO FOUR MINUTES LATER. AT THIS TIME HE CALLED THE FLIGHT LEADER AND TOLD HIM THAT HE WAS CLIMBING TO 7000 FEET AND REQUESTED PERMISSION TO CHANGE FREQUENCIES TO KONTUM GCA. THE FLIGHT LEADER GAVE HIS PERMISSION AND CONTINUED ON TO KONTUM.\\ 67-17800 WAS THAT ESTABLISHED WITH KONTUM GCA. THE AIRCRAFT WAS PICKED UP AS A RADAR TARGET AND POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION WAS MADE SIX MILES NORTH OF THE AIRFIELD. AS EVIDENCED BY THE STATEMENT'S OF THE CONTROLLER AND THE SUPERVISOR ON DUTY, THE APPROACH WAS NORMAL UNTIL THE AIRCRAFT WAS TURNED ONTO A FINAL APPROACH. THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN WERE TO DESCENT AT 4800 FEET AND TURN TO 270 DEGREES ON FINAL AND TO REPORT LEVEL AT 4800 FEET. AT NINE MILES, THE PILOT REPORTED LEVEL. AT EIGHT MILES, THE CONTROLLER DID NOT HAVE AN ELEVATION TARGET. THIS HAD OCCURRED ON ONE OR TWO PREVIOUS APPROACHES THAT EVENING AND THE CONTROLLER SUSPECTED A FAILURE WITH HIS ELEVATION MECHANISM. AT THIS TIME, INSTRUCTIONS WERE GIVEN TO THE EFFECT THAT THE APPROACH WOULD BE CHANGED FROM A PRECISION APPROACH TO A SURVEILLANCE APPROACH WITH RECOMMENDED ALTITUDES GIVEN EACH MILE ON FINAL. THE PILOT ROGERED THE CHANGE OF INSTRUCTIONS AND RESUMED A NORMAL APPROACH. AT APPROXIMATELY FOUR AND ONE-HALF MILES, THE PILOT ASKED THE CONTROLLER WHAT HIS ALTITUDE SHOULD BE. THE CONTROLLER ANSWERED 3600 FEET AND A ROGER FROM THE PILOT WAS RECEIVED. THE PILOT ASKED THE CONTROLLER TO ADVISE HIM OF RECOMMENDED ALTITUDES EVERY HALF MILE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE APPROACH. AT FOUR MILES, DISTANCE AND ALTITUDE WERE RELAYED TO THE PILOT. SHORTLY THEREAFTER, THE TARGET DISAPPEARED FROM THE CONTROLLER'S SCOPE. THE CONTROLLER ISSUED INSTRUCTIONS TO EXECUTE A MISSED APPROACH AND RECEIVED NO ANSWER. HE CALLED AGAIN ON THE SAME FREQUENCY AND THEN PUT OUT A CALL ON GUARD, ALL WITH NEGATIVE REPLIES. AT THIS TIME, HE NOTIFIED OPERATIONS AT THE 57TH AVN CO (ASLT HEL).\\


War Story:
The 57th AHC's unit history states the monsoon weather had forced many mission cancellation during the month. Four slicks had departed for a mission and, after accomplishing the mission, header back for Kontum. While enroute the ceiling lowered to 300 feet in rain. Three of the ships made it back safely but the fourth, piloted by WO Eric Bargquist and 1LT James Carr, went IFR and had initiated a surveillance radar approach to the field. On a three mile final to runway 28, contact was lost on radar. An immediate search was begun and, before the weather forced the search to a halt, wreckage was found burning approximately 100 meters below the top of a ridgeline. The two pilots, along with the CE, SP4 Thomas Hinson, and doorgunner, PFC Terry Dees, died in the crash.

This record was last updated on 05/25/1998


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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