Helicopter UH-1H 68-15537


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 68-15537
The Army purchased this helicopter 0469
Total flight hours at this point: 00000428
Date: 09/03/1969
Incident number: 690903231ACD Accident case number: 690903231 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: B/158 AVN
The station for this helicopter was Camp Evans in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 9 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 5
costing 726600
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 CW2 SUTTON BEN FREDERICK KIA
P WO1 HUGHES CARL PATRICK KIA
CE SP4 COX MICHAEL MILTON KIA
G SP4 SCREEN MARVIN EDMUND KIA

Passengers and/or other participants:
SP4 EPIFANIO NEAL DAVID, AR, PX, KIA
PFC MILLS LOUIS TRENT, AR, PX, KIA
CPT MILLER RICHARD CHARLES, AR, PX, KIA
SGT EVANS GARY LEE, AR, PX, KIA
CPL RUTHERFORD LEROY, AR, PX, KIA


Accident Summary:

 AIRCRAFT WAS NUMBER EIGHT IN A FLIGHT OF FOURTEEN. THE FLIGHT WAS ASSIGNED THE MISSION OF EXECUTING EIGHT COMBAT ASSAULTS IN SUPPORT OF THE 2ND BRIGADE. THE FIRST MISSION INVOLVED THE EXTRACTION OF ONE RIFLE COMPANY. THE FIRST SEVEN AIRCRAFT LANDED IN THE PICK UP ZONE AND DEPARTED WITHOUT INCIDENT. A LARGE TREE APPROXIMATELY 60 FEET TALL WAS DIRECTLY NORTH OF THE TOUCH DOWN POINT. EACH AIRCRAFT COMMANDER TURNED HIS AIRCRAFT APPROXIMATELY 20 DEGREES TO THE LEFT, WHICH ALLOWED SUFFICIENT CLEARANCE BETWEEN THE ROTOR DISC AND THE LARGE TREE, ALLOWING A SAFE DEPARTURE ON A NORTH NORTHWESTERLY HEADING. AIRCRAFT NUMBER 8, UPON APPROACH THE PICKUP ZONE, WAS INSTRUCTED TO UTILIZE A RIGHT DOWN WIND AND RIGHT BASE TRAFFIC PATTERN, DUE TO ARTILLERY FIRE IMPACTING SOUTHWEST OF THE PICKUP ZONE. BECAUSE OF INADEQUATE SPACING, RESULTING FROM THE CHANGE OF THE APPROACH PATTERN, THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER EXECUTED A GO AROUND AND 360 DEGREE TURN TO THE WEST. THE SECOND APPROACH WAS SUCCESSFUL, AND THE LOADING OF FIVE PASSENGERS WAS ACCOMPLISHED. THE AIRCRAFT, UPON DEPARTURE FROM THE PICKUP ZONE, DID NOT EXECUTE A 20 DEGREE TURN TO THE LEFT, AND SUBSEQUENTLY FOLLOWED A FLIGHT PATH MORE NORTHERLY IN DIRECTION THAN THE PRECEEDING AIRCRAFT IN THE FLIGHT. AS THE AIRCRAFT EXECUTED A MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE TAKEOFF, THE MAIN ROTOR BLADES MADE CONTACT WITH A TREE, 60 FEET TALL, TEN INCHES IN DIAMETER, AND LOCATED 40 METERS FORWARD OF THE TAKEOFF POINT. IT IS SURMISED THAT THE AFOREMENTIONED BLADE STRIKE RESULTED IN AN INSTANTANEOUS DECAY OF ROTOR RPM TO A LEVEL UNACCEPTABLE FOR CONTINUED CLIMBOUT. THE AIRCRAFT THEN TURNED LEFT APPROXIMATELY 10 DEGREES, WITH A SLIGHT LOSS OF ALTITUDE, WHEREUPON THE UNDERSIDE OF THE AIRCRAFT AND THE TAIL BOOM PASSED THROUGH THE TOP OF A BUSHY DEAD TREE APPROXIMATELY 40 METERS ALONG THE FLIGHT PATH FROM THE POINT, THE LEFT SYCHRONIZED ELEVATOR WAS TORN FROM THE TAIL BOOM, AND REMAINED SUSPENDED IN THE UPPER LIMBS OF THE TREE. THE AIRCRAFT CONTINUED APPROXIMATELY 70 METERS ALONG ITS' FLIGHT PATH IN A NOSE LOW ATTITUDE, MAKING CONTACT WITH THE TOP OF THE JUNGLE CANOPY, DOWN THE SIDE OF A RAVINE, WITH THE FINAL POINT OF IMPACT BEING IN A STREAM 10 METERS WIDE, THE DEPTH OF THE WATER BEING APPROXIMATELY 4 FEET. FINAL IMPACT WAS IN A NOSE LOW ATTITUDE, WITH AN ESTIMATED 20 KTS FORWARD MOTION. UPON IMPACT, THE TRANSMISSION AND MAIN ROTOR SYSTEM WERE THROWN FORWARD, COLLAPSING THE CABIN ROOF, WITH THE ROTOR HEAD COMING TO REST IN THE PILOTS COMPARTMENT OF THE AIRCRAFT. THE CABIN PORTION WAS IMMEDIATELY ENGULFED IN FLAMES, AND AS A RESULT, ALL NINE PERSONNEL ABOARD PERISHED IN THE CRASH AND RESULTING FIRE.\\

This record was last updated on 09/20/1998


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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