Helicopter AH-1G 68-15109


Information on U.S. Army helicopter AH-1G tail number 68-15109
The Army purchased this helicopter 0469
Total flight hours at this point: 00000231
Date: 10/23/1969
Incident number: 691023201ACD Accident case number: 691023201 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: A/4/77 ARA 101 ABN
The station for this helicopter was Camp Eagle in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 2 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 593230
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 YOUNG GERALD LEE KIA
AC WO1 ABRAMSON ANDREW JOHN KIA


Accident Summary:

 ON 23 OCTOBER 1969, TWO AH-1G AIRCRAFT WERE ASSIGNED TWO MINUTE HOT STATUS. THIS AIRCRAFT WAS THE WING SHIP OF A FLIGHT OF TWO AERIAL ROCKET ARTILLERY AIRCRAFT. THE GROSS WEIGHT WAS 9400 LBS AT TAKE OFF. AT 1443 HOURS A BATTERY OPERATIONS RECEIVED A FIRE MISSION FROM THE BATTALION TOC. THE PILOTS SCRAMBLED TO THEIR AIRCRAFT AND MADE AN IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE AND THE LEAD AIRCRAFT WAS AIRBORNE AT 1445 HOURS. ON HIS DOWNWIND LEG, CW2 VANCE, THE SECTION LEADER, OBSERVED HIS WING SHIP JUST DEPARTING THE A BATTERY HELIPORT. DUE TO THE POSITIONING OF THE AIRCRAFT IN THEIR REVETMENTS AND LIMITED REAL ESTATE, WO YOUNG COULD NOT HOVER OUT FOR TAKEOFF UNTIL THE LEAD AIRCRAFT HAD MOVED OUT TO THE TAKEOFF LANE. AFTER RECEIVING THE MISSION BRIEFING ON DEPARTURE, W2 VANCE INSTRUCTED WO YOUNG TO OBTAIN ARTILLERY CLEARANCE TO THE TARGET AREA, WHICH WAS IN THE VICINITY OF FSB TIGER. WO YOUNG RECEIVED AND RELAYED THE ARTILLERY CLEARANCE TO THE LEAD AIRCRAFT AT WHICH TIME CW VANCE BRIEFED HIM ON THE MISSION. IT WAS ABOUT THIS POINT THAT SP4 MANFRED THE CREW CHIEF ON A BLACK WIDOW AIRCRAFT OBSERVED THE AH-1G AT APPROXIMATELY 150 FEET PASSING UNDER HIS UH-1H. AS THE COBRA CONTINUED ITS WESTERLY COURSE PASSING UNDER THE UH-1H HE WAS OBSERVED BY THE GUNNER OF THE BLACK WIDOW AIRCRAFT. AT THIS TIME THE COBRA APPEARED NOSE LOW, WHICH IS THE NORMAL FLIGHT ATTITUDE OF THE AH-1G AT HIGH SPEED. A PUFF OF WHITE SMOKE WAS OBSERVED COMING FROM THE ENGINE. THE EYEWITNESS STATED THAT THE ROTOR RPM WAS LOW. FROM THIS THE BOARD CONCLUDED THAT THE ROTOR RPM DECAYED TO A DANGEROUSLY LOW LEVEL BEFORE THE CREW WAS AWARE OF THE ENGINE FAILURE. THE COBRA THEN ASSUMED A DECELERATING ATTITUDE IN AN ATTEMPT TO BUILD THE RPM. THE BOARD ASSUMED THAT AT THIS POINT THE CALL "ALPHAM THIS IS ECHO, WE'RE GOING DOWN" WAS MADE. AS GROUND CONTACT BECAME IMMINENT THE PILOT PULLED PITCH FURTHER DECAYING THE RPM. THIS RESULTED IN THE LOSS OF EFFECTIVE ANTITORQUE CONTROL AND AN EXCESSIVE RATE OF DESCENT. AT GROUND CONTACT THE AIRCRAFT WAS STILL IN A DECELERATING ATTITUDE AND WAS JUST BEGINNING TO ROTATE TO THE LEFT. ON INITIAL CONTACT THE STINGER AND RIGHT REAR NAVIGATION LIGHT SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT. THE TAILBOOM FAILED AT STATION 420 ON THE BOTTOM DIAGONALLY TO STATION 350 ON THE TOP. THE HEEL OF THE LEFT SKID STRUCK THE GROUND NEXT AND SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT AT THE REAR SKID CROSSTUBE ATTACHMENT POINT. THE RIGHT REAR CROSS TUBE FAILED AND SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT AT THE CROSS TUBE SUPPORT ASSEMBLY. BOTH SKIDS SEPARATED FROM THE FORWARD CROSS TUBE AND THE FOUR ROCKET PODS SEPARATED FROM THE BOMB SHACKLES. THE FORWARD CROSS TUBE ROTATED TOP FORWARD AND SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT. THE BELLY OF THE AIRCRAFT STRUCK THE GROUND AND THE WHITE MAIN ROTOR BLADE FLEXED DOWN THROUGH THE CO-PILOT/GUNNER COMPARTMENT DECAPITATING WO1 AMBRAMSON. AT THIS POINT THE ALREADY WEAKENED MAIN STRUCTURAL BEAMS FAILED AND THE TRANSMISSION AND STUB WINGS ASSEMBLY SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT AS A UNIT. THE AFT FUSELAGE, ENGINE, AND TAILBOOM SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT. THE FUEL CELLS RUPTURED AND BURST INTO FLAMES. THE REMAINING COCKPIT SECTION AND FORWARD FUSELAGE CONTINUED TO TURN TO THE LEFT FOR APPROXIMATELY 90 DEGREES, THROWING BURNING FUEL OVER THE UPHILL SECTION OF THE CRASH AREA, AND COMING TO REST ON A HEADING OF 080 DEGREES. AS A RESULT OF THE POST CRASH FIRE, THE TWO LEFT ROCKET PODS EXPLODED AND THE ENTIRE COCKPIT AREA AND THE HONEYCOMB AREA OF THE RED MAIN ROTOR BLADE WERE DESTROYED BY FIRE.\\

This record was last updated on 05/25/1998


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