Helicopter CH-47B 66-19106


Information on U.S. Army helicopter CH-47B tail number 66-19106
Date: 03/09/1970
Incident number: 700309301ACD Accident case number: 700309301 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: C/228 AVN
The station for this helicopter was Bien Hoa in
Number killed in accident = 5 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 1320048
Source(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Army Aviation Safety Center database.

Crew Members:
AC WO1 FORTNER JOHN LYNWOOD KIA
P WO1 ANDERSON TERRANCE WESLEY KIA
CE SP4 REITZ KEITH HAROLD KIA
G SP4 CLARK PHILLIP LESLIE KIA
CE SP4 BAMFORD GEORGE ARTHUR KIA


Accident Summary:

 ON 9 MARCH 1970 AIRCRAFT #66-19106 WAS ON A RE-SUPPLY MISSION FROM 8UAN LOI AIRFIELD TO FSB BILL. THE SORTIE WAS THE FIRST ONE TO BE CARRIED AFTER 106 WAS SHUT DOWN FOR CHOW AND MAINTENANCE. THE AIRCRAFT WAS FLOWN BY WO1 JOHN TORTNER AIRCRAFT COMMANDER AND WO1 TERRANCE ANDERSON PILOT. THE TIME OF TAKEOFF WAS 1420. THE LOAD CONSISTED OF 5 BUNDLES OF CONCERTINS WIRE, 3 BUNDLES OF 8 FOOT ENGINEER STAKES AND 3 BUNLDES OF 3 FOOT ENGINEER STAKES. THIS LOAD CONSTITUTED A "SORTIE", OF WHICH THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER ACKNOWLEDGED BY GIVING HIS INITIALS TO THE LOGISTIC PAD CONTROLLER AS J.N. ACCORDING TO WITNESSES THE FOLLOWING CHAIN OF EVENTS TOOK PLACE: THE LOAD WAS PICKED UP TO A HOVER OF APPROXIMATELY 5 TO 10 FEET OFF THE GROUND. THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER WAS TOLD T O HOLD FOR DEPARTING TRAFFIC FOR APPROXIMATELY 15 TO 20 SECONDS AS THE AIRCRAFT MOVED FORWARD TO BEGIN TAKE OFF, IT STARTED TO LOSE ALTITUDE. AT A POINT TO THE RIGHT OF THE ACTIVE RUNWAY AND ALMOST DIRECTLY ACROSS FROM THE CONTROL TOWER, THE LOAD STARTED TO DRAG THE GROUND. THE LOAD WAS DRUG FOR APPROXIMATELY 200 FEET, WITH PORTIONS OF THE ENGINEER STAKES COMING LOOSE FROM THE LOAD. A RAPID AND UNUSUAL POPPING SOUND WAS HEARD BY WITNESSES NEAR THE SCENE. THE AIRCRAFT SETTLED ON TOP OF THE LOAD WITH A NOSE LOW ATTITUDE. THIS ATTITUDE WAS DESCRIBED AS EXTREME WITH A POSSIBILITY OF THE FORWARD BLADES STRIKING THE GROUND. AN ABRUPT NOSE HIGH PITCH UP WAS OBSERVED AS THE AIRCRAFT BECAME AIRBORNE AGAIN WITH THE LOA. THE LOAD WAS JERKED OFF THE GROUND AND THE AIRCRAFT REACHED AN ALTITUDE OF APPROXIMATELY 100 FEET. THE LOAD WAS SWINGING FORE AND AFT, RIGHT AND LEFT IN EXTREME MOTIONS. THE AIRCRAFT WAS DESCRIBED AS "FISHTAILING" AND TWISTING ALONG THE LOAD. AT A POINT APPROXIMATELY 100 FEET FORWARD AND 100 FEET TO THE RIGHT FROM WHERE THE AIRCRAFT SAT ON THE LOAD, THE LOAD WAS RELEASED AND LANDED ON A UH-1H HELICOPTER. THE UH-1H SUSTAINED MAJOR DAMAGE TO THE TAILBOOM AND ROTOR BLADES. AT THIS POINT THE AIRCRAFT GAINED ALTITUDE RAPIDLY TO APPROXIMATELY 500 FEET AGL. THE AIRCRAFT WAS AT THIS TIME OVER THE APPROACH END OF RUNWAY 23. THE ERRATIC MOVEMENTS OF THE AIRCRAFT WERE STILL OBSERVED. AT THIS POINT AN OBJECT DESCRIBED AS A ROUND BLACK OBJECT WAS SEEN FALLING FROM THE AIRCRAFT. THE AIRCRAFT STARTED A LEFT HAND TURN AS IF IT WAS TRYING TO RETURN TO THE AIRFIELD TO LAND. IN THE TURN THE AIRCRAFT APPEARED TO BE IN CONTROL PART OF THE TIME THEN WOULD "FISHTAIL" AND "PORPOSE". WHEN THE AIRCRAFT COMPLETED APPROXIMATELY 270 OF THE TURN FLEW STRAIGHT AND LEVEL FOR APPROXIMATELY 500 FEET, THEN ROLLED TO THE LEFT, NOSE LOW AND WENT APPROXIMATELY 180 INVERTED. THE AFT PYLON SECTION SEPARATED AND FELL AT THE SAME TIME A FLASH OF LIGHT AND EXPLOSION WAS SEEN AND HEARD COMING FROM THE REAR OF THE AIRCRAFT. THE MAIN FUSELAGE CONTINUED FOR APPROXIMATELY 100 METERS, LANDING NOSE LOW ON THE LEFT SIDE. THE FORWARD SECTION DID NOT BURN. AIRCRAFT AND GROUND PERSONNEL WERE ON THE SCENE IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE IMPACT. THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS, THE TIME OF IMPACT WAS APPROXIMATELY 1425.\\


War Story:
I and my fellow Blue Max AH-1G Corba Team observed this crash.

We were waiting for fuel and re-armament after having just flown in and landed after completing a fire mission. We were on the left side of the runway with our aircraft parked in revetments of C Battery, 2/20 ARA 1st Cav Division.

We picked up on the event when we heard the awful noise the load was creating as it was being dragged down the runway toward us. Thus from that point forward we witnessed this accident unfolding and actually thought the Chinook was going to crash into us and our aircraft (there was no area in which we could seek protection). Thus we were transfixed and watched the whole incident unfold. We were almost directly opposite of where the Chinook released its load and saw the load crashing into the UH-1 sitting alongside the runway on the opposite side. I said a little prayer for the Chinook crew and hoped no one was in the UH-1. Also another portion of the load fell through the mess hall roof.

One note: I did not see the rotor blades strike the runway and if they did I believe the Chinook would have crashed right there on the spot. Also during this time phase, we were in the process of slowly moving our fire base(s) closer and closer to the Cambodia border in preparation of the Cambodian invasion on the first of May, 1970. Thus we all were doing a lot of flying and the fatigue factor may have played a role in this accident.

When we took off shortly afterwards, the Control Tower asked me to fly over the crash site and report any survivors. All I remember seeing was a big burnt spot with no visible A/C parts or survivors which is what I reported. At that time no one had arrived at the crash site and I could not land to render assistance. The event that day has remained with me every since.

After returning from Viet Nam, I attended a Aviation Safety Board Class that was held at Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah, Ga. Unfortunately I had to leave the class for a short time period and during this time a video of a CH-47 Aircraft crash in Viet Nam was shown. I consulted with the instructor and it appeared to be a video of this crash. I did not have time to actually review the video, although now I wish I had. The instructor told me that after investigating the crash as best as possible, it was determined that the trunion bearings probably froze on the rotor head when the AC Commander hovered over the load and then jerk the load off the runway to get air born and thus basically lost control of the AC pitch capability.

I was told that another soldier heard the awful noise the load was creating when it was being dragged along the runway, had a video camera and filmed the whole incident. The soldier then turned the video over to the Army.

I have searched on the Web for this video and have had no success.

Are you aware of this video and if so, would you please provide me with information of how I could obtain the video.

If you would like more information from me, please let me know.

From: Leonard K. Hiteshew, U.S Army, Major (Ret) <(office)> <(home)>

This record was last updated on 07/31/2010


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