Helicopter UH-1D 66-16409


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16409
The Army purchased this helicopter 0567
Total flight hours at this point: 00002083
Date: 06/10/1970
Incident number: 700610311ACD Accident case number: 700610311 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 189 AHC
The station for this helicopter was Pleiku in South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: ZA063310
Number killed in accident = 2 . . Injured = 2 . . Passengers = 0
costing 350145
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, Dave York (Operations Report. )
Summary: Experience broken transmission strap while avoiding hostile fire, then an engine failure.
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
AC WO1 GREIFE DALE EDWARD KIA
P W1 YORK WILLIAM DAVE
CE SP5 RASH RONALD WAYNE KIA
G E4 WL COX


Accident Summary:

 AS THE LEAD AIRCRAFT 225, PILOTED BY WO1 MACKIE, APPROACHED THE TOWN KNOWN AS EDAP ENANG (TIN CITY), HE NOTICED THAT THE WEATHER BETWEEN THERE AND DUC CO HAD CLOSED IN. AT THIS POINT, HE DECIDED TO FLY LOW LEVEL UNDER THE WEATHER AND RADIOED HIS INTENTIONS TO THE OTHER TWO AIRCRAFT. WO1 DUNNING, PILOTING THE SECOND AIRCRAFT 217, UNDERSTOOD WO1 MACKIE TO SAY THAT THE WEATHER WAS TOO BAD TO CONTINUE, TURNED 180 DEGREES AND HEADED BACK FOR CAMP HOLLOWAY. AT THIS POINT, HE SAW AIRCRAFT 409 PASSING UNDERNEATH HIM HEADING IN A WESTERLY DIRECTION TOWARDS DUC CO. HE CONTACTED 409 AND LEARNED THAT THE LEAD AIRCRAFT WAS CONTINUING TO DUC CO AT LOW LEVEL. HE TURNED ANOTHER 180 DEGREES AND DESCENDED TO A LOW LEVEL ALTITUDE TRAILING AIRCRAFT 409. WO1 GREIFE MADE SEVERAL RIGHT AND LEFT TURNS DURING THE COURSE OF THE LOW LEVEL FLIGHT, AND IT WAS NOTICED THAT THE AIRCRAFT HAD UNUSUAL LATERAL VIBRATIONS WHENEVER IT WAS PLACED IN A STEEP LEFT BANK. AS THE AIRCRAFT APPROACHED THE RIDGELINE TWO KILOMETERS NORTHWEST OF EDAP ENANG, WO1 GREIFE MANUEVERED THE AIRCRAFT IN A STEEP BANK TO AVOID TREES ON THE RIGHT. WHILE IN THE LEFT BANK, THE LATERAL VIBRATIONS BECAME SEVERE AND VIOLENT. AT THIS POINT, THE AIRCRAFT EXPERIENCED A HARD LEFT YAW AND THE AIRCRAFT NEARLY BECAME INVERTED. THE AC DECREASED COLLECTIVE PITCH, APPLIED HARD RIGHT PEDAL AND RIGHT CYCLIC, AND THE AIRCRAFT RIGHTED ITSELF ON APPROXIMATELY THE SAME HEADING AS BEFORE THE AIRCRAFT WENT INTO THE LEFT BANK. AT THIS POINT, IT WAS NOTICED THAT THE TACHOMETER INDICATED ABOUT 4200 ENGINE RPM OR 210 ROTOR RPM, BUT IT IS NOT CERTAIN WHETHER OR NOT THE MEEDLES WERE JOINED. IMMEDIATELY THE AC BEGAN TO FLARE IN AN ATTEMPT TO BUILD ROTOR RPM, AND TO TRY TO SLOW THE AIRSPEED. ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY, DUE TO THE LOW HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND, HE BEGAN TO PULL PITCH TO TRY TO CUSHION HIS LANDING. ALL THIS WAS TO LITTLE AVAIL, AS THE ROTOR RPM DID NOT BUILD APPRECIABLY, AND THE AIRCRAFT TOUCHED DOWN AT 60 KNOTS OF FORWARD AIRSPEED. AIRCRAFT TOUCHED DOWN IN A SLIGHT RIGHT CRAB ATTITUDE, SIMULTANEOUSLY STRIKING A TREE TO THE RIGHT WITH THE MAIN ROTOR BLADE. THE BLADE STRIKE, COUPLED WITH THE FORWARD VELOCITY OF THE AIRCRAFT, CAUSED THE AIRCRAFT TO YAW RIGHT AND ROLL LEFT. AT THIS POINT, IT CONTACTED A SECOND TREE, WHICH PENETRATED THE AIRACRAFT FROM THE LEFT FRONT CENTER. THE AIRCRAFT CAME TO REST ON ITS LEFT AND BOTTOM SIDES, FACING TO THE NORTHWEST. THE MAIN ROTOR BLADE ON THE RIGHT SIDE WAS BENT MIDWAY IN ITS LENGTH NEARLY AT RIGHT ANGLE AND RESTING AGAINST THE TREE IT STRUCK. THE MAIN ROTOR BLADE ON THE RIGHT SIDE WAS SLIGHTLY DAMAGED WITH SEVERAL STREAK OF GASHES AND THE LEADING EDGE HAD NO VISIBLE DAMAGE. THE SECOND TREE PENETRATED TO THE REAR OF THE COCKPIT AREA, WAS STOPPED BY THE FORWARD SKID CROSS TUBE, AND PINNED THE AC TO THE ROOF KILLING HIM INSTANTLY. THE MOMENTUM CAUSED THE TAIL BOOM TO BEND MIDWAY FROM ITS LENGTH, AT AN ANGLE OF APPROXIMATELY 35 TO 40 DEGREES TO THE LEFT OF CENTER. THE TRANSMISSION CANTED SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT AND THE REAR END OF THE ENGINE PIVOTED TO THE LEFT CAUSING THE SHORT SHAFT TO BE SEPARATED FROM THE TRANSMISSION. THE CREWCHIEF WAS THROWN FORWARD AND TO THE LEFT, OUT OF THE AIRCRAFT. IT IS NOT KNOWN IF HE HAD HIS SEAT BELT ON OR NOT, BUT PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN CRUSHED UNDER THE AIRCRAFT IF HE HAD BEEN STRAPPED IN. HE SUFFERED MULTIPLE INTERNAL INJURIES AND DIED WITHIN A FEW MINUTES AFTER THE CRASH. THE DOORGUNNER SUFFERED A FRACTURED BACK AND FACIAL LACERATIONS, ALTHOUGH HE WAS ABLE TO WALK OUT TO A CLEARING WITH THE PILOT. THE PILOT ESCAPED SERIOUS INJURY, EXCEPT FOR MINOR CUTS, BRUISES AND SPRAIN RIGHT ANKLE. THE ENGINE WAS STILL RUNNING AND STRONG ODOR OF JP-4 FUEL. HE GOT OUT OF THE WRECKAGE AND SHOT AT THE ENGINE TO STOP IT FROM RUNNING WITH HIS .38 PISTOL AND WITH A 09MM SWEDISH K SUBMACHINEGUN HE FOUND ALONG SIDE THE AIRCRAFT. ACCIDENT. WHEN THE LEAD AIRCRAFT GOT TO ABOUT FIVE OR SIX MILES WEST OF EDAP ENANG, HE DECIDED THE WEATHER WAS TOO BAD TO CONTINUE AND TURNED AROUND. HE RADIOED THIS TO THE THIRD AIRCRAFT AND WAS UNABLE TO RAISE 409. HE ASSUMED THAT 409 WAS POSSIBLY OUT OF LINE OF SIGHT COMMUNICATION CAPABILITIES AND EITHER HAD FOUND A WAY THROUGH THE WEATHER TO DUC CO OR RETURNED TO CAMP HOLLOWAY. NEITHER 22K NOR 217 EVER REGAINED RADIO CONTACT WITH 409 AND AIRCRAFT 409 HAD BEEN UNABLE TO MAKE AN EMERGENCY RADIO CALL BEFORE IT CRASHED.\\


War Story:
Our UH-1H did not hit a tree while going low level. Our UH-1H experienced a broken transmission strap while avoiding hostile fire. We also lost power moments laters. I believe it was an engine failure. WO1 Greife managed to recover control and attempted to autorotate into an opening in the jungle below. There was not enough airspeed and altitude available to complete the maneuver to reach the cleared area. We struck the trees at a nose low attitude after a valiant attempt by WO1 Greife to trade airspeed, altitude and rotor RPM for glide distance. We came up about 200 feet short of clearing the last tree line. WO1 Greife and SP5 Rash died on impact. The gunner and I were rescued by a CW2 Sottile several horus later. We were flown to the 77th Evac Hospital at Pleiku. I do not know what happend to the gunner. I was off flight duty for 2 1/2 months but remained in country. I returned to flight duty and completed my tour. Submitted by Dave York, 7 September 1999.

This record was last updated on 08/16/2000


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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