Helicopter AH-1G 67-15478


Information on U.S. Army helicopter AH-1G tail number 67-15478
The Army purchased this helicopter 0168
Total flight hours at this point: 00002853
Date: 09/27/1971
Incident number: 710927171ACD Accident case number: 710927171 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: B/7/1 CAV
This was an Operational Loss caused by an accident by Accident with the mission function of Armed Helicopter (having primary weapon subsystems installed and utilized to provide direct fire support)
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: WS584533
Casualties = YES . . Number killed in accident = 1 . . Injured = 1 . . Passengers = 0
Search and rescue operations were Terminated
costing 570633
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center AVDAC database. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory and Helicopter was not recovered

Crew Members:
AC WO1 DALBY WILLIAM S RES
P 1LT RUEPPEL RONALD BENTON KIA


Accident Summary:

 THE PILOT WAS THE LEAD AIRCRAFT OF A FLIGHT OF THREE. AFTER 15 MINUTES OF FLIGHT IT STARTED TO GET DARK AND THE FLIGHT ENTERED A LIGHT RAIN. WO1 DALBY COULD CLEARLY DEFINE A CLOUD BANK AHEAD AND STARTED A DESCENT TO 500 FEET. A SHORT TIME LATER THE CEILING DROPPED TO 200 FEET AND WO1 DALBY HAD LIMITED CONTACT WITH THE GROUND. DURING THIS TIME THE NUMBER TWO AIRCRAFT HAD LOST COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE LEAD AND TRAIL AIRCRAFT. AS LEAD AIRCRAFT EXECUTED A 170 DEGREE TURN TO THE RIGHT THE NUMBER TWO AIRCRAFT APPLIED RIGHT CYCLIC AND ADDED COLLECTIVE PITCH. WO1 DALBY CONTINUED HIS TURN TO THE RIGHT AND BEGAN TO TRACK OUT-BOUND ON 30 FROM VINH LONG. AFTER A SHORT PERIOD THE PILOT COULD SEE THE RIVER TO HIS RIGHT SIDE. AT THIS TIME WO1 DALBY TURNED TOWARD THE RIVER. AS THE AIRCRAFT ROLLED COMPLETELY OUT OF THE TURN THE PILOT NOTED AIRSPEED INDICATION OF 70 KNOTS AND 150 FEET OF ALTITUDE. AFTER A FEW SECONDS THE AIRCRAFT CONTACTED THE FIRST LARGE TREE. AFTER CONTACTING ALL TREES THE AIRCRAFT IMPACTED IN THE WATER IN AN UPRIGHT POSITION AND BEGAN TO SINK IMMEDIATELY. AFTER SEVERAL TRIES TO JETTISON THE CANOPY WO1 DALBY KICKED THE REMAINING PLEXIGLAS OUT AND SWAM TO SHORE. THE PILOT SAID THE CO-PILOT MUST HAVE BEEN UNCONSCIOUS. CO-PILOT'S BODY RECOVERED BY NAVY DIVERS.\\


War Story:
The aircraft lost on 27 Sep of 71 belonged to B/7/1 the Dutchmasters. The description is correct except the flight was one UH-1H, 1 OH-6 and the mentioned AH-1. In the front seat was Ronald Benton Rueppel. He was killed by impact with a tree prior to the aircraft going into the water. The backseat was CW2 Bill Dalby. The aircraft went into the water and turned over about two times in the current. The canopy would not open due to damage sustained in the crash. When the AC gave up and expected to drown the canopy popped open and he exited the aircraft. After escaping the aircraft he floated down the river with the current as Vinh Long the aircraft base was down river. He hid along the bank the following day and again tried to float down the river the next night. He became entangled in a V shaped fish trap and was caught by some of the locals. He was taken to a small shack by some who he presumed to be VC because they were all armed with AK-47s. These men turned out to be RF PFs and facilitated his rescue the next day. I have personally spoken to Bill about this event. From: LTC John R. Palmer (ret) at 70472.1435@compuserve.com Indications are that CPT P. LUCCA was the accident investigation officer.

This record was last updated on 11/16/2006


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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


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