Helicopter UH-1H 68-16583


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 68-16583
The Army purchased this helicopter 1269
Total flight hours at this point: 00001625
Date: 12/02/1971
Incident number: 711202071ACD Accident case number: 711202071 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 114 AHC
South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 4 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 515745
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 FOLEY THOMAS HAROLD KIA
AC WO1 HIEBERT JOHN MICHAEL KIA
CE SP4 KEETER MARVIN ROSS KIA
G SP4 WARREN WILLIAM THOMAS JR KIA


Accident Summary:

 ON 2 DEC 71, THE ^114TH AHC^ WAS IN DIRECT COMBAT SUPPORT OF THE ^16TH REGT, 9TH ARVN DIV^. THE ASSAULT PACKAGE CONSISTED OF 4 UH-1H, 2 AH-1G AND 1 UH-1H (COMMAND & CONTROL AIRCRAFT). THE PACKAGE HAD FLOWN APPROXIMATELY 4 HOURS OF COMBAT ASSAULTS THAT MORNING, ENCOUNTERING NO ENEMY FIRE. AFTER LUNCH AND MAINTENANCE BREAK, THE FLIGHT TOOK OFF AT APPROXIMATELY 1220 HRS WITH A FULL LOAD OF FUEL AND TROOPS, AND MADE AN INSERTION. NO ENEMY RESISTANCE WAS ENCOUNTERED. WHILE ENROUTE BACK TO THE PZ, COORDINATES (WR 0799) THE FLIGHT WAS CRUISING 90KNOTS PER HOUR, 1500 FEET AGL ON A NORTHERLY HEADING, USING A STAGGERED TRAIN (LEFT) FORMATION (1-1 1/2 ROTOR DISC SEPERATION) WITH AIRCRAFT ^69-15777^ AND ^68-16583^ IN THE NUMBER 1 AND 2 POSITIONS RESPECTIVELY. THE CREW OF ^69-15777^ WAS ^CPT GILPIN^ (AC), ^1LT MACKENZIE^ (P), ^SP4 CORDLE^ (CE) AND ^PFC RODRIQUEZ^ (G), WHILE ^WO1 FOLEY^ (P), ^WO1 HEIBERT^ (CP), ^SP4 KEETER^ (CE) AND ^SP4 WARREN^ (G) WERE ABOARD AIRCRAFT ^68-16583^. THE LEAD AIRCRAFT, WITH ^1LT MACKENZIE^ AT THE CONTROLS, BEGAN A INTENTIONAL SLIGHT LEFT TURN. SECONDS LATER THE #2 AIRCRAFT, PILOT UNKNOWN, STRUCK THE TAIL BOOM OF THE #1 AIRCRAFT WITH ITS' ADVANCING BLADE SEVERING THE TAIL BOOM AT STATION 435. THE ENTIRE VERTICAL FIN, TAIL ROTOR DRIVE SHAFT, 90 DEGREE GEAR BOX, TAIL ROTOR, AND FIBERGLASS TAIL BOOM SKID COVER FALLING AWAY INSTANTLY. THE MAIN ROTOR AND THE MASK OF ^68-16583^ SEPARATED FROM THE AIRCRAFT AND THE FUSELAGE WENT INVERTED. (WITNESSES WERE UNABLE TO AGREE ON THE MECHANICS OF HOW THE AIRCRAFT WENT INVERTED). A SMALL CLOUD OF UNKNOWN SUBSTANCE WAS SEEN IN THE VICINITY OF THE TRANSMISSION WITH UNIDENTIFIED PARTS FALLING FROM THE AIRCRAFT. IT WAS AT THIS POINT A FIRE STARTED ON ^68-16583^AS IT FELL TO THE EARTH. ALL FOUR CREW MEMBERS WERE ON BOARD WHEN ^68-16583^ IMPACTED INVERTED. THE TIME FROM MID-AIR CONTACT TO EARTH IMPACT WAS JUST SECONDS, AIRCRAFT ^68-16583^ WAS COMPLETELY ENGULFED BY FIRE AS SOON AS IT STRUCK THE EARTH. AIRCRAFT ^68-15777^, HAVING BEEN STRUCK BY THE MAIN ROTOR OF ^68-16583^, PITCHED UP, ROLLED LEFT, AND YAWED LEFT. THE AC, ^CPT GILPIN^, GOT ON THE CONTROLS WITH ^1LT MACKENZIE^ (P) AND CORRECTED THE ATTITUDE, LOWERED THE COLLECTIVE AND BEGAN A SLOW LEFT TURN. EXTREME FEEDBACK ON THE CONTROLS, NECESSITATED THE PILOTS WORKING TOGETHER TO CONTROL THE AIRCRAFT. THE FORCES ENCOUNTERED WERE SIMILAR TO THOSE OF A HYDRAULICS OFF CONDITION. SOMETIME BETWEEN INITIAL CONTACT WITH THE #2 AIRCRAFT, AND THE LAST 500 FEET OF DESCENT THE GUNNER, ^SP4 RODRIQUEZ^, UNKNOWN TO THE PILOTS, UNBLUCKLED HIS SEAT BELT AND MOVED FROM HIS DUTY STATION AT STATION 156 ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE AIRCRAFT, TO THE RIGHT JUMP SEAT AT STATION 85 BECAUSE HE THOUGHT THE TRANSMISSION WOULD TEAR OUT. THE MOVEMENT OF THE GUNNER, 151 LBS, MADE THE NOSE LOW ATTITUDE CAUSED BY THE LOSS OF PART OF THE TAIL BOOM EVEN WORSE. AT APPROXIMATELY 100 FT, THE LOW RPM AUDIO SOUNDED AND THE PILOTS NOTICED THE NEEDLES J,000 RPM. ^1LT MACKENZIE^ ROLLED OFF THE THROTTLE AND BOTH PILOTS ATTEMPTED TO SLOW THEIR FORWARD AIRSPEED USING CYCLIC. THE DECELERATION WAS SUCCESSFUL, BUT EVEN WORKING TOGETHER THE PILOTS WERE NOT ABLE TO PULL ENOUGH COLLECTIVE TO SUFFICIENTLY SLOW THEIR VERTICAL SPEED. AIRCRAFT ^69-15777^ TERMINATED WITH LITTLE OR NO FORWARD AIRSPEED, HIT HARD, BOUNCED, ROLLED AND LANDED ITS' RIGHT SIDE IN APPROXIMATELY 1-1 1/2 FEET OF WATER AND MUD. ^CPT GILPIN^ WAS THE ONLY CREW MEMBER CONSIOUS, AND HE WENT BACK INTO THE CARGO COMPARTMENT AND ASSISTED THE GUNNER AND CREW CHIEF UP TO THE LEFT CARGO EXIT. ^1LT MACKENZIE^ WAS REMOVED THROUGH THE FRONT WINDSHIELD BY CREW MEMBERS OF THE #4 AIRCRAFT, WHICH ACCORDING TO UNIT SOP HAD LANDED TO RESCUE THE CREWS. ATTEMPTS WERE THEN MADE TO SHUT DOWN THE STILL RUNNING ENGINE OF ^69-15777^.\\

This record was last updated on 05/25/1998


Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

Please send additions or corrections to: The VHPA Webmaster Gary Roush.

KIA statistics

Return to the KIA name list

Return to the KIA panel date index

Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017


Copyright © 1998 - 2017 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association