Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16840
The Army purchased this helicopter 0967
Total flight hours at this point: 00003405
Incident number: 720225101ACD Accident case number: 720225101 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: C/7/17 CAV
The station for this helicopter was An Son in South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: CP066261 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 49PCP066261)
Casualties = 05 DOI . . Number killed in accident = 5 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 3
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. )
Summary: Crashed and burst into flames after experiencing an engine failure at low level while starting a Night Hawk mission over Cam Ranh Bay.
Loss to Inventory
P 1LT FITZGERALD MARK JOSEPH KIA
AC 1LT JOHNSTON DAVID NEAL KIA
CE SP4 JONES ROMAN LEE KIA
G SP4 HALL MARVIN LOUIS KIA
PX SP4 GALBREATH ROBERT GENE KIA
At 1725 local, Night Hawk aircraft #66-16840 took off from Cam Rahn Air Force Base to test the Night Hawk system aboard before being released for that mission. At 1732 local, they requested permission to cross Cam Rahn's southern extension of runway 20. At approximately 1736 the transmission "Engine failure, going down at this time!" was heard from the aircraft. The aircraft was flying north board at approximately 100 feet when a left and right yawing occurred and the aircraft started descending. One witness stated it sounded like the engine was running down. At about 25 to 30 feet AGL it was noted that the main rotor had slowed noticeably and the aircraft was in a 30 degree nose high attitude. The aircraft impacted tail stinger/end of tail boom first, leaving an accurate account in the sand. The aircraft next hit slightly nose low with the right skid breaking at the rear crosstube. At this point on the ground there was a 15 degree slope running right to left. The aircraft still had forward momentum and rotated around the nose about 170 degrees clockwise hitting the ground nose low and breaking the tail boom. As the aircraft settled a main rotor blade hit the uphill side at about the 10 o'clock position pulling the transmission right and forward and rolling the aircraft over onto its right side. At what point the aircraft burst into flames is not clear. However it was between the initial impact and the time it finally came to rest. Witnesses stated that no attempt at escape by the crew was observed. The aircraft did not have a crash worthy fuel system. Initial autopsy reports indicate survivable to partially survivable accident without the fire.
This record was last updated on 04/17/2011
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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023
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