Sealord 6 crashed on takeoff at Binh Thuy on 13 August 70. Story Below.
Sealord 6 aka HH-1K 157856 Crashed On Takeoff At Binh Thuy
The short story of Sealord 6 (157856) is as follows.
On Aug 13, 1970 the pilot was lifting HH-1K 157856 off of a very small landing pad that was adjacent to the Seawolf Flight Ops trailer at Navy Binh Thuy. The small pad was made of the old WWII / Korea type perforated steel plating (PSP) with the small round holes in it. The pad was just a few feet East of the main runway at Navy Binh Thuy and immediately West of the Seawolf Flight Ops trailer, which was just West of the Yellow Seawolf hanger. As the pilot lifted off, one skid became caught in the PSP. The pilot must have made the natural reaction which is to apply full lateral cyclic, but once one skid is about 7 inches above the other, with a fixed hinge point on the lower (caught) skid, the only way to prevent dynamic rollover is to lower the collective. This is because the lateral control margin has become inadequate to recover. Apparently the collective was not lowered, thus the aircraft instantly flipped over, thrashed itself, and ended up on it's side on the runway, minus it's rotor blades.
At the time of the accident I was in my 2nd floor barracks room and heard a very loud "bang". Looking out my door I could see a helicopter blade sticking out of the side of my barracks. I concluded there had been a crash and I ran full-tilt towards the runway and was at the crash site within 1 to 2 minutes maximum and checked out the crew who were all OK. Of course a crowd quickly gathered as maintenance personnel and others poured out of the Seawolf hanger.
The big question is, was this aircraft rebuilt ? My log book shows I flew a 1.6 hour night training flight in 157856 on July 13th, 1971, 11 months to the day after it's dynamic rollover crash. I flew the flight with a Vietnamese pilot named Tiem. So either 157856 had been rebuilt, or, the guy in Flt Ops, making my logbook entries, transposed a digit and the number should have been 157854, 157853 or 157852 rather than 157856. I hope that we can solve this mystery by seeing if any other pilots flew 157856 after it had the rollover incident on 8/13/70.
There was a Sealords hulk left over on the West side of the runway I think almost until the squadron disbanded. Was it 157856 ?, 157857 ?, or 157203 ?