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HMH-462 (Never ) Not Appropriate!!!!

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  • #16
    Mindoro crash

    Yes a CH53D did crash at Mindoro in 1977. The HAC was my good friend Capt George Gebhardt he was QA officer & we often flew togather on test flights. As I recall there was about 23 Marines killed and 3 or 4 survivers. George & I had prepared a Mssg on the requirement for the 4 degree tail belcrank (needed for added tail authority because of the added SHaft HP of the newer GE engine). Unfortunately that was part or if not all the cause of his crash. He had a load of Marines picked up at the end of the exercise & was than directed to pick up a water buffalo on top of a narrow ridge. Being near his Max capacity the Helio started rotating and he ran out of left pedal. Also he was on the edge of his ground effect and he tried to lower the collective & dive off the ridge but his tail struck the trees and they plunged down the steep cliff and burned. We made a trip to Pensacola after the investgation proved what I had said about the problem & we finally got the 4 degree bell crank (too damn late in my book!!!) Will never forget that investigation and the bitter feeling with the delayed fix !!! SF PM
    Last edited by pm3777; 08-10-2003, 20:07.

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    • #17
      HMH-462 (Never) Not Appropriate!!!!

      Seems to me, George referred to himself as the "Black Stallion" when he was a stud in HMT-204 and later on in HMH-461 (both at New River). John Crapse was his c/p that day, I think. The situation he got into became a very familiary scenario, especially with HST, pick up the team and then a water bull. My experience with it was in the Med, early '75. The only thing that saved me is I bottomed the collective in preparation for the the crash, turns came back, rudder came back, thought I'd bent the tail from the way it recovered...at about 4' AGL after several "spins" I was told later. We initially thought it was a weak engine as we had a high time engine on one side...all the other information and unfortunate stories started thereafter. I also seem to recall (Huge can help me out on this) "too tall" Kenny decided to resign when he learned "they" weren't gonna buy the fix and have it installed. He later got work with Sikorsky but supposedly that was after the fact.

      Hooper

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      • #18
        Lower Collective

        I was there for the investigation. George did lower the collective but his position on a narrow ridge resulted in the tail striking trees & complete loss of the TGB & tail rotor. He was not high enough for several rotations as indicated in your case. In fact he completed only one half of a rotation but was over the side of the ridge & could not settle back to land. I am satisfied that the cause was the lack of left pedal authority coupled with the site configuration. The accident board agreed with the info I gave them. Dont know what TOO Tall did or did not, just that we went to Pensacola & pushed through the 4 degree AFC which didnt help some of the program personnel & their careers.I was acussed of giving a copy of the Accident report to Georges wife, which I didnt, but wished I had. The NIS interviewed me twice wanting to hang someone for the fact I had recieved a copy. I flew with George several times and felt he was an excellent well qualifed HAC. TOO many times all accidents are found to be Pilot error!!! SF Paul Moore

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        • #19
          HMH-462 (Never) Not Appropriate!!!!

          One of the cockpit procedures that came from all that is we would go to max on the speed control levers before a lift...when the system sensed a droop in power, it compensated seeking maximum power, while when the selectors were at 100% as the NATOPS indicated, the fuel sensors only seeked 100% which a few times was not enough to overcome the power draw on the system.

          Can you give me your version of 1/Lt Whipple's ditch in the ocean while returning with a radar crew from one of the outer Okinawan islands? From what I know, this is truly a sad story...for sure the loss of lives, but for the "why" he was trying to complete that mission.

          Hooper

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          • #20
            14 years of accidents

            Hooper, I am not sure ,when was that accident?? On the throttle settings, witness at the Mindoro accident said that the Co-pilot had his hands on the throttles full forward and the left pedal full over. The last accident I remember was the crash in the ocean of a CH53 returning from Atsugi. That was all hands lost I believe it was 17. The other CH53 in formation with this one saw smoke or appearance of possible oil fog from the MGB & the A/C started to descend toward the ocean. Part way down the main rotors stopped. One man was seen holding on to the sponson when it sank. The other CH53 desended but he was gone with the helicopter. It was later raised by the Navy & it was found to be a MGB oil pump failure. The one just before that was when Major Rose our Maintenance Officer crashed into a mountain while deployed to Pohang for "Team Spirit". He was on the bottom of a formation of CH53s when they went IFR & the section leader ordered a 180 to return to base. I believe there was 23 or 27 Marines aboard. I vagely remember something of the Whipple accident, can you give me a date or some info? SF PM

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            • #21
              Hooper, I have one correction to your comment about names. Phil Strickland was the "Black Stallion" in 461. George was always called 'Gabby' so far as I know. I agree with both you and Paul about him. I was the CO of 461 when George was designated HAC. He was an outstounding Marine, officer and pilot, and I was very sad when I read about his accident.

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              • #22
                HMH-462 (Never) Not Appropriate!!!!

                Bill:
                Yes, that makes sense. I believe John Crapse was the C/P (he was a MABster but former CJ pilot before you got there). If you are at the next reunion and I can make it as well, would like to sit down and talk about some of those guys. When I saw you in P'Cola way back when, I was in such awe of all the guys there, all I could do was shake hands and keep from getting weepy eyed. So many things to talk about, probably so little time.

                Gonna retire in July, another reason to get my butt to Reno and celebrate life.

                Hope to see you there and thanks for the reply.

                Hooper

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                • #23
                  The Whipple incident was in late Oct or early Nov 1973. Teh copilot was Lt Shackleford.
                  K.D. Logue

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                  • #24
                    Whipple

                    I remember some about Whipple being ordered to make the pickup after being on another mission where he had reported that he did not know if he had enough fuel for the second leg. Does that fit what any of you remember? After 14 years of events there at MAG-36, some are not clear with me & 8 decades. Semper Fi PM .

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                    • #25
                      I believe you are right paul, The Ops O told him he had to get it done. There was a typhoon comming

                      The darndest thing happened last week. I met a Postal inspector who lives in Oregon that was on the 53 that crashed at Mindoro.

                      He asked me where I was on Oct 17th 1977, I said In the PI. Then he told the story and I was amazed. What a small world. That was a horrible accident. we were out there all night picking up parts of people.

                      K.D.

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                      • #26
                        Small World

                        Man it is a small world. Can you tell what story he told you?? Seems some fell out the rear ramp when the helicopter first struck the trees at the top of the ridge. Know what you probably experienced when on the scene. SF PM

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                        • #27
                          Paul,

                          He said he had is foot caught in the hell hole and his rifle barrell was wedged in there also. He said in the fire he had the presence of mind to disassemble his rifle and hi foot came out. Broken, but out. His back was broken in several places. He says there is another survivor of the accident here in Oregon as well.

                          Incidently the Whipple accident was in 1976, not 73 as I wrote earlier.

                          K.D.

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                          • #28
                            HMH 462 (Never) Not Appropriate!!!!

                            The Whipple accident had to be after August of '76.
                            The sad thing about that accident is that he TRIED TO LAND AT CP HANSEN to top off but it was denied fuel as there was a change of command parade scheduled for the parade field and they didn't want to refill the tire marks the Sea Stallion made in the grass whenever it landed there. "Big Bird" had put the pressure on WHIPPLE to do the mission and he elected to do so. This was well after Mike Hedin/MAJ FLYNN chopped off the top of one Sea Stallion on a test flight ground check and 1/Lt Gale dropped one in the run-up area at Futenma with an apparent hardover while in a hover.
                            What makes the WHIPPLE situation even sadder was that there was knowledge as to how to configure the Sea Stallion (D) to get almost 40 more minutes of flying time in a cross country situation but the two people who knew about it were forbidden by direct order by "Big Bird" to teach it to anyone.

                            Hooper

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                            • #29
                              Major Flynn

                              Still have photos of the "Convertable CH53D" Major Flynn modified. I also remember BIg Bird well; I take credit for giving him that honor. We didnt call him that when he was present. As I recall his claim to fame was on the mining of the harbor at Haiphong ( not a small thing)! SF PM

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