Posted: 2/13/2001 2:10:35 PM EDT
Army Helicopters Crash; Six Dead
The Associated Press
Feb 13 2001 3:08PM
HONOLULU (AP) - Two Army Black Hawk helicopters crashed in a
remote area during a nighttime exercise, killing six soldiers on one of the
aircraft and injuring 11 others.
The aircraft ``somehow came in contact'' with each other, but it was still
unclear whether they collided, Navy Rear Adm. Craig Quigley said
Tuesday in a briefing at the Pentagon.
The pilots of both aircraft were wearing night vision goggles, he said. Light
rain was falling at the time.
The helicopters, carrying a total of 17 people, crashed about 200 yards
apart, said Capt. Stephen Johnson, whose fire company came from the
nearby Sunset Beach station.
Quigley said he had received conflicting reports and was not certain how
the two Black Hawks touched each other. He said it appeared they were
not both in the air at the time, but did not elaborate.
He said all six dead were aboard one helicopter.
The two UH60 helicopters went down late Monday while participating in
an exercise over Kahuku on the island of Oahu, said Maj. Nancy
Makowski, a spokeswoman for the 25th Infantry Division based at
``I heard a big thud,'' said Perry Dane, who lives on Kamehameha
Highway about a mile from the crash site. ``It sounded like thunder. It
shook, too, like a big rattle.''
The accident came just three days after a Navy submarine crashed into a
Japanese fishing trawler off the coast of Oahu, sinking the trawler. Nine
men and boys aboard the Japanese ship were feared lost and 26 others
The helicopters went down in a remote military area accessible only by
four-wheel-drive vehicles, said Mandy Shiraki, district chief of the city
The Black Hawks were among 30 aircraft ferrying nearly 1,000 soldiers
from Wheeler Army Airfield to a base at Kahuku, part of a two-week Army
exercise that started Feb. 5.
The names of the victims were not disclosed pending notification of their
Four of the injured were listed in stable condition Tuesday at Tripler Army
Medical Center. The other seven had been treated and released.
The Black Hawk is the Army's primary helicopter for air assault, air
cavalry and aeromedical evacuations units. Each helicopter can transport
an 11-man squad.
On the Net:
I`m surprised more nighttime accidents aren`t reported.
We should all remind ourselves that freedom is not free. Even doing the training to accomplish certain tasks is dangerous in the military. If this had been a private company/organization the U.S. and state OHSA(Office of Occupation Health & Safety) would have been all over them. This not a game like the recruiting commericials on television.
How can they hit each other if one is sitting on the ground. it doesn't make any sense to me.
Are they saying they hit once the first hawk smashed into the ground?
It makes plenty of sense if you've ever flown a helicopter with NVGs on. Nearly all NVG accidents are pilot error. That's a hard thing to stomach, especially for us pilots, but it's the truth. You make one minor mistake under goggles that would be of no concern in the daylight, and you're dead.
I spent over 6 years flying UH-1H's in the Army. I know nothing about this accident, but I've seen plenty others myself. In all the instances where I almost bought the farm, all of them were at night. In all of the accidents where buddies of mine were killed, all were at night. See a pattern developing here? It is dangerous, and it is neccesary because combat is dangerous. The only thing that makes it less dangerous is more training.
Since I know nothing about the accident, I'll go out on a limb and guess what happened. Since all the dead are on one aricraft, I would guess that one of the hawks landed on the other, or hit it in such a way to have the same result. Usually when all the dead are in one aircraft it's because that one was in a less survivable postion than the other. In midairs where both come down and crash, there's usually dead in both. The Blackhwak's pitch angle on approach is really steep. I mean you flare really nose high when you land. High enough that you can't see in front of you and you have to look out the side window to maintain control of the aircraft. My guess is as the lead touched down, the following aricraft flared and lost visual contact with the lead aricraft and simply landed on top of them. This is only a guess, and in no way backed by any kind of evidence. Sure I shouldn't be guessing, and there are a hundred other ways it could of happened that are just as likely. The above is ment to show just how it could possibly happen. There could have been a mechanical failure, but as I said, generally speaking when there is a collision under goggles, it's pilot error.
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