Over the years there were most likely numerous incidents of the Fire Supression Kit (FSK) being dropped while the HH-43 was airborne.  Fortunately we are not aware of a dropped FSK resulting in injury to those on the ground or causing any significant damage to anything other than the FSK itself.  There were several reasons for an FSK being dropped.  Some of the most likely were: (1) equipment failure, (2) if the weight load dropped to 30-100 lbs such as during a fast descent, the lift built up beneath the aircraft could result in a "auto" release of the FSK and (3) the one no one wanted to hear "aircrew error".


We have accumulated stories and/pictures of dropped FSKs and posted them on this page.


If I remember correctly we were scrambling for an F-105 with an emergency (one of many) the day we dropped this one.  Was just off the trailer on the go.  Don't remember what went wrong but it screwed up an otherwise good flight.  




While I was at Det 5, 38th ARRS, Udorn 1966-67, we were airborne for a fighter crash on the runway when we dropped an FSK.  One of the pilots was resting his  thumb on the pickle switch and inadvertently released the kit.  Soon after a message was sent out warning of this problem.  (COURTESY OF DAN WOLFE )


Had one come off during a training flight at Eglin in 1971. We were on downwind to make an approach when the cargo hook open light came on. Student had both hands where they were supposed to be - he was flying the 43 and I was in the left seat with my hands well away from the stick or the manual release.We didn't notice any change in control or power when it happened. We inspected the system top to bottom and couldn't come up with a cause other than "stray voltage" which didn't really answer the question as to why the hook opened.


We had a dummy kit at Kirtland in 1964 which we dropped on purpose a time or two. Had almost the same reaction as the one at Eglin. No change in power or flight condition.  (COURTESY OF WALT TURK )

Luckily, mine was a dummy FSK on my first practice run to our firepit at Harmon AFB, Nfld.  As I leveled off at about 500 ft, I re-trimmed the stick.  Wrong! It was the cargo release button! Missed the runway and we had to build a new practice FSK!  And embarrassing as hell!  Maybe that's why I never dropped a real one! 


The pictures that I was looking for were of an inadvertent drop at Kirtland in 1964.  Don't remember who did it, but the aftermath was funny as hell.  It hadn't been dropped far, but enough to bend the base severely.  Over at Special Weapons, they had shops with pros that could make anything, so we didn't report it and had them make us a new one.  Actually better than the original.  A few months later we had Safety inspection from WARC and I'm not going to use names here.  For some crazy reason, we had both FSK's sitting side beside in the same area.  The inspecting Safety Pilot upon looking them over noticed the obvious difference, as the locally made one had larger tubing (Better steel alloy, but much stronger and lighter). Upon declaring that he had caught our cover-up, we asked him which one was the factory one.  He chose the Special Weapons one saying "Its very obvious, this one! Its better made!"  When we proved to him his error, there was no write up!  Always wondered where that FSK went after we de-activated in 1965!  (COURTESY OF JOE BALLINGER )