UH-1F Eglin AFB 1966   UH-1F DMAFB, AZ 1967   UH-1F Malmstrom AFB 1967   UH-1F Eglin AFB 1969   UH-1F Edwards AFB 1971   UH-1F Ellisworth AFB 1971   UH-1N FT. Bragg 1973   HH-1H Hill AFB 1974   UH-1F F.E. Warren 1975   UH-1F Ellsworth AFB 1982   UH-1F Whiteman AFB 1982   UH-1N Bahamas 1984   UH-1 Ellsworth AFB 1986   UH-1N Edwards-Jan-1991   UH-1N Edwards-Oct-1991   UH-1N Kirtland AFB 1996   UH-1N 1998   UH-1N F.E. Warren AFB 1999   UH-1N Kirtland AFB 2002   TH-lH Ft. Rucker 2009   UH-1N Malmstrom AFB 2010   UH-1N Kirtland AFB 2011   UH-1N Minot AFB 2013   CH-3C Malmstrom AFB 1965   CH-3C Sheppard AFB Mar. 1967   CH-3 Sheppard AFB Nov. 1967   CH-3E Midair in Laos 1970   HH-3E Korea 1973   HH-3E Elmendorf AFB 1974   HH-3E Iceland 1979   CH-3E Patrick AFB, 1984   HH-3E Osan 1984   HH-3E 29-Palms 1988   HH-3E Kadena 1989   CH-3E DMAFB 1989   H-5G Ladd AFB 1951   H-5H Maxwell AFB 1953   H-5 New York 1958   H-13G Niagara Falls 1955   H-13 Bryan AFB, TX 1957   H-19A San Marcos 1952   H-19A O'Neill, NB. 1953   H-19B Alexandria, LA. 1954   H-19B Austria 1954   H-19B France 1954   H-19B Korea 1954   H-19B March AFB 1954   H-19B Rhine Main AB 1955   H-19B Eglin AFB 1955   H-19 Skaneateles Lake, NY 1956   H-19 Ashiya Japan 1957   H-19 Edwards AFB 1957   H-19 Niagra Falls 1959   H-19 Sheppard   H-19B Loring AFB 1960   H-19 Beal AFB 1963   H-19 Larson AFB 1963   H-19 Saigon, RVN 1964   YH-21 Thule AB 1953   H-21 Goose Bay 1954   H-21A San Marcos TX 1955   H-21B Tennesse 1955   H-21 San Diego, CA 1956   H-21 Alaska 1957   H-21 Goose Bay 1958.   SH-21 Greenland 1958   H-21 Elmendorf AFB 1958   H-21 Dugway Proving Grnd. 1958   H-21 Goose Bay 1959   H-21 Greenland 1959   CH-21B Otis AFB 1959   H-21 Indian Springs AAF 1961   H-21 Luke AFB 1961   H-23B Moody AFB 1953   H-43A James Connally AFB 1959   H-43B Loring AFB 1961   H-43B Westover AFB 1961   HH-43B MacDill AFB, FL 1964   HH-43B Stead AFB 1965   HH-43B Clark AB, PI 1966   H-43 Sheppard AFC, TX 1966   HH-43B Phan Rang 1968   HH-43B MacDill AFB 1969   HH-43B Hill AFB 1973   HH-53C Eglin AFB 1969   CH-53C Germany 1975   CH-53C Germany 1976   HH-53C Woodbridge 1977   HH-53C Kadena AB 1979   HH-53B Kirtland AFB 1981   HH-53C Kirtland AFB 1982   MH-53 Philippines 1984   CH-53C Pope AFB 1984   HH-53C Hickam AFB, HI 1985   HH-53C Hill AFB 1986   HH-53H Nellis AFB 1986   MH-53J Korea 1995   HH-53B Vance AFB 1996   HH-53B Cherry Point 1998   MH-53J Ft. Bragg 1999   MH-53M RAF Mildenhall 2000   MH-53 Durango CO 2002   MH-53M USNS Kanawha 2002   MH-53M Afghanistan 2003   MH-53M FOL Hurlburt Fld 2003   MH-53M Kuwait 2003   MH-53M Hurlburt Fld. 2007   UH-60A Pope AFB 1987   HH-60G New York 1991   MH-60G Antigua 1991   HH-60G Great Salt Lake 1992   HH-60G Davis-Monthan AFB 1994   HH-60G Korea 1994   HH-60G Indian Springs 1998   HH-60G Al Jabar AB 1999   HH-60G Avon Park 2001   HH-60G Mt. Hood 2002   HH-60G Afghanistan 2002   HH-60G Afghanistan 2003   HH-60G Afghanistan 2004   HH-60G Angel Fire, NM 2005   HH-60G Kandahar 2007   HH-60G Afghanistan 2009   HH-60G Okinawa 2013   HH-60G Lakenheath 2014   HH-60G Lakenheath 2014 1   HH-60G Lakenheath 2014 2   Ellsworth AFB 1955   Hawaii crash 1963   Patuxent River NAS 1960   Randolph AFB 1957   Spokane River, WA 1959   Tyndall AFB 1961   Wright-Patterson 1956   Spokane River 1972  

HH-60G, S/N 97-26779




12 AUGUST 2002

On 12 August 2002, an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter, S/N 97-26779, performed an unplanned landing and rolled over to its left side shortly after takeoff in a mountainous region of southeast Afghanistan. The HH-60G, permanently assigned to the 41st Rescue Squadron, 347th Rescue Wing, Moody AFB, Georgia, was temporarily assigned to the 41st Expeditionary Rescue Squadron, 416th Air Expeditionary Group, and was deployed in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. All crewmembers safely egressed the helicopter with only minor injuries. The helicopter sustained and estimated $2,833,141 in post impact damage to the rotor blades, engines, transmissions and tail section. There was no damage to civilian property or injuries to persons on the ground.


The two-ship formation had flown over 250 miles in the preceding three hours to MAEDEVC two victims of a convoy ambush. They had successfully completed their life-saving mission under very challenging circumstances, safely delivering the patients for treatment. After approximately one hour on the ground at a remote location, both aircraft took off to return to their alert base. Flight led made an uneventful marginal power takeoff, and the mishap aircraft departed after lead from the same spot, on the same heading. The mishap aircraft's departure was slower than flight lead's, and as a result, the aircraft was engulfed in a dust cloud created from its own rotor wash, reducing external visibility to zero. The pilot attempted to climb above the dust, but got too slow to maintain level flight due to reduced power available in the thin mountain air. Losing altitude, with no ability to climb or see, the aircraft commander elected to set the aircraft back down, but the crew had limited resources for controlling the descent due to a malfunction which left both pilot without their Vertical Symbology Display System (VSDS), the primary instrument for controlling drift in such a situation. The aircraft touched down firmly in a left, rearward drift, rebounded back into the air briefly, then impacted a sand berm while still drifting aft and left. It rolled slowly to the left and came to rest on its left side.


Clear and convincing evidence indicates the primary cause of this mishap was the aircraft commander's less than optimum takeoff technique (which created conditions conductive to creating the dust-out), combined with the aircraft commander's attempt to out climb the dust-out with insufficient power. Also causal, by clear and convincing evidence, was the failure of the VSDS on both sides of the cockpit, which substantial evidence indicates was caused by one of the following: lower than normal electrical power output when the rotor speed decreased upon reaching engine power limits, or an undiagnosed electrical interruption or electrical spike in a component critical to both VSDS displays. Other factors determined by substantial evidence to have contributed to the mishap include a recent change to local terrain at the mishap site (the crew did not know that the field at the end of the takeoff area had been freshly plowed, thereby increasing the likelihood of significant dust due to rotor wash), and both pilots' lack of "hands-on" practice (in either training or operational experience) with the combination of low power margin and dust-out conditions they experienced that night.