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View Full Version : The Mor's Helicopter Crash -- In Detail



mor911
02-08-2006, 11:36 AM
Well, first I'd like to say this is a true story.

Intro
September 16th, 1999 The Mor was attached to VC8 (Fleet Composite Squadron 8) in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. The Mor was a SAR (Search and Rescue) swimmer in the US Navy. At age 19, The Mor had very little flight time.

On of our primary missions in PR (Puerto Rico) was training the battle groups to get them deployment ready. To do this, the battle group would come to PR and we would take part in an excersise called Comptuex (C2X). IT was pretty much a simulated war between Naval Station Roosevelt Roads and the battle group.

To prepare ships for missle attacks, we would launch guided missles called BQMs at the ships. The ship would then simulate shooting the missle down (by shooting very close to the BQM), and the BQM (also known as a drone) would deploy a parachute and safely land in the ocean.

Sorry for the horrible drawing:
http://www.finheaven.com/clear.gif

Because BQMs cost the military about $.75 million each, they need to re-use them. Our squadron was designated to fly out over the drones, hook them with a 15 ft pole, and fly them back. They would be cleaned, re-fueled, and essentially re-used.

One Bad Situation
It wasn't uncommon for the battle group to accidentally shoot a BQM. On the morning of September 16th, 1999 the BQM launched from base at 0645 as normal. Just 220 yards off shore, it was hit with a round from the carrier. We were deployed to recover it.

We approached the drone like normal, and there was no physical damage visible. It was still floating upright (good sign that there isn't any huge holes in the frame) and everything seemed intact. Just because a drone was shot, it doesn't mean it was severely damaged.

We lowered to a 10ft hover over the BQM, and I successfully hooked it. I called the pilots up as normal, "Easy up 5. Easy up." We came up to 40ft and Beltramo (Crew Cheif at the time) performed a visual, and called the bird safe to fly.

What we couldn't see from the position of the drone was that the round from the carrier grazed the bottm of the BQM opening it's under stomcache. 600 lb weights that simulate the weight of warheads and the insides of a missle fell into the ocean.

We were carrying a missle that was supposed to weigh 900 lbs, and it only weighed 300 lbs (it's a big deal in aviation).

On the back of landed BQMs is a small parachute looking thing called a Drag Shoot. It sits in the back of the drone and catches the passing wind. It's used to keep the missle facing forward while we're flying it back to base.

As we started to go into forward flight, we watched the BQM attentively for signs of problems. The Drag Shoot doesn't usually open till about 60 or so knots. 40 knots, 50 knots... 140 ft, 160 ft. Everything looks fine.

The Moment of Truth
70 knots at 250 ft. The Drag Shoot pops open... There isn't 900 lbs in the drone to keep it stable, so the Drag Shoot catches 70 knots of wind, and the BQM swing back into out tail rotor.

I hear a loud POP! and all 5 tail rotor blades were obliterated as the 300 lb missle flew into it. Our Commander piloting the bird (god bless him, he was an awesome pilot)instanly realizes we lost the tail, and dumped the collective to reserve power. He did this because if you pull up with no tail, you kill everyone.

Our stomaches come up as we lose the deck below us, we're falling at full speed. We try and scramle to our seats, but everything happened so fast. 250ft to the gorund was about 13 seconds. I never got buckled back into my seat. At 30 ft the pilot pulled poer back up to attempt to cushion the drop. We then went into a spin and we drove right into the mangroves just 50 ft away from the ocean.

http://www.finheaven.com/clear.gif

It was the most terrifying feeling I could imagine. It was a situation where I didn't think I was gonna die. I knew it was all over. I knew that this was it, and I was going to die.

I don't remember the exact moment of impact. I remember lifting my head and nobosy was moving. There was smoke everywhere as the #2 engine was damaged really bad. The deck was cracked and the fuel cell was punctured. There was JP5 (Jet fuel) everywhere. Slowly the other guys started to move.

We all survived.

We helped each other climb out of our downed H3, and realized that it happened so fast we naver got a mayday call out. We walked to the beach and some local civilians that saw the accident let us use their cell phone.

This picture was taken by our arial surveilance team the next morning:
http://www.finheaven.com/clear.gif

If I had been sitting 2 ft to my right, I would have been in that crumbled tail. I had 2 weeks off, and went back to flying. In 2003, I seperated honorably from the Navy. I have survived a class A mishap.

Shout-outs go to Lt. Dombrowski, CMD Howard, AD2 Beltramo, AMS2 Douglas, and AD3 The Mor. All 5 team members that survived the wreck.

Because of our accident, all BQM recovery teams mush check the bottom of the missle prior to going into forward flight.

UltraDol-Fan
02-08-2006, 11:44 AM
That's intense. Glad you made it. The world would be at a loss without you!

NaboCane
02-08-2006, 11:45 AM
Facing death makes you look at life very differently afterward, doesn't it?

I'm just glad you made it, and that you didn't lose any of your crewmates either. That's quite a crash scene there man.

King Nate
02-08-2006, 11:46 AM
Holy crap! That's an incredible story, Mor!

Mindwarp
02-08-2006, 11:59 AM
:yes: The Mor pointed out to me in the picture where is was sitting. im suprised he is alive. I would have never thought of droping power for better chance to survive.

GRAPEAPE
02-08-2006, 12:10 PM
That is some scary ****. Great story TheMor.

NaboCane
02-08-2006, 12:17 PM
:yes: The Mor pointed out to me in the picture where is was sitting. im suprised he is alive. I would have never thought of droping power for better chance to survive.

I wouldn't either, but I guess it makes sense; if you juice power while missing the tail rotor, you'd put the craft into an uncontrolled spin.

John Biello
02-08-2006, 12:28 PM
wow

K-train
02-08-2006, 01:10 PM
Did that actually happen?

If it did, wow!!

UltraDol-Fan
02-08-2006, 01:11 PM
Did that actually happen?

If it did, wow!!

You must have missed the intro...

CalDolFan10x14
02-08-2006, 01:20 PM
Amazing stuff. Well, that you all survived anyways. Lucky? Miraculous? Maybe both!

Buddwalk
02-08-2006, 01:28 PM
wow crazy stuff mor, im glad you made it or i would of never gotten the opportunity to meet you :wink:

phins17
02-08-2006, 03:08 PM
Wow

NJFINSFAN1
02-08-2006, 03:18 PM
First the Flying Nun
Now the Flying Mor!

dolphan117
02-08-2006, 03:31 PM
Wow, thanks for the picks Mor. You guys were some fortunate that none of that fuel went up, that would have to be a bad way to go. :( Isnt it kinda odd that it didnt?

Roman529
02-08-2006, 03:43 PM
Glad to hear the Mor made it out in one piece. My dad almost crashed into the water in a plane flying out of Vietnam....it makes you appreciate life when you have had a close call like that. Thanks for serving in the military too.

:troops: :patriot:

Noodle Arm
02-08-2006, 03:48 PM
The Mor is...

http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2006/02/logo-1.jpg

TJamesW_phinfan
02-08-2006, 03:50 PM
I was in a bad crash in a truck where I was off roading lost control and hit a tree. I thought I am dead. Thing is I only had about a second to think that. It never really sank in. Where as you had to feel it all the way down. And not only surviving the fall but that the thing didn't explode with all that fuel about.

Absolutely amazing.

Jt0323
02-08-2006, 03:52 PM
wow, glad everyone made it out out alive

NaboCane
02-08-2006, 03:54 PM
The Mor is...

http://www.hollywoodjesus.com/movie/unbreakable/logo.jpg

:sidelol:

miamikid92
02-08-2006, 04:35 PM
geez i couldn't imagine finheaven/the lounge without the mor

d-day
02-08-2006, 04:49 PM
:eek: - what an incredible story - just make sure you drive and not fly over this friday the mor... :wink:

NJFINSFAN1
02-08-2006, 04:58 PM
:eek: - what an incredible story - just make sure you drive and not fly over this friday the mor... :wink:

Watch out, he may want to crash at your house!:rolleyes2

Mindwarp
02-08-2006, 04:58 PM
/me ponders about warning for bad jokes.

K-train
02-08-2006, 05:10 PM
So I guess this did really happen! Was it on the news?

d-day
02-08-2006, 05:27 PM
Watch out, he may want to crash at your house!:rolleyes2

:chuckle:

darkmistress
02-08-2006, 05:31 PM
:eek: glad you and your mates made it out Mor... it must have been terrifying :eek2:

WharfRat
02-08-2006, 05:44 PM
It was the squirrels....they must have sabotaged the entire operation....


:grapeape:

HansMojo
02-08-2006, 05:46 PM
Unreal man. Glad you made it out alive and the military modified procedure and is now safer because of your experience. The pilot deserves some kind of a medal for bringing you guys down alive.

CharlestonPhan
02-08-2006, 10:15 PM
the thought of a Mor-less Finheaven is not a pleasant one... glads things turned out okay.

i lost a friend in a helicopter crash in the spring of 1988... he went straight into the Army out of high school. two copters crashed into each other on a night training exercise.

mor911
02-08-2006, 10:22 PM
the thought of a Mor-less Finheaven is not a pleasant one... glads things turned out okay.

i lost a friend in a helicopter crash in the spring of 1988... he went straight into the Army out of high school. two copters crashed into each other on a night training exercise.
Sorry to hear about your friend... Aircraft mishaps happen a lot more often than people know in the service.

Thank you everyone for your kind words... The Mor survived, and doesn't plan to go anywhere anytime soon.

:mor911:

wpgfishfan
02-08-2006, 10:29 PM
Amazing story glad you made it out A OK

Celtkin
02-09-2006, 04:22 PM
The probability of being in a plane crash is 1 in 11 million. I think The Mor is safely past having it happen again :up: