Carrier 1971
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HS-11 Helicopter Crash photo

HS-11 Helicopter Crash

As remembered by:
Robert Armbrust (former AW2 with HS-11)
and HS-11 ATN2 Gary Exley (former ATN2 with HS-11)

The HS-11 helo was ditched next to the ship. There was no life raft. The crew egressed and swam to the surface. There was no diver there. The whale boat was trying to attach a line and "bumped" the helo and "blurp," down it went. We were standing on the flight deck watching this from same point of view of as shown in the photograph above.

The crash was allegedly caused by a massive hydraulic failure (according to the pilot) but that is somewhat questionable since there was a primary and auxiliary hydraulic system. The craft hit the water on the left/front side.T he pilot had a hard time getting out, because he hit the side of the helo and broke his left arm. This made it difficult for him to jettison his window to egress. The pilot was the last one out, and was the only one hurt seriously. Warren Burgert was one of the crewman, we think the other air crewman was "Wing" Walker.

We believe this helicopter's number was 000, assigned to the HS-11's squadron skipper. However, he was not the helo's pilot when it crashed.

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