Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Burned Out Sea King

Being an ex-helicopter mech, I found this image quite interesting. The pile shown is what's left of a Sikorsky H-3. But, I have no idea when or where, other than obviously, it's in the South Pacific or Southeast Asia.

The H-3 series served in the Navy from 1961 to 2006, and the tail code, UP, indicates that this aircraft was flown by HC-1 (Helicopter Combat Support Squadron One; you have to admire the subtle humor of giving the Navy's first vertical-lift squadron that particularly descriptive tail code!), aka Fleet Angels, and they operated H-3s from 1970 to 1994. So, sometime in that 24-year period, this ship met with an untimely end.

There are a few things that can be discerned from a close look at the image, however. First, it wasn't running when it burned up...the tail rotor is undamaged, so it wasn't turning. Second, the two blades seen pointing towards the camera are right next to each other, while others aren't. This would tend to indicate that the blades were probably being folded, or unfolded, when the incident happened. And folded is more likely...the engines would still be hot, and leaking liquids could easily have ignited.

But that's all just speculation on my part. If you recognize this pad, or this particular helo, please let me know in the comment block below!

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