PACAF Releases Report on Fatal HH-60 Crash

An accident investigation board report, released Jan. 21, found an HH-60 crashed northeast of Kadena AB, Japan, last August after the pilot made a steep, low-altitude maneuver in an effort to avoid a perceived collision with his wingman. Two HH-60s were flying a pattern to cover pararescue inserted at a training range on Aug. 5, 2013. When the copilot reversed the flight’s figure-eight pattern to correct track, he crossed ahead of the trailing helicopter. The mishap pilot took control and “based on his perception of a potential for a mid-air collision…maneuvered the mission aircraft in a way that resulted in excessive altitude loss,” which the pilot could not recover from, stated lead investigator Brig. Gen. Steven Basham in the report. The pilot applied additional power attempting to avoid hitting the ground, and was able to level and slow the aircraft before impact, according to the report. The flight engineer was killed, three other crew members were injured, and the Pave Hawk’s loss was totaled at $38 million. The pilot’s inexperience flying lead position also was cited as a factor in the accident. (PACAF release)