CYCLIC CLIMBS AND AIRBURSTS ©

 

While working the Vi Tanh area of the Delta on a routine C&L mission, we were assigned to take some Advisors to a little outpost just south and east of Vi Tanh, we were advised to make a drop off, leave and then return at 1400 to pick these guys up.  Do not shut down at the outpost as they get mortared every time an aircraft is seen sitting in the compound (we were to land inside the wire). 

All was going according to plan, made a high speed, high rate of descent approach, landed, pax out, pull pitch.  We just got stabilized in our climb, 60kts, 1500 fpm, when across the nose appears four small black clouds, WTFO?  It took a second to realize that they were airbursts, not having seen or heard of them before, we were momentarily confused.  Upon realization as to what they were, I did an immediate right turn, bottomed pitch and dropped the nose, diving for the ground!  Made a 180 degree descending turn, pulled out at about 20 ft, redlined everything going away from the "airbursts" (showing them my ass), after running low level, very fast for about five miles, I initiated a hard cyclic climb to about 5K altitude, leveled off and turned for Vi Tanh.  Noticed a substantial 1 to 1 vertical vibration in the aircraft, so I asked my CP. (Barry Billman) to take the aircraft (I thought it might be me, since I was quite shaken at this point), the vibration was still there!  We slowed to 60kts so we could at least read the instruments and talked about putting the aircraft down, but elected to continue to Vi Tanh (about 15 minutes away at this point), made Vi Tanh reported to the TOC what we had experienced and requested maintenance from Soc Trang to come out and check the AC. 

It turns out that we had cracked some transmission mounts and only had one good one left.  I guess I over stressed the AC during my violent maneuvers.  As to the gun, our armed platoon escorted another slick into the outpost to evacuate the folks we took in, but never received any fire, nor could they locate the gun.  Of course we accused of seeing things,
but Barry and I knew what we had witnessed and kept to our story! 

Yes, Huey's will do cyclic climbs very well, and yes there were airbursts in the Delta....


Jerry Turner
114th AML
White Knight
Vinh Long RVN
1965
A Co. 101st. Avn. Bn.
Warrior 25
Soc Trang RVN
1965-66

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