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Last updated: 23 October 2020
Status:
Date:Sunday 18 May 1969
Time:13:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic C130 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Lockheed KC-130F Hercules
Operator:United States Marine Corps
Registration: 149814
C/n / msn: 3723
First flight: 1962
Crew:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
Total:Fatalities: 6 / Occupants: 6
Collision casualties:Fatalities: 2
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Aircraft fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:off Phu Bai (   Vietnam)
Phase: En route (ENR)
Nature:Military
Departure airport:Da Nang Airport (DAD/VVDN), Vietnam
Destination airport:Da Nang Airport (DAD/VVDN), Vietnam
Narrative:
At 12:05 on 18 May 1969 the Marine Corps KC-130F tanker departed Da Nang Air Base on a routine operational tanker mission. The aircraft continued to the Hue Phu Bai Area for the in-flight refueling mission. The tanker had departed its assigned track by and was proceeding toward the ocean before turning southeast to Da Nang. The KC-130F proceeded southbound for the Hue Phu Bai airfield area while refueling two US Marine Corps McDonnell F-4B Phantom fighter aircraft (152270 and 151450). All three aircraft were descending in a "tobogganing" maneuver while heading southbound in the vicinity of the South Vietnam Coastline.
At the same time a separate USMC F-4B Phantom (151001) was heading in a generally westbound direction toward the Hue Phu Bai military area.
The two aircraft approached each other nearly head on with a closing rate of approximately 700 knots true air speed. The initial impact by the F-4B was in the vicinity of the number four engine and the starboard refueling pod on the KC-130F. The radome on the F-4B cleared the propeller on the number four engine as the cockpit initially impacted with it.
The single F-4B crashed and the pilot and RIO died instantly. The KC-130F crashed into the sea. One of the refueling F-4B's was severely damaged from the initial crash debris. Phantom 151450 plugged into the starboard drogue, was sprayed with fuel and apparently ingested an undetermined amount of debris into both engines. The F-4B aircraft flipped uncontrollably to an inverted position while the drogue and a portion of the hose remained attached to the aircraft. Its engines could not sustain power and the fighter crashed at sea. Both crew members successfully ejected and were recovered. The second refueling F-4B fighter, 152270 was plugged into the port refueling drogue and sustained limited damage in the form of two small holes in the port aileron and a 1/2 inch hole in the starboard wingtip. The pilot observed the spinning tanker, and when it was apparent he could render no further assistance returned to Chu Lai Air Base without further incident.

Classification:
Mid air collision
Loss of control

Sources:
» The Marine Air Transporter (Late Summer 2004)


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This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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