|Crash of 62-4170 - 1|
|In the February/March 1967 time frame, we were
still operating from the 3000 foot dirt runway, the PSP parking ramp,
and maintenance tents in Ellisville. One day this C-7A aircraft loaded
with Army combat troops made a wheels-up landing. The left wing and
the left landing gear were on fire. As the Army troops rushed out the
rear, weapons looking ready to fire, they were met by tens of Air Force
maintenance troops armed with cameras. Admitting they had never heard
of Phu Cat, they appeared as shocked to see us as we did to see them.
I have no background on where the aircraft was headed when it picked
up ground fire; perhaps someone can fill in the blanks.
This update is provided by Pat Howe, who was a pilot with the 92nd Aviation Squadron and the 459th TCS at Phu Cat.
The Caribou crash of 62-4170 was flown by Lt. Phil Jach and Major Robert Dubberly. They were enroute from Pleiku to Qui Nhon if my memory is correct. The photo says that they were struck by ground fire, but I remember only that they were at cruise altitude which would have been about 1500 feet above the ground at approximately the pass between An Khe and Phu Cat when the left engine caught on fire and the propeller would not feather. That is not a good situation for the underperforming Caribou on one engine. What is not shown on the photos is the hill immediately off the end of the runway. They were not able to maintain altitude on one engine with the windmilling propeller and flew the airplane in ground effect at very low altitude over the hill and put the aircraft on the runway and did not have altitude to put the gear down.Lt. Jach was in the process of building time until he could get the required 1000 hours to check out as aircraft commander. No was injured in the crash.