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The following info is what I have been told by pilots who flew "66" -
Actually, this chopper's career is better known by its Navy bureau number 152711 (during the period following the first two Apollo recoveries, the navy switched to a three number squadron designator - this chopper was repainted with the number 66 for each recovery thereafter for PR reasons - and repainted back again when it finished the recovery mission). This was a Sikorsky built SH-3D Seaking (D meaning Sea & Rescue) which was flown by antisubmarine warfare Helicopter Squadron 4 - the Black Knights -headquartered at Imperial Beach, Cal. Helo "66" was the Prime Recovery Helo for 5 Apollo missions - 8 and 11 with Don Jones as pilot, 10 and 13 with Chuck Smiley as pilot, and 12 with Warren Aut as pilot.
Just about the time of the Apollo 13 recovery mission, HS4 was split into two groups - and sent to Vietnam (they were not used for spacecraft recovery again). During some ASW training off of North Island (San Diego) a few years later, helo "66" developed an inflight instability problem associated with a tail rotor casualty. The pilot tried to effect a safe water landing but just before the sponsons touched down, the Seaking pitched over onto its side and slammed into the water. All the crew escaped, although the co-pilot died two days later from a ruptured spleen suffered in the accident. Helo 66 sank in 220 feet of water a few miles west of the entrance to San Diego Harbor. No efforts have been made to raise her although some divers have reported she is in fairly good shape structurally.
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