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  Location of Apollo recovery helicopter 66? (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Location of Apollo recovery helicopter 66?
cfreeze79
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From: Martinez, CA, USA
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posted 12-19-2000 12:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone out there know the whereabouts of Helicopter 66, the helicopter from the USS Hornet that recovered the Apollo 11 command module? The folks at the USS Hornet Musuem have yet the answer my e-mails.

Richard Jackson
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posted 12-21-2000 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Jackson   Click Here to Email Richard Jackson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received the following from Bob Fish with the USS Hornet Museum:
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.

Aztecdoug
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posted 12-21-2000 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow...

Time to get my scuba tanks back in Hydro, replace the battery in my dive computer and see if I can reverse the effects of my wetsuit shrinking over the past 10 years!

That is really interesting!

cfreeze79
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posted 12-25-2000 12:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So, shall we start a recovery effort? It probably still belongs to the Navy, but do you think they would let us get our hands on it?!

astronut
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posted 12-25-2000 01:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astronut   Click Here to Email astronut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's put together a small fund to pay the expenses for one of you who does dive, then divvy up the recovered parts. Gauges and such would be neat. Clean 'em up and mount 'em in some cool displays.

Who's game?

Call the team the Route 66 Renegades!!

Richard Jackson
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posted 12-25-2000 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Jackson   Click Here to Email Richard Jackson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Let's put together a small fund. I would contribute!

Aztecdoug
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posted 12-25-2000 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hold your checks....

I was being a little silly about diving that deep. While breathing compressed air at 220' is not fatal, anything deeper than 130' is not considered sport diving. (Although I have a few friends that have gone 160'or so on compressed air.)

But, for professional divers it is possible. Consider this too. The Liberty Bell 7 was raised from a little over 16,000' deep. That is 80 times deeper than this helicopter.

I am planning on starting a letter writing campaign to my local Congressman, the Honorable Dana Rohrabacher. Rohrabacher is Chairman of the House of Representatives Science Subcommittee: Space and Aeronautics Committee. I also thought I would also try my two state senators here in California. The Honorable Barbara Boxer and the Honorable Diane Feinstein.

I know it is a long shot but I think this helicopter deserves to be on display with the USS Hornet.

This plan has simply been going around in my head for the past week, but I don't think it will hurt. I might suggest everyone else write their own congressperson and see what we can do.

cfreeze79
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posted 12-25-2000 11:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, first things first... this effort needs to be organized... And a few key considerations are needed...
  1. Recovery of the helicopter...
  2. Restoration of the helicopter...
  3. Spare parts (to aid to the restoration)
  4. Final preservation/restoration of the helicopter, and lastly...
  5. FUNDING!
It being in a known location really helps... The Navy is not that far from there, so perhaps convincing them to use the recovery effort as a training exercise. The Navy has been doing that already with the USS Monitor on the East Coast (according to the Discovery Channel). Who knows?! Maybe we could get the Discovery Channel in as a sponsor (they have equipment and contacts!)?!

Plus, getting support is also key (especially when using public funds). Letter-writing can't hurt... but it's no substitute for action! I say we organize!

Richard Jackson
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posted 01-01-2001 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Jackson   Click Here to Email Richard Jackson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received the following from Bob Fish with the USS Hornet Museum:
The USS Hornet has no plans to raise the chopper. I think it would be a great thing to do assuming old 66 is still in restorable shape, but.....

If it were raised, there is very little chance of the USS Hornet ever getting it! The US Navy retains "ownership" of everything it ever bought until its formally stricken from the Navy asset list. Thus, even a hundred years from now, if someone raises 66, the USN will step in and say "it's ours". At that point, the real fun begins. Every Admiral will want to have 66 displayed at his or her favorite base. Of course, the Smithsonian Institute will step in and say it belongs with them (which is where 66 rightfully belongs). If it ever is stricken, the "official" US Naval Aviation Museum (Buhler) in Pensacola will have right of first claim, with NASA right on its heels.

Only if 66 makes it thru this gauntlet will the USS Hornet get a chance to obtain it. However, there are 4 other aircraft carrier museums who would vie for it (and a 5th may soon be approved for San Diego). Also, there is the Naval Helicopter Historical Society which could certain put in a solid claim as well. 66 is absolutely the most regonizable Navy helicopter that ever flew.

So, unless and until the Navy agrees to "strike" 66 from its asset inventory while it lies on the sandy ocean bottom off San Diego Harbor, no one is likely to try to salvage it, including the USS Hornet Museum.

By the way, if the chopper is ever raised, you won't find a number #66 anywhere although the 5 spacecraft emblems on the side of the nose may still be there! After the Navy went to three numeral designators, B/N 152711 became #740-check out page 23 of the Squadron/Signal Pub 150 which focusses on the H-3 SeaKing choppers! This is a "guaranteed" winning piece of trivia for any cocktail party - even the editors of the magazine didn't pick up on it.

cfreeze79
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posted 01-11-2001 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The best way to bypass all of that is to get Congress to declare it abandoned, and direct its use (i.e. give it to the Hornet). Still, it's a long shot.. but the great things are always worth doing.

cfreeze79
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posted 10-28-2004 01:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Visit this webpage for more information.

Spacepsycho
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posted 10-28-2004 02:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is pretty interesting and I'm wondering if anyone has had any contact with the USN divers who are stationed in San Diego about taking a survey of this helo? I'm sure the USN sent a pair of divers on this helo if for no other reason than to take a look for the accident report.

I've been a PADI divemaster since '86, this dive requires mixed gas to spend any quality time exploring the wreck and I'm wondering what a professional crew would charge to raise it. It can't be that much considering it's fairly light compared to most aircraft and the rigging required to raise it would be a few straps connected to cables.

If my memory serves me right, ANYTHING under 30ft that is not connected to a buoy or float, is considered Free Salvage. If the USN has made no attempt to raise this helo, then they've abandonded it and from what I remember about the law of the sea, they're not entitled to it since it's not a "weapon" that is dangerous to the public.

When diving around San Clemente, there's tons of unexploded ordnance laying on the bottom, since it's used as a target range. Everyone is made aware that ordnance isn't to be touched and exposure has made most of it inert, but still, the USN sends in EOD divers while in training to explode the large intact ordnance that's found in the water.

Does anyone have a GPS location to the wreck? It's a shame to leave such a historic ship that's contributed so much to the space program, to decay when it's fairly easy to retrieve it.

Personally I don't think it's worth the time and effort to restore it back to flying condition, but it would be nice to get the interior and exterior cleaned up for a great display.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 10-28-2004 05:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The dives to Helo 66 are very possible. The 220 foot depth raises some issues and the dives are not easy, but is possible to spend some quality time on the wreck.

As a Northeast Technical Wreck Diver, I and a team of divers dive to those depths and below fairly frequently during the year. We search for and attempt to locate wrecks lost offshore in the New England area. At this point, using fairly simple search techniques, we have been able to find two wrecks that lie in the 130 to 200 foot depths. At those depths, you can find very nice artifacts on virgin wrecks untouched by other divers.

The biggest problem is finding the wreck. The US Navy probably has coordinates, but they won't give them out. We would have to find the accident reports to determine the possible area where Helo 66 went down. Find and ask the local fishermen to see if there are any sites where they catch their nets or find lots of fish.

Then you "mow the lawn" with a depth finder by going back and forth over a broad area around the possible wreck site. Mark possible sites. Anchor on each target site and dive the site.

Now comes the fun part of planning and executing the dives. The dives are possible, but once you go past 200 feet several things start to come into play. Sea state, visibility, bottom time, deco time, gas mixes and protection.

Weather and sea state effect, visibility, bottom and deco times as well as deco stops. You need a series of clear, calm days with seas of 3 feet or less. Heavy stormy seas over time cause you to run into bad visibility on top of the fact that it is pitch black at 220 feet. Deco times and stops are affected, because you have to develop a plan prior to diving that takes into account the length of time you spend in decompression as well as the depth of your stops. Hanging for 21 minutes at a 10 foot depth is not only uncomfortable, but dangerous in rough seas. Plus if the weather turns bad while you are on the bottom, then you have to decide between getting fatally bent or loosing the boat (i.e. sinking). Not an appetizing choice either way.

If the weather cooperates, then you do the dives based upon your plan. The dives will involve a gas mix called Trimix (Oxygen, Nitrogen and Helium). Helium's low narcotic effect allows you to maintain a clear head at depth. The drawback is the decompression is longer and must be done with precision. Missing stops on Helium can get you bent fast. Helium is a light gas and it can form bubbles in your joints or bloodstream faster than Nitrogen.

At a depth of 220 feet, a mix of approximately 15% oxygen/50% Helium with the other 35% being Nitrogen. Since compressed air which is comprised of 21% Oxygen becomes toxic at 218 feet, we reduce the level of oxygen to 15%, so we can breath at depths below 218 feet and above 250 feet.

Due to Helium and reduced levels of oxygen, we don't use Trimix as a deco gas. We use accelerated deco tables based on the enriched oxygen mixes that we carry in two or three deco tanks carried along during the dive.

The bottom time is a factor and to give you an example. A dive to 220 feet with a bottom time of 17 minutes will result in a total dive run time of approximately 90 minutes. The bottom time includes the descent from the surface. If you accelerate your descent, then your descent time could be 2.5 minutes. You now have 14.5 minutes on the bottom. You can accomplish a lot in 10 minutes, but you need to know exactly where you are going, so the first dives are reconnoiter dives to find good artifacts to remove from the wreck. This post is a bit simplified, but it covers the major points.

So as you can see it would take many dives, but artifacts can be salvaged for future display. I won't get into the problem of bringing steel artifacts to the surface and restoring them. It is difficult, but can be done. The other problem is that the US Navy does maintain rights to all sunken Navy vessels, so they can confiscate any found equipment. A lost helicopter may fall under the radar screen.

So who wants to put together the expedition? I can get the salvage divers. We just need a way to get to the site. I get the altimeter.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-28-2004 06:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
So who wants to put together the expedition? I can get the salvage divers. We just need a way to get to the site. I get the altimeter.
How much money are we talking? I could open a donation box on cS for members to fund the expedition, in return for each receiving a share of the bounty (QUESTION: is the helo still technically the property of the Navy?) cS would in return for supporting the expedition own the media rights to the story and visuals. Anyone game?

Larry McGlynn
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posted 10-28-2004 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You know with local tech divers from the area. I know a dive boat in San Diego named the Extremis. I will bet with local divers and that boat, you could pull it off for $25,000 or less.

The average cost of the artifacts would be about $1,200. That's what we charge for some items off the Andrea Doria. It's hard work and if you have a problem at 220 feet, you solve there. There is no option of going to the surface. You might as well be on the Moon.

The Navy is the problem. as I said they retain all rights to any sunken navy ship. Curt Newport had to convince NASA to give up title to Liberty Bell 7 before anybody would recover the capsule. You don't spend money and time, so someone can come in take it from you.

Still it would be interesting to visit the wreck and in good vis, video tape it.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-30-2004 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A group is now being brought together for the purpose of recovering Helicopter 66. Several of us are former members of HS-4, pilots and aircrew.

I'm an old AZ-3, I maintained the log books on the aircraft, and have a vested personal interest in seeing 66 returned to dry land, restored, and placed in an appropriate museum.

Larry, your expertise is exactly what we need to go forward with this effort. Could you, or anyone who cares to help us please come by and take a look at what we are doing?

We're a grass roots effort, but we are serious, determined, and we are going to get this done.

Cecil Stockton
HS-4 1971-1973

FFrench
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posted 10-30-2004 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Amongst other job responsibilities, I host the weekend talks series at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, and also work closely with my cohorts at the neighboring San Diego Aerospace Museum. When your project gets underway, I'd be happy to host your group for a talk at the center, which might help raise local awareness for the effort.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-30-2004 04:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Outstanding Francis! Your offer is most appreciated, and I will take you up on it. If it's alright I will give you my contact information later today and as this thing moves forward, as the plan gels and things are coming into place I would be happy to put together a presentation.

Really, really appreciated, this is exactly what we need.

FFrench
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posted 10-30-2004 04:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sounds good - feel free to E-mail me offlist, keep me in the loop and we can definitely do something. I have a feeling the Aerospace Museum will be really interested in this too - we often work together on talk series plans.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 10-31-2004 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cecil, if Helo 66 is indeed in 220 feet of water, then amateur technical divers can salvage pieces of the wreck for display. You have, in your area, one of the best tech captains around in Jeff Hannigan of the Extremis. I would throw in and join the search in an instant.

Jeff was the best tech Capt. in the New England area before he moved out to San Diego. I have many friends who used his boat and his expertise to find and dive deep wrecks. He may have been able to make enough connections out there to run a good tech charter boat.

Now if you want to attempt to recover the entire wreck, then I would have to suggest that you contact the Navy for professional divers trained in the science of complete recovery. You will need a salvage boat like the USS Grapple for surface support. They may do it free as a training exercise.

Trying to raise the type of money to get a private recovery of the complete going is going to cost six figures. Curt Newport can give you a very accurate idea of how much it would cost as well as how to find and recover Helo 66.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-31-2004 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent advice, thank you. As I passed on to Larry last night, our goal is recovery of the entire aircraft or as much of the airframe as possible in order to restore and display it in the most appropriate location.

An effort such as this is going to face many obstacles, both technical and legal and I am mustering as many resources and information as possible in order to see this done, and done right. Right now that means people, people like you, the people you have mentioned and anyone else here who may wish to be involved in some manner.

As far as funding, that is one of those obstacles I may be able to work on. There are some people I know that I will be approaching, but first I must establish and be able to demonstrate that this is a serious and well planned effort.

If we do succeed in mounting an effort and the assistance of experienced civilian divers is required for survey purposes would you be able to travel out here? And would you mind if I e-mailed you off line in order to obtain contact information for Jeff Hannigan and Curt Newport?

Looking forward to discussing this with you, and thanks again. Very much.

divemaster
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posted 10-31-2004 05:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for divemaster   Click Here to Email divemaster     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has anyone seen any photos or video of the current state of the wreck? 220 ft in a working harbor still makes me shudder. I'm sure that bottom must be pretty churned up.

It would still make one helluva dive, though.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-31-2004 06:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not to my knowledge. What we have are second hand reports, by no means confirmed, that the wreck lies at 220 feet and is in good condition.

We are chasing down that lead. It would be very good news if true.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-31-2004 06:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Also, the wreck is not in a harbor, our best information indicates it lies some 8 miles off the coast of Imperial Beach.

I'm working to better pin down her coordinates, then with the help of a topographic map of the area we should be able to get a better idea of just how far down the wreck may be.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 10-31-2004 07:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We, on the East Coast, have lost touch with Jeff after his wife took a job with a dive manufacturer in San Diego. You would have to ask around at some dive shops in your area. But he was the best out here.

I will check with Curt. You might have an interested party with a lot of knowledge. It will just take money now.

I was hoping it would be in the harbor, because the seastate would be calmer. Once you have been diving in the ship channel in the St. Lawrence Seaway, you get used to large ships passing overhead.

Nothing like 600 foot ore carriers with a 22 foot draft. You can feel the vibration throughout your body, before you hear the sound of the prop. But you are 180 feet down, so you don't worry about it.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-31-2004 08:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Larry McGlynn:
But you are 180 feet down, so you don't worry about it.
You might not be worried about it, but I'd be catatonic, man.

And thanks for the heads up and the help. I'll check around locally, a man of his reputation shouldn't be hard to find.

Larry McGlynn
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posted 10-31-2004 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Larry McGlynn   Click Here to Email Larry McGlynn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cecil, I forgot to say that I would make the trip out for the dives.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-31-2004 10:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excellent! I'm going to count on it. Now all we have to do is nail down the location, find the aircraft, fund a series of survey dives, then convince the Navy to go for it or let us contract to do it.

Piece of cake.

Fortunately it's not unprecedented. There is a similar case from a little over a decade ago that should prove to be a guide to what we can expect and how to proceed.

It's study time. And time to make some connections.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 10-31-2004 10:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anything that either I personally, or collectSPACE can do to help - from raising public awareness to collecting donations to sharing contacts/facilitating connections within the museum community - is yours for the asking.

cecilstockton
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posted 10-31-2004 11:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cecilstockton   Click Here to Email cecilstockton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you very much, Robert. That means a lot.

I can assure you this, there will be some difficult times and we will need all the encouragment we can get, but beyond that this group has already provided invaluable advise and connections.

Anyone here, feel free to contact me at anytime with suggestions, offers of assistance, or simply to touch bases and learn more about this project.

It's my sincerest hope that in a couple of years you all will be able to point to a news article about the recovery of the Apollo helicopter and say you were there when it started.

Aztecdoug
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posted 11-01-2004 12:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aztecdoug   Click Here to Email Aztecdoug     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Wow, this thread is a ghost from the past! At that time, I had a friend who was Navy salvage diver based in San Diego. At the time he mentioned he could have recovered the helo as a training mission.

Unfortunately, he was unable to find any records of it's location. He has since retired and found a simpler life. That is not to say it can't be done. But finding it is the first step.

cfreeze79
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posted 11-01-2004 02:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On the Yahoo group, the mishap report (containing the Navy's record of the location) has been posted in the 'Files'...

The location listed, however, states the depth as 800 fathoms. Not a helpful factor in salvage...

chenry
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posted 01-09-2011 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just wondering if anything was ever found out about this airframe. Man, it would be a real historic bird to preserve.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 01-10-2011 04:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At last, the word "preserve"!

As a former underwater archaeologist (ok, only dealing with 2,500 year old wrecks), I'd prefer to fund a "raise and display" operation than a salvage/plunder op... in my opinion.

chenry
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posted 01-10-2011 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be great to see it raised, and preserved where possible, and restored where it needs it, and displayed in a museum. The parts that can not be saved can be made displays and placed for sale to help fund the restoration of the aircraft.

Spacepsycho
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posted 01-11-2011 01:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacepsycho   Click Here to Email Spacepsycho     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Has the question of ownership of helo 66 been answered? If a private effort to recover the helo is successful, does the USN then step in and say "thanks for recovering our aircraft", then take it for their own museum?

Has the location of 66 been confirmed or is there still a question of where it sunk?

chenry
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posted 01-12-2011 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would think that the National Museum of Naval Aviation should be consulted first. I have a connection at the NMNA, I will try and get some info.

cfreeze79
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Posts: 307
From: Martinez, CA, USA
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 01-17-2011 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cfreeze79   Click Here to Email cfreeze79     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The efforts to locate Helo 66 stalled (no pun intended) after I got a copy of the mishap report, which stated the wreck was fairly in worse shape than originally reported, as well as in much deeper water than initially thought.

The group established via Yahoo also stalled due to some light infighting about the final disposition and location of the helo, and the name of the proposed organization (petty stuff, I know!). So issues of naval ownership were never resolved.

Regardless, the efforts were geared towards preservation and not plunder.

chenry
Member

Posts: 54
From: Zionsville, IN 46077
Registered: Oct 2010

posted 02-09-2011 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chenry   Click Here to Email chenry     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
How bad does it sound?

CurtMR4
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posted 02-11-2011 06:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CurtMR4   Click Here to Email CurtMR4     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have read the posts on the topic of Helo 66 and most of the information is incorrect. Based upon the TACAN position of where this helicopter was lost, it is in about 3,600 feet of water, well beyond diver range. I know this because I have plotted this position using the same navigational software we use for all of our Navy search missions in the San Diego area.

I had actually hoped to do a search for this helicopter while conducting other Navy operations off North Island, which we do on a regular basis. I think we were working from a TATF salvage tug and had on board both a side-scan sonar and ROV capable or doing the job. Unfortunately, the Navy was not willing to donate any time to make a few passes through the area with the towed sonar. I have also had some discussions with Francis French at the San Diego Air and Space Museum on the subject. However, like anything else, it takes money to do such things.

Given the number of SH-60 helicopters we have found and recovered off Coronado, there is no doubt we can find and recover this aircraft. Based upon my previous experience, it is most likely resting inverted on the sea bottom as helicopters always invert due to the weight of the transmission up high. Could it be found and recovered? Definitely, assuming someone is willing to finance the operation.

Not trying to burst anyone's bubble, but I doubt any tech divers have ever been on this particular wreck, as it is far too deep. — Curt Newport


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