Negligence to Blame for Helicopter Window that Crashed into Okinawa School Playground

The Marines are lucky this window did not hit a kid at the school.  Could you imagine the protests that would have happened if some kid at the school was killed by this window?  Fortunately no one was injured by this negligence:

This image from an NHK broadcast shows a window from a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter after it fell onto an elementary school sports field near Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017.

The Marine Corps says human error caused a helicopter window to fall onto the grounds of a crowded elementary school last week on Okinawa.

The incident occurred Wednesday morning when a CH-53E Super Stallion’s window inexplicably became separated from the aircraft and landed on Futenma Daini Elementary School’s sports field, which is adjacent to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma’s fence line. More than 50 schoolchildren were playing at the time, and one boy was slightly injured from a pebble that flew up during impact.

The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing has completed a “thorough” investigation into the incident and determined it was caused by human error, officials said a statement released Monday evening.

The window, which was not properly secured before takeoff, was designed to be removed so that the crew can evacuate during an emergency, the statement said.

Marine officials said they have conducted additional training for both air and maintenance crews to reinforce proper procedures. Also, all CH-53E aircraft have been thoroughly inspected and checked for mechanical or structural issues with the windows.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link, but really this incident should serve as an example of why the Marines are trying to move Futenma to the northern part of Okinawa away from the major population center of the island.

Picture of the Day: ROK Army Conducts First Ever Hellfire Missile Live Fire

Army conducts 1st live-fire drill with Hellfire missiles

In this photo released by the Army, an Apache attack helicopter launches a Hellfire air-to-surface missile toward the Jik Islet bombing range off Gunsan on South Korea’s western coast on Nov. 13, as the South Korean Army carries out its first live-fire exercise involving the firing of Hellfire air-to-surface missiles in a bid to beef up its capability to fight in the air. (Yonhap)

Apache Helicopters Coming to Korea to Replace Retired Kiowas

The deployment of the Apache helicopters is supposed to be complete by October this year:

U.S. Forces Korea will deploy 24 Apache helicopters to South Korea as the allied forces face a growing threat from the North.

But the battalion will be temporarily split between two bases because a new parking apron hasn’t been completed, the military said Monday.

The scheduled rotational deployment of the AH-64D attack helicopters next month will replace 30 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, which are being retired.

Sixteen of the Apaches will be temporarily stationed at Suwon Air Base until a new parking apron is completed at Camp Humphreys, which will eventually house the bulk of U.S. forces as part of a long-delayed relocation from Seoul and bases to the north. The other eight will be at Camp Humphreys, according to the USFK public affairs office.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

One Body Recovered, Two Still Missing from ROK Navy Helicopter Crash

Condolences to all the friends and family members impacted by this training accident:

South Korea’s Navy said Tuesday that it had found the body of one of three crew members who were aboard a chopper that crashed into the sea off the country’s east coast a day earlier.

At around 6 p.m., the Navy found the body some 1,030 meters under the sea during its search operation that used a remotely operated underwater vehicle.

The body was confirmed to be the Lynx antisubmarine helicopter’s main pilot, identified only by his surname Kim. Along with Kim, a secondary pilot and a naval non-commissioned officer were aboard the crashed aircraft.

“Lieutenant Kim’s body was found just outside the helicopter, and we are trying now to find the rest of the missing crew,” a Navy official said, declining to be named.

The Navy also said it retrieved parts of the helicopter.

The helicopter sent out a distress signal and disappeared from radar eight minutes after it took off from an Aegis destroyer at 8:57 p.m. for a joint military drill between the South Korean and U.S. navies, a spokesman said in a briefing.  [Yonhap]

You can read more at the link.

Two Apache Helicopters Crash Into Each Other at Camp Humphreys

Hopefully everyone recovers from their injuries with no serious issues:

Two Apache helicopters collided Friday at Camp Humphreys, injuring four U.S. soldiers, a spokesman said.

The AH-64 helicopters were getting ready to take off when the collision occurred at the base south of Seoul, said Lt. Col. Richard Hyde, the 2nd Infantry Division spokesman.

The four soldiers were taken to nearby hospitals with minor injuries, but all have been released, he said Sunday.

The military did not give a cause, saying an investigation is under way. [Stars & Stripes]

You can read more at the link.

Picture of the Day: ROK Army Apache Helicopter

New Apache copter for S. Korean Army

This photo released by the Defense Acquisition Procurement Administration (DAPA) on May 26, 2016, shows an AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopter parked on the tarmac at an undisclosed Army base on May 26, 2016. The DAPA delivered four AH-64Es to the South Korean Army, the first batch of 36 AH-64Es it plans to introduce in a US$1.6 billion deal. (Yonhap)

ROK Military’s Surion Helicopters Investigated for Cracking Problems

Hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a major safety issue with the ROK militaries Surion helicopters:

The South Korean military opened an investigation into the indigenously developed military helicopter Surion after some of the fleet had cracked windshields and other cracking problems, the defense procurement agency said Monday.

“Some of the (locally operational) 40 or so Surions have shown problems on their airframes,” Kim Si-cheol, spokesman at the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), said in a press briefing earlier in the day.

Currently, the DAPA is consulting the chopper’s producer, Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd. and other defense procurement bodies on how to resolve the issue, Kim said.

According to DAPA officials, the investigation has shown so far that four Surion choppers had cracks developed in the vibration absorption devices in the left part of their airframes and some other choppers had cracked windshields.  [Korea Herald]

You can read more at the link.

US Helicopter Crews Practice High Rise Apartment Rescues In South Korea

This is actually pretty applicable training these helicopter crews are doing that could be used not only in wartime, but during disaster response missions as well:

If war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, it could be waged in and around thousands of high-rise apartment blocks that fill valleys south of the Demilitarized Zone.

Aware of the challenging environment, the Army has acquired its own high-rise facility at Rodriguez Live Fire Range — a training area near the DMZ — where troops can hone their urban combat skills.

Medics participating in Foal Eagle exercises, underway this month in South Korea, gathered on the roof of the seven-story building Wednesday to learn how to hoist casualties onto a hovering Black Hawk helicopter.

Buffeted by wind from the aircraft’s rotors, the medics took turns strapping into a yellow “jungle penetrator” — a heavy device designed to be dropped through jungle canopy to troops on the ground — and riding the hoist up to the Black Hawk and back down to the roof.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link.