Trip Report SH-3A Sea King Helicopter (San Diego -- 210 fsw)

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beldridg

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I promised something new a while back and here it is.

@California Diver, @DiveTucson, and I have done a couple dives on a Sea King helicopter and have positively identified it (95+% confidence) as BuNo 152114 which crashed on Sept 3, 1968.

Making the ID took a lot of time and detective work. In beginning, we thought there was a chance it was the famed Helo 66. We ruled that out mostly after the first dive and then definitively ruled it out after the second.

It is a very cool wreck with a few different debris fields, including: the main rotor, the dipping sonar for anti-submarine warfare, the tail section and tail rotor, and a main landing gear. The whole story of how we finally identified the helo, along with a ton of pictures and history, is posted at:

SH-3A Sea King (San Diego — 210 fsw)

Below is a screenshot of a partial photogrammetry model of the main rotor and dipping sonar and also a picture of Tyler at the main landing gear on our first dive. There are a ton more photos in the post mentioned above.

SH-3A-model.png
sb-helo-cover.jpg


Stay tuned, we've got a couple more surprises in the next few months.
 

azstinger11

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These reports are amazing. The local aircraft wrecks are amazing to me as a prior air force flyer, just need to keep progressing on training to one day dive some of them.
 
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beldridg

beldridg

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Wiki says the position of Helo 66 is known, and very very deep?

Yes, the accident report (which is heavily redacted) lists the coordinates but they are only accurate to the minute on lat/long which leaves a pretty big area. It also indicates that it is 800 fathoms deep.

However, there have been some persistent rumors that it was found 220 feet deep. It could be that somebody else found this Sea King and that started the rumors, but I honestly don't know. I do know there are more Sea Kings in that same general area so it could have also been one of them.

- brett
 
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beldridg

beldridg

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These reports are amazing. The local aircraft wrecks are amazing to me as a prior air force flyer, just need to keep progressing on training to one day dive some of them.

Thanks!

Yes, we have a large number and variety of airplane wrecks here in SoCal. We have some more undiscovered ones that we are working on. :)

You should reach out to @DiveTucson. He is often in SD/LA doing technical training classes on both OC and CCR.

- brett
 

azstinger11

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Thanks!

Yes, we have a large number and variety of airplane wrecks here in SoCal. We have some more undiscovered ones that we are working on. :)

You should reach out to @DiveTucson. He is often in SD/LA doing technical training classes on both OC and CCR.

- brett
Working on it, just time and money haha. He did our ITT with him and we have plans for some more training with him. Hopefully soon, some external factors delaying a bit. I'll just keep diving vicariously through your blog in the mean time lol.
 

coldwaterglutton

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Yes, the accident report (which is heavily redacted) lists the coordinates but they are only accurate to the minute on lat/long which leaves a pretty big area. It also indicates that it is 800 fathoms deep.

However, there have been some persistent rumors that it was found 220 feet deep. It could be that somebody else found this Sea King and that started the rumors, but I honestly don't know. I do know there are more Sea Kings in that same general area so it could have also been one of them.

- brett

Quite the difference between 220 feet at 4,800 feet!!! I wonder what Helo 66 was doing that was so top secret, even today nearly 50 years later?
 
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beldridg

beldridg

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Quite the difference between 220 feet at 4,800 feet!!! I wonder what Helo 66 was doing that was so top secret, even today nearly 50 years later?

I've heard that part of the redaction was about some of the crew names but those have all been released at this point. I'm guessing there were other details that they didn't want to reveal at the time so they redacted them. I don't know that they would care at this point.

At some point, I might file a FOIA request to see if I can get the un-redacted version but right now I have other projects I'm working on. :)

- brett
 
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