2 pilots rescued in chopper shootdown

July 3rd, 2007  

Topic: 2 pilots rescued in chopper shootdown

2 pilots rescued in chopper shootdown

The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Jul 3, 2007 10:04:46 EDT
BAGHDAD Insurgents shot down a U.S. military helicopter south of Baghdad, and the two pilots were rescued with minor injuries, the military said Tuesday.
The OH-58D Kiowa Attack helicopter was brought down by ground fire Monday. After an Apache helicopter rescued the two pilots, a U.S. warplane dropped two 500-pound, laser-guided bombs on the downed craft to destroy it, the military said in a statement.
It gave no further details on the location of the crash and said the incident was under investigation.

July 3rd, 2007  
i think they may have mixed up the chopper types in that story
July 3rd, 2007  
nice job. Saw it on Fox News an hour ago
July 4th, 2007  

Topic: A little follow up

Pilots Shot Down in Iraq Tell of Dramatic Escape

Pilots Shot Down in Iraq Tell of Dramatic Escape
Comrades Rescue Ambushed Officers
By Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 4, 2007; A01

"We're taking fire!" Chief Warrant Officer 2 Steven Cianfrini, 27, yelled to his co-pilot as he looked out the helicopter door and saw tracer rounds flying his way.
It was the first ominous sign Monday morning as their OH-58D Kiowa attack helicopter banked over palm groves, fields and canals on a reconnaissance mission to flush out Sunni insurgents in rural areas south of Baghdad.
It was also the opening salvo of what participants described as a dramatic ordeal of combat and survival, with two Army pilots crash-landing their aircraft, taking cover in neck-high water and reeds in a canal, avoiding insurgent fire, and dashing to a helicopter that lifted them to safety.
Hearing Cianfrini's warning, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark Burrows, 35, banked right to evade bullets from a heavy machine gun that had opened up across a field. Then a second machine gun began firing at them. Burrows turned again, only to face a heavier barrage.
"The whole world just opened up on us, it seemed like," Cianfrini said in a telephone interview from Iraq. "We zigzagged, whatever we could do, to get out of the guns' target line. Then we started taking rounds from behind. That . . . took the aircraft down."
Insurgents attack military helicopters in Iraq about 100 times each month and manage to hit about 17 of the aircraft, using weapons such as heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and shoulder-fired missiles, according to U.S. officials. Since January, at least 10 American helicopters, including two belonging to contractors, have been shot down. Since October 2001, the Army has lost 33 helicopters to hostile fire in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In a new tactic that has downed several U.S. helicopters in recent months, insurgents use guns mounted on trucks to fire at the choppers from multiple directions. The U.S. military has targeted cells conducting such attacks; on May 31, northwest of the Baghdad airport, U.S. attack helicopters spotted and destroyed insurgents in five trucks outfitted with 14.55mm machine guns.
On Monday, though, insurgents struck again. This account of the events that followed is based on U.S. military interviews, unclassified documents and video footage from the responding aircraft.
"This was a deliberate air ambush," said Brig. Gen. Jim Huggins, assistant commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, which oversees the volatile region where the helicopter was downed, several miles east of Mahmudiyah.
As it lost altitude, the Kiowa started to shake violently, its main rotor damaged. Burrows said he decided to head into the field but the aircraft began to spin uncontrollably, and at about 20 feet above the ground he had to cut the power. The helicopter hit the ground tail first, bounced over an irrigation canal, crashed nose down and slid into a ditch beside a dirt road.
Cianfrini climbed out one door, and Burrows got out the other. They met at the nose and discovered that they had suffered only scratches, they said. The Kiowa was by then on fire, its engine blowing up inside. Insurgents were shooting from across the field, and the pilots could hear rounds hitting the burning helicopter.
"Where's your weapon?" Burrows yelled to Cianfrini.
"I have no idea," came the reply.
Cianfrini's M4 rifle had apparently been thrown from the aircraft, but he still had his M9 pistol, he said. Burrows had both his weapons.
"We determined our only option was to go into the canal," said Burrows, who is from Waverly, N.Y.
Cianfrini, who lives in Oakfield, N.Y., initially stayed behind with the survival radio at the aircraft, while Burrows rushed about 30 feet across the road and into the canal. Cianfrini followed.
Burrows waded into knee-deep water, stepped off a steep underwater embankment and started sinking into the mud. Weighed down by his armor, he thought he would drown. As the water reached his neck, he hit firm ground. Cianfrini was in up to his chin.
The pilots had planned to cross the canal to reach a field on the other side, but the mud made it hard for them to move. Moments later, they realized that being stuck probably kept them alive: Insurgents were waiting on the opposite side.
About 15 or 20 insurgents with AK-47 assault rifles and other weapons then converged on both sides of the canal and started firing at the pilots.
"We couldn't move," Cianfrini said. "I was thinking, 'This is it.' " Bullets were hitting the water, chopping off the reeds and zinging over the pilots' heads. The canal was only about 20 yards wide, he estimated. The insurgents were so close that Burrows could see one quite clearly. He wore a brown T-shirt and shouldered an AK-47.
"He just didn't see us. I don't know how," said Burrows, who was back to back with Cianfrini. "I was just praying that they didn't see us."
Suddenly, he saw the fighter use hand signals. A truck approached, and another fighter started firing toward them with a machine gun.
"The fire coming into the reeds was so immense, I was expecting to take a bullet in the head at any second," Cianfrini said.
After about five or 10 minutes the machine-gun fire gradually moved away, up the canal.
The firing grew more distant, and about the same time, Burrows said, he heard the distinct drone of a U.S. Army unmanned vehicle circling above. Then a pair of Apache attack helicopters from the 1st Cavalry Division swooped in, engaging the fighters with a 30mm Gatling gun and pushing them back.
Burrows knew it would be hard for the Apache pilots to spot them, and he loaded a flare. But Cianfrini vehemently advised against setting it off until they were sure the insurgents had left.
One Apache was over the nearby field, and Burrows managed to crawl out of the mud and scramble up the embankment, grasping at reeds. He waved the Apache down to the road and used his M4 to help pull Cianfrini out of the mud.
The Apache had only two seats. Cianfrini took one, while one of the Apache pilots, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Micah Johnson, strapped himself onto the exterior of the helicopter. Burrows used his survival vest to strap in on the other side.
Soaking and covered with mud, Burrows held onto the handgrip on the outside of the Apache, as it lifted off and headed back to base at 120 mph, buffeting him hard with the wind. But Burrows didn't mind at all.
"I was in pretty high spirits knowing I was going home," he said. Back at the crash site, seven to eight insurgents moved toward the Kiowa, which was too badly damaged to recover, and were killed when an Air Force A-10 dropped two 500-pound bombs on the wreckage.
The two pilots, both from the 3rd Squadron, 17th Air Calvary Regiment, based at Fort Drum, N.Y., will have a minimum of four days before they have to fly another mission. They will spend at least another year in Iraq.

July 4th, 2007  
well seems i was wrong....which makes the rescue even more impressive
July 4th, 2007  
Actually Brits were the first to try this trick in Afghanistan using their AH-64s to rescue a fellow Royal Mariner...
July 4th, 2007  
i believe in the first gulf war some pilots got rescued on the skids of a sea cobra....i remember thinking that was pretty hairy

Similar Topics
Pilots say new U.S. stealth fighter has no equal
About Pilots:
Civilian Pilots Provide Target Practice
Indian pilots to train for Russian carrier in the US!!
1991: Lt.Cdr. Michael Speicher Case