A Taiwan military Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior crashed during the annual Han Kuang military exercises Thursday killing its pilot and co-pilot.
The crash occurred at Hsinchu Air Force Base during the exercise meant to test Taiwan’s preparedness for a possible invasion by China.
The Taiwan military command said it ordered the grounding all 36 of its remaining US-made Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warriors until the results of investigations are known. The crash is the third of the Bell OH-58D Kiowa Warrior in the past two years.
Last Saturday, a fast attack boat carrying marine soldiers crashed killing two of them when it overturned in rough seas. The marines had been practicing for the Han Kuang exercise. A supervisor in charge of the marines’ exercise later committed suicide.
The pilot of the crashed chopper, Major Chien Jen-chuan, reported that the rotor speed was too low and that he needed to make an emergency return to the Hsinchu base, Commander of the Army General Chen Pao- was quoted as saying by local media.
The helicopter had reached an altitude of 400m before Chien reported that the rotor speed was too low, Chen said.
Chien tried to perform a 180-degree autorotation maneuver to land at the base and avoid civilian areas, but it could have been that the rotor speed was too low to complete the maneuver, Aviation and Special Forces Command 601 Brigade’s Major-General Chang Tai-sung said to local media.