History of Flight - Prong 33, EC-47, SN 43-49100, was scheduled for a classified combat mission emanating from Phu Cat Air
Base, Republic of Vietnam on 8 October, 1969. The proposed departure time was 1440 hours local time with an estimated time enroute
of 7 hours total flying time. The flight crew was observed arriving at the Squadron Operations building at around 1250 hours.
The pilot, 1st Lt Knight, discussed fuel on board and field weather with the duty officer. Flight briefing lasted approximately
The flight left at 1450 hours and was on a radio direction finding mission out of Phu Cat Air Base. At 1510, Prong 33 called
Prong Control and reported returning to base because of Doppler radar problems. The pilot landed at 1530 hours. After landing,
the navigator informed maintenance personnel that the weather radar was also inoperative. The air crew stood by the aircraft
while the Doppler was repaired but they were informed that the radar had a major problem and would take a longer period of
time to repair. Pilot then went to Prong Control (SOC) and requested relaunch instructions stating the weather radar was out
and the weather was bad. The Assistant Operations Officer told him to try to reach the flagged area but return before dark
if the weather becomes a problem.
The aircraft re-launched into marginal weather. Upon arrival in its operating area, the pilot in command determined
that the weather conditions were unsafe and turned back toward Phu Cat. Prong 33 was given a radar-controlled approach to
Phu Cat, but as the aircraft approached the airfield the crew reported an inverter fire and loss of directional and attitude
instruments. Shortly after that call at 1930 hours, radio and radar contact with Prong 33 was lost. Additional vectors and
lost contact instructions were transmitted on all frequencies (i.e, UHF, VHF, Guard & beacon) by the Controller. Prong 33 did
not acknowledge any of these transmissions.
Bad weather hampered search and rescue operations and the wreckage was not located until four days later, 12 October 1969 and the
Air Force changed the missing status to killed at the time of incident. Six aircrewmen died in the crash. They were: