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Geographical Index > United States > Georgia > Fannin County > Article # 510

Media Article # 510
Article prepared and posted by Leigh Culver


Monday, September 16, 1985

2 National Guard pilots die in copter crash

By Renee Turner
The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution


2 National Guard pilots die in copter crash
BYLINE: TURNER, RENEE D Renee D. Turner Staff Writer STAFF
DATE: September 16, 1985
PUBLICATION: The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution
EDITION: The Atlanta Journal
SECTION: STATE NEWS
PAGE: E/3
U.S. Army officials were in North Georgia today to investigate the Sunday morning crash of a Cobra Helicopter gunship that killed two Texas Army National Guard pilots on a training flight with the U.S. Army's Ranger School. The men were killed when their Cobra crashed into trees in the Chattahoochee National Forest about 8:20 a.m. Sunday and burned, said Texas Army National Guard spokesman Maj. David Cottam.
Killed were pilot Cmdr. Kevin M. Cardwell, 23, a grocery store assistant manager in Round Rock, Texas; and co-pilot 1st Lt. Michael L. Pape, 27, a construction worker from Killeen, Texas.

Cottam said the cause of the crash could not immediately be determined. The helicopter went down in a heavily wooded area of the Chattahoochee National Forest, about 40 miles northeast of Gainesville, Cottam said.

"There were no other aircraft in the vicinity when it went down," said Cottam, adding that the skies were clear.

Cottam said a team from the U.S. Army Safety Center, located in Fort Rucker, Ala., and Texas aviation officer Col. Herbert Purtle arrived at the site Sunday night to investigate the crash of the Cobra, a two-seat helicopter gunship wit h pilot and gunner sitting in tandem.

Both aviators were members of the 124th Cavalry of the Texas Guard's 49th Armored Division, Cottam said. They were among 70 Texas guard members who had flown to Georgia for four days of tactical training.

"There were about 40 infantry, and about 30 pilots and crew chiefs and support staff who were acting as the aggressors against the students in the U.S. Army Ranger school in Dahlonega," Cottam said. "This was the unit's weekend drill."

The pilots did not send an emergency transmission before the crash, Cottam said. The last transmission from Cardwell and Pape was to the crew of another helicopter that was to meet them.

"When the other crew arrived, they saw the smoke in the trees and located the craft," he said.
"The aircraft had burned upon impact."

The last accident involving the Texas Guard unit occurred on Nov. 17, 1984, when a Cobra struck high-tension lines south of Salado, Texas, and crashed, killing both pilots, Cottam said. Before that, there had been no accidents in seven years, and the Texas unit had the best safety record of all National Guard units in the country, he said.


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