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Incident Name: Ziplock Fire
Date: 6/21/91
Personnel: Henry Y. H. Kim
Age: 48
USDA Forest Service
Lead Plane Pilot, Regional Aviation Safety Officer for the Southwestern Region of the Forest Service (Regional Aviation Group)
Henry Kim -- a FS lead plane pilot guiding airtanker retardant drops -- died on the Ziplock fire on the Cibola NF outside of Grants, NM on 6/21/91.

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Approx 4o nautical miles miles west of Albuquerque NM Airport

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Reports, Documentation, Lessons Learned

  • Information from USFS, AAP, WLF community research:
    • June 21, 1991
    • 1 killed: Henry Kim
    • Operator: unknown
    • Type: Beechcraft Baron 58P
    • crashed near the Cibola NF outside of Grants, NM
    • FAA Tail # unknown
    • NTSB # no record
  • Flight Safety Foundation ( Flight Safety Digest, Vol 18, No. 4, April 1999, US Aerial Firefighting Accidents Involving Fixed Wing Aircraft 1976-1998 (218 K pdf)
  • USFS: Fatal Aviation Accident History 2 page Excerpt pp 104-105 (73 K pdf)| 112 page Full Report (all accidents: 4,017 K pdf)
    The lead plane pilot had been engaged in fire fighting operations for more than four hours. He led an airtanker to the retardant drop site, wagged the airplane's wings to mark the point of release then initiated a steep climbing left turn to observe the air tanker's drop. The airtanker pilot saw the lead plane pitch up approximately 30 degrees, roll inverted and descend to the ground. The investigation did not determine the cause of the accident.
  • Note: Prior to 1996 NTSB did not investigate Gov owned and operated, Gov owned and contractor operated or some aircraft that were privately owned and operated as "public aircraft". Government agency investigations and reports were/are often hard to find and access. The "Pressler Act", passed in 1995 and enacted in 1996, changed that, making all aircraft accident reports easier to access and lessons easier to learn. (Click the link and search on "Pressler".)
  • Henry Kim's name and death date are included in the USFA Firefighter Fatality Retrospective Study, published April 2002 (2,888 K pdf)
  • US Forest Service Heroes Memorial: Henry Y. H. Kim

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Media Articles and Reports.

  • New Mexico Pilot Killed in Crash of Small Plane
    June 24, 1991 - Orlando Sentinel

    A Forest Service plane guiding air drops on a 40-acre blaze crashed into Mount Taylor, killing the pilot, a fire official said. Winds gusting up to 25 mph over rugged terrain apparently caused pilot Henry Kim, 48, to lose control of the twin-engine Beechcraft Baron on Friday evening, said Cibola National Forest spokesman Frank Spencer. "The pilots called them 'squirrely winds,' " he said. "They said they'd come from any direction and do almost anything." Kim, 48, a former Navy pilot, had been directing an air tanker that was to drop slurry on the Mount Taylor blaze to prevent it from spreading. He crashed near the fire on the northwest slope of the 11,301-foot peak, 70 miles west of Albuquerque.

  • Henry Kim named as fallen:
Henry Kim Henry Kim

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Photos, Videos, & Tributes

  • from Kelly Andersson:

    The Prescott Fire Center and Henry Y.H. Kim Aviation Facility was officially dedicated in May 1992.

    The Forest Service named this facility in honor of Henry Y.H. Kim, a pilot and Regional Aviation Safety Officer for the Southwestern Region of the Forest Service. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Kim was a naval aviator and retired commander prior to his service with the Forest Service. He died in 1991 while flying a lead plane mission on a forest fire in New Mexico.

    [Graphic] Fire Center logo

    The Center's logo depicts Kim's plane over a Prescott area landmark - Thumb Butte - and distinctive symbols from the flags of Arizona and New Mexico.

    In 1992, the Prescott Fire Center and Henry Y. H. Kim Aviation facility was dedicated at Prescott's Love Field. In the 1998 fire season, 2 aerial tankers, a lead plane, and 2 helicopters will be stationed at the Aviation Facility. During the 1996 fire season, 938,329 gallons of fire retardant was loaded onto aerial tankers and dropped on fires throughout the Southwest. During the same period, the Prescott Fire Center shipped $8.3 million worth of equipment and supplies to wildfire and other disaster incidents across the country.

  • USFA Memorial Database: Henry Kim

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Contributors to this article: Tom Stein-Janney, Kelly Andersson, Old Sawyer (some time back), John Miller

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