Incident Name: Glover Creek Prescribed Burn, Selway Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest
Date: August 22, 1984, 1117 hours
Personnel: Dale J. Uptmor, Helitack Foreman
Agency/Organization: Dale was the Helitack Foreman stationed at Riggin's ID. Salmon River RD, NPF.
Summary: Dale was Helitack Foreman on the Riggins Hellitack Crew on the Salmon River RD, Nezperce NF in Idaho. He was on the ground at Round Top Mountain Heliport on 8/22/1984 during a Rx operation involving a helicopter. The helicopter experienced a dynamic rollover as a result of the cable entanglement. Dale was struck and killed by the tail rotor.
Photos of Dale taken the day before the accident, compliments of his family:
Bronze Forest Service Memorial Marker -- Selway Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest at Round Top Mountain; the bronze plaque is also mounted on a large boulder at the main entrance to the Grangeville Air Center. (Next to it is the monument for GAC SJ Bill Martin.)
Round Top Mountain Heliport, located on an east-west running ridgeline covered with grass and widely scattered trees and brush. The grass provided excellent dust abatement and there were no trees or brush within 100 to 125 feet of the mishap site. Approach and departure routes were available throughout 360 degrees.
- Concise Information from the NTSB, FAA, USFS and research by the WLF Staff:
- August 22, 1984
- 1 killed: Dale J. Uptmor, Helitack Foreman
- Operator: Valley Aviation of Orofino under contract with the US Forest Service
- Type: BELL 206B-3
- Location: Nez Perce National Forest
- FAA Registration # unknown
- NTSB # none
- The National Transportation Safety Board did not investigate this accident.
- Forest Service Investigations - Fatal Aviation Accident History (1974-2002): Pages 51 - 53 for this incident (357 K pdf) | Entire History (download 4.72 MB pdf)
- FS Investigation: Probable Cause
... the primary cause of this mishap was that the helitorch cables became entangled about itself. The asymmetric center of gravity which caused the helicopter to roll right and yaw right would not have occurred if the cables had not become entangled as they did. There were also contributing factors available in the report.
- If you'd like to search for yourself, consult the NTSB online lookup Utility
- Forest Service: Helicopter Incident, Nez Perce National Forest
- Flight Safety Foundation (flightsafety.org): Flight Safety Digest, Vol 25, No. 6, Nov-Dec 1999, Rotor Wing Accidents 1974-1998 (102 K pdf)
- US Forest Service Heroes Memorial: Dale J. Uptmor
- PDF document of 1984 media article plus helicopter photos from Dale's family
- USFA Memorial Database: Dale J Uptmor
- Dale was a single parent, with an 8 yr. old named Matt at the time of the accident. He had a engineering degree from University of Idaho at Moscow. Dale was close friends with the pilot who quit flying after the accident.
- Forest Service Memorial Marker Detail -- Round Top Mountain, Selway Ranger District, Nez Perce National Forest; and duplicate memorial at Grangeville Air Center.
Grangeville Air Center memorial location - adjacent to the Idaho County Airport
Contributors to this article: John Miller, Rene Vanderhooft, Kenneth Stump, Brett Rogers, Dale Uptmor's family -- 2014 Matt Uptmor, Dale's son; Lori Courtright, Dale's younger sister; Roger Uptmor, Dale's brother; and Dale's parents, Edward Uptmor and Teresa E. Uptmor from Keuterville, ID.
Our best to all of you. Sad loss. Thanks, Mellie
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