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Hi all, I have a question about what might have happened had Cayce (from now on referred to as "Lightning") not reacted as fast as he did yesterday. We flew into DIA to pick up a passenger. On our final into Signature, at about 300' we had a very near miss with the biggest Red Tail Hawk i'd ever seen. When it finally put on the brakes it was less than ten feet from MY front windscreen, and about six feet from the MR, he came from the bottom right so it was my fault for not seeing it sooner. If Cayce had not reacted the bird would have most likely hit the MR on my side about four feet from the mast. I estimate that his wing span was about 32 to 36". I looked them up and their weight is up to 3.5 lbs. We were going about 70kts at the time.

 

Please break your answers in to three parts:

 

 

1) what would have happened if it would have hit the MR.

 

2) what if it hit the wind screen.

 

3) what experiences have you had with bird strikes.

 

 

I know of a couple of incidents at Rotors but they were smaller birds and did no damage. Flying around here it's a constant issue with these Hawks, i have had at least three sorta close calls in my 70 hours (within 50 feet), but nothing like yesterday.

 

thanks for your input,

 

dp

Edited by RkyMtnHI

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1) what would have happened if it would have hit the MR.

 

2) what if it hit the wind screen.

 

3) what experiences have you had with bird strikes.

 

 

dp

 

1. You would have felt a blade strike, but it probably wouldn't have damaged the blade on an R44 too much (a 22 might be a different story). Probably not enough to bring you down. (I asked about this at the safety course, and they had testimonials from pilots in South and Central America about bird strikes like this. They also had a blade with a bullet hole in it, the aircraft made it back to base.)

 

2. If the impact with the bird was a direct one, then the bird would have come through the windscreen, and ended up in your lap. If it was a glancing blow, it may or may not have come through. (physics)

 

3. No bird strikes yet for me as a pilot, but have seen the aftermath of many, both during my time in the navy, and after. (FYI a seagull traveling at 600knots will go through the windscreen of an A-6 Intruder and knock out the B/N, and a person through the intake of an S-3 Viking makes a big mess and costs a lot of money).

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1. You would have felt a blade strike, but it probably wouldn't have damaged the blade on an R44 too much (a 22 might be a different story). Probably not enough to bring you down. (I asked about this at the safety course, and they had testimonials from pilots in South and Central America about bird strikes like this. They also had a blade with a bullet hole in it, the aircraft made it back to base.)

 

2. If the impact with the bird was a direct one, then the bird would have come through the windscreen, and ended up in your lap. If it was a glancing blow, it may or may not have come through. (physics)

 

3. No bird strikes yet for me as a pilot, but have seen the aftermath of many, both during my time in the navy, and after. (FYI a seagull traveling at 600knots will go through the windscreen of an A-6 Intruder and knock out the B/N, and a person through the intake of an S-3 Viking makes a big mess and costs a lot of money).

 

 

When were you in?

 

I was in from 87-91, I was an AMS and worked on S-3's. I was attached to the VS33 screwbirds at North Island S.D. Did time on the Nimitz and the Constellation when it went around the horn to dry dock in Philly.

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When were you in?

 

I was in from 87-91, I was an AMS and worked on S-3's. I was attached to the VS33 screwbirds at North Island S.D. Did time on the Nimitz and the Constellation when it went around the horn to dry dock in Philly.

 

USS Independence '94-'97. NAS Whidbey Island '97-'99

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Actually you would be suprised on how much damage a red tail hawk will do. I hit one last summer in a Jetranger about two foot in from the tip of the blade it caused a dent 3.5 inches long and about .25 inches deep. I can't really speak for a robbie, but a bird of that side will go straight through the windshield and can hit you in the face(it happened to a friend of mine).

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Hi all, I have a question about what might have happened had Cayce (from now on referred to as "Lightning") not reacted as fast as he did yesterday. We flew into DIA to pick up a passenger. On our final into Signature, at about 300' we had a very near miss with the biggest Red Tail Hawk i'd ever seen. When it finally put on the brakes it was less than ten feet from MY front windscreen, and about six feet from the MR, he came from the bottom right so it was my fault for not seeing it sooner. If Cayce had not reacted the bird would have most likely hit the MR on my side about four feet from the mast. I estimate that his wing span was about 32 to 36". I looked them up and their weight is up to 3.5 lbs. We were going about 70kts at the time.

 

Please break your answers in to three parts:

 

 

1) what would have happened if it would have hit the MR.

 

2) what if it hit the wind screen.

 

3) what experiences have you had with bird strikes.

 

 

I know of a couple of incidents but they were smaller birds and did no damage. Flying around here it's a constant issue with these Hawks, i have had at least three sorta close calls in my 70 hours (within 50 feet), but nothing like yesterday.

 

thanks for your input,

 

dp

 

 

The damage could have been really bad. Red Tail Hawks are huge.

 

If something hits the main or tail rotor there is always a chance something can happen. More than likely you will be able to land. However, after inspection the blades will most likely not pass and be replaced.

 

We had an EC130 take one in the center window. The bird went stright through and into the back of the cabin. It basicaly exploded on the way in. Some injuries but minor. The damage a bird can do or injuries it can create can be devistating. A lot has to do with the location of the strike.

 

When instructing we had an R-22 take a bird right in the mast cowl. Big dent was all that was left. If that had hit the windscreen then it would have been much worse.

 

To help protect you make sure your sunglasses are shatter resistant. Also, the AIM recommends that the landing light be on in areas of bird activity. In addition to that, keep in mind that most birds will dive when scared.

 

Another quick story. There was student who had been signed off on his very first solo. Just as he brought the RPM (R-22) up to flight RPM he heard a pop and saw something fly by his right side. Keep in mind he was still on the ground. He hadn't even raised the collective yet. He promptly shut down and got us. We found the severed head of a pigeon next to the helicopter and blood all over the right side. After inspection the blades were found to be ok.

Edited by JDHelicopterPilot

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remember the adage: Birds of prey don't give way.

 

They think they own the sky, and won't move until the last second. If you see them soon enough, avoid their area. If it's too late, maintain straight and level. Unless you're Wally or GomerP, most birds have more hours than you, so let them get out of the way. At the very least, you won't be in an unusual attitude when you do hit them. Disaster management at that point.

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remember the adage: Birds of prey don't give way.

 

They think they own the sky, and won't move until the last second. If you see them soon enough, avoid their area. If it's too late, maintain straight and level. Unless you're Wally or GomerP, most birds have more hours than you, so let them get out of the way. At the very least, you won't be in an unusual attitude when you do hit them. Disaster management at that point.

 

 

Something to think about...

 

When I was instructing, a student of mine failed a Stage check because they failed to use bird strike avoidance technique. Well when I heard this I said "WHAT?" I had never heard of any such thing. The Chief then proceeded to tell me that when faced with an imminent bird strike the pilot should pitch the noise up. He said that this would give you the best chance at one of a few things. Pushing the bird down with the helicopters downwash, having the bird glance off of the windscreen, and or slowing the helicopter enough that the said bird goes into rotor system instead of cockpit. *This is only intended for avoidance while in forward flight when the bird is below or level with the helicopter. *

 

With that being said, I am just repeating what I learned from a much more experienced pilot then myself. I have been fortunate enough not have had to implement any of the techniques mentioned above.

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This was a bird strike i had last fall. It was a seagull (flying rat). I was at 800 AGL at 110 kts and the thing came straight up into the rotor system. I felt i huge bump which was it hitting the rotor and then i felt something hit the tail which also was a big bump. You can imagine what i was thinking. To be honest it happened so fast i didn't even realize it was bird. All i was concerned about was getting to an airport because i knew something happened. Of course my passenger was concerned but there was no aerodynamic changes or odd vibrations so i decided to land as soon as practical which was the helicopters home base 10 miles away. The dents you see in the blades were inspected and within limits thus they are still airworthy. I wish i had words of wisdom but that thing came out of no-where. Oh sorry about the PDF"s.

 

bird_strike_002.pdf

 

bird_strike_005.pdf

 

bird_strike_010.pdf

 

bird_strike_013.pdf

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I was suprised when I was training and working as a CFI to find out how much depth is allowed in a dent on the main blade skin.

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Interesting that I found this thread this morning.

I was flying a Raven II into KSGJ last evening just after dark-

1/2 mile out at 300 feet and 60 kts with landing lights on when-

WHOP! - bird strike

Right on the canopy just above and directly in front of my right knee.

In the mila-second that the bird flashed through the landing lights I

recognized it as a hawk.

No damage to the 44, probably can't say that for the Hawk.

As loud as the WHOP was I can't believe it didn't crack the lexan.

That was a first for me, helicopter of fixed wing.

Also a first for my two passengers who are both rotorcraft pilots.

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Okay pilots, you have to stop scaring us new guys now... I want to keep the ultralight flying with the cranes (piece and love, in harmony with nature, birds) image in my head when I fly around up there. Now every bird is a kamikaze with my name clenched on a slip of paper in his beak.

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Hi Folks,

 

thanks to all that took the time to share their experience... i actually feel a little better about the situation. we had another encounter with a Hawk of a different color yesterday on a photo shoot over Denver!!! (look underneath the 120)

 

thanks again for the input.

 

 

dennis

 

 

 

more photos here: http://s298.photobucket.com/albums/mm243/RkyMtnHI2/?start=0

Edited by RkyMtnHI

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I need to chime in here.

 

I was with a DPE doin' the checkride thang when he asked me to do an auto at the west abandoned taxiway, where the helis fly. I get into position and enter the auto. Then it happens: Birds on the approach. With little less than 300 feet in altitude left, I rolled the throttle on and raised the collective. The DPE panicks for a moment, then realizes what's happening. I gain altitude and airspeed as I tell him that we're going around. He didn't say anything.

 

We go around and do the auto and head back to the ramp.

 

"Mac" saw what happened and asked what went wrong. I said that there were birds in the way. I think he approved of the evasive manuver.

 

I took a co-worker for a ride once and had to alter heading to avoid a flock of seagulls (80's band) flying about 100 feet above us. It looked like they were having some sort of flock fest.

 

Just be frakking careful out there.

 

Lorax, be nice to Wannabe. All these stories are scaring me too.

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