Bird strike?

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,966
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
While cruising in my Bell 47, I felt an inflight "thump", followed by noticeable cabin hop, so I returned to base immediately. The event was at 65 knots and 700 feet agl. Inspection revealed the damage shown below. The blade leading edge is stainless, I think, and much tougher than a typical bird (or so I would expect anyway). The spanwise position is about halfway to the tip (rotational velocity there is about 200 knots)

Anybody ever seen damage like this?IMG_20210710_1300577.jpg
 
Last edited:

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,966
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
Nope, definitely not sure. I expected to see blood and other traces but did not. Drone? Bullet? I really don't know. I didn't see anything before feeling the thump.

I was over empty rural landscape at the time.

And yes, I fear outrageous cost. Those main rotor blades are hard to find and pricey beyond belief if not repairable.
 
Last edited:

Smack

Re-member?
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Messages
746
Location
Georgetown
Aircraft
Kitfox IV / F1 Rocket / Magni M-16 / Beech 18
Total Flight Time
500+
Yeah, generally some organic debris left after a bird strike. That is suspicious to me, too.
 

13brv3

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2003
Messages
609
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
Sure looks like it was something harder than a bird. It would probably be worth filing a report with the local law enforcement, and maybe even some branch of the FAA. If you've got hull insurance, that might be helpful or even necessary. Either way, glad the blades got you home safely.

Rusty
 

Brian Jackson

Platinum Member
Joined
Jul 17, 2004
Messages
3,212
Location
Hamburg, New Jersey USA
Aircraft
GyroBee Variant - Under Construction
Have you checked the rotorhead and blade straps for any missing nuts/hardware? At half the blade tip speed (1/2 span) I can't imagine a bird doing damage that looks like this.
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,966
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
Everything else is complete, undamaged, and intact, including the tail rotor. I think it looks more like battle damage than mother nature, but I don't know how to figure it out.
 

okikuma

Member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
2,112
Location
Santa Clarita, CA
J.R.,

First, a big thank you to the Almighty that you and those below you during the flight are safe.

The damage sure looks from something man made. By chance were you flying over any new agricultural developments that resemble the following?

Wayne

1626381340335.png

1626381277971.png
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,966
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
No, it was very sparsely settled open Colorado range. No buildings, scattered trees, rocks, maybe a few cattle per square mile. No sign of people or ag operations below.

[Colorado was one of the first states to legalize growing marijuana so helicopter farm overflights are not so provocative these days. ]
 

j bird

Gold Supporter
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
1,720
Location
Cave Junction,OR.
Aircraft
Dominator/Airworthiness Certificate 9/06/12
Total Flight Time
26.5 duel,RAF,Sparrow-Hawk,Cavalon,Calidus.
Is it possible for a bullet fired miles away, not at you, having spent its energy on its way back to earth, contacted the blade? meteorite?
 

Chris Burgess

GYRO-CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2004
Messages
807
Location
Winter Garden FL 34787
Aircraft
Many makes and models, prefer open frame, Sold my SnoBird Tandem
Total Flight Time
3400+
That's no B-I-R-D strike. I chopped a lot of bamboo in my times with a Huey and they have stainless leading edges as well. It may crease the skins but not hurt the LE. Had some M-60 shell casings hit the tail rotor and they never left a "sharp" gouge like yours, just an ugly dent. Missing hardware from anything? Even a forgotten wrench that may have flown out?

In some of my reserve days they told us to never do our NOE (nap of the earth) training over the local forest during hunting season. Those guys like to shoot at the noisy Huey that scares away their prey. Blaze orange suits in them trees, go someplace else.!!!!
 
Last edited:

fara

AR-1 gyro manufacturer
Joined
Oct 31, 2011
Messages
3,726
Location
Tampa, FL
Aircraft
AR-1
Total Flight Time
4000+ 380 gyroplanes. Sport CFI Gyro and Trikes
That was not a bird. We have hit a bird on a Cessna 162 SkyCatcher at about 95 knots on the wing leading edge. You would have had some organic material left there. There does not seem to be any. May be some hard object. A bullet or something
 

Resasi

Gold Supporter
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
8,144
Location
London/ Kilifi Kenya
Aircraft
Gyrs, RAF 2000/Mgni/Bnsn/Hrnet/Mrlin/Crckt/MT-03/Lyzlle AV18-A/Prdtor. Pax ArrowCopter
Total Flight Time
100+ gyro, 16,000+ other
Bullet.
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,966
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
I am not much comforted by the idea of strangers shooting at me (and especially hitting that close).
 

13brv3

Gold Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2003
Messages
609
Location
Tellico Plains, TN
I've spent a lot of time around hospitals (MRI service), and on two occasions I've seen the life flight helicopters hit pigeons. You hear a thump, see parts of the bird hit the parking lot, and the copter flies off. If they even noticed, they certainly didn't seem to care, and I guess I always thought it was probably just a non-issue for helicopter blades. Now those are heavy turbine machines, so maybe it's not the same.
 

WaspAir

Supreme Allied Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 21, 2006
Messages
4,966
Location
Colorado front range
Aircraft
Bell 47G-3B-1 / A&S 18A / Phoebus C, etc.
Total Flight Time
stopped caring at 1000
My Bell grosses at 2950 pounds, with 37 foot rotor diameter and wide chord heavy metal blades spinning at 310 rpm. I doubt that a pigeon would fare much better or be more destructive when compared to a larger medevac chopper; my ship would seem to be big enough for comparable results. We don't have condors here, so a golden eagle is about the biggest bird I can imagine encountering.

My first suspicion was that perhaps a bird hit a trim tab on one blade, bending it and inducing the new vibration by messing up my tracking. I was really surprised (to put it mildly) to see that damage instead. Luckily, I was quite close to home and didn't have far to go.
 
Top