Safety & Training
Iowa pilot flying again after waterfowl crashed through windshield of his helicopter
December 11, 2023 By The Associated Press
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa helicopter pilot is back in the air, two weeks after a waterfowl smashed through the windshield of his chopper and knocked him for a loop.
Pilot Troy McCormick told KCAU-TV that he’s lucky he wasn’t hurt worse on Nov. 23 when what he believed was a duck came crashing through the windshield. He returned to work Wednesday.
McCormick flies for Wings Rescue in Sioux City. He was en route to Storm Lake Hospital to pick up a patient. The chopper was near the hospital, “and just about that time, `wham!”’ McCormick recalled. “The bird came through the windscreen and hit me right in the side of the head here, `boom,’ and then exploded all over in the inside of the aircraft.”
McCormick, covered in blood and feathers, was able to divert to Storm Lake Airport and land, though he remains fuzzy about how that happened.
“Knocked me out for a little bit I think,” he said. “I don’t remember some of the information about what all happened. I remembered (a fellow crew member) talking to me a little bit, telling me what we needed to do, and we did that. We were able to land at the airport safely.”
McCormick has been flying since 2001. He said helicopter pilots “do have to look out for birds all of the time and we do dodge birds once in a while. We have had some hit glass, different parts of the aircraft, and have not had any issues, but to actually come through the windscreen, never experienced that.”