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Robinson impact-resistant windshields for bird-strike protection


The new windshields are constructed of tough, energy-absorbing polycarbonate (standard windshields are made of acrylic) and installed with distinctive retention hardware. (Photo: Robinson Helicopter)

Robinson Helicopter introduced optional impact-resistant windshields for its R22, R44, and R66 aircraft to provide greater protection from bird strikes. The company explains, that due to the lack of requirements surrounding small-category helicopters, it based the new impact-resistant design on FAA requirements governing large-transport-category helicopters.

Robinson explains the new windshields are constructed of energy-absorbing polycarbonate, whereas standard windshields are made of acrylic, and installed with distinctive retention hardware. As well, a special hard coating applied to the Robinson windshields provides protection from scratching and weather degradation.

Testing of the windshield technology was conducted at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, where a 2.2 lb (1 kg) bird, the FAA’s standard test weight, was used to simulate a bird strike. Tests demonstrate the R22’s windshield provides protection at impact speeds of up to 90 knots, while the R44 and R66 windshields provide protection at impact speeds of up to 100 knots.

The 2020 upgrade prices for the new windshields are US$6,600 for the R22 and US$6,800 for both the R44 and R66. No special maintenance or inspections are required, explains Robinson, although a cabin cover is recommended for prolonged outdoor exposure. Robinson notes the new windshields will be particularly beneficial to pilots flying at low altitudes or in other environments where the risk of a bird strike is greater.

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