The FAA Rotorcraft Directorate is calling for a special industry/government group to review helicopter bird-strike protection standards, according to a news report citing recent testimony before the agency’s Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee.
Reported collisions between helicopters and birds increased 68% from 2009 to 2013 and more than 700% since the early 2000s, according to the Associated Press, which cited testimony of a directorate engineer.
The increase in bird-strike reports stems in part from greater awareness among pilots following the January 2009 strike that forced the successful emergency landing of a US Airways flight in New York’s Hudson River. But the news report said populations of large bird species are growing, raising the risk of more strikes. The growing populations include Canada geese, snow geese, bald eagles, wild turkeys, turkey vultures and white pelicans.
The rise in helicopter bird strikes comes as incidents involving airliners and other fixed-wing aircraft have been decreasing, the news report said.