Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Man hurt after pigeon hits helicopter near Edinburgh airport

Edinburgh Airport

A helicopter passenger needed hospital treatment after the aircraft was hit by a pigeon which smashed the windscreen.

An Air Accidents Investigation Branch report revealed the man was struck by debris and suffered injuries to his face and hands.

The Bell 429, travelling from Blackpool, was approaching Edinburgh Airport when the incident happened on 25 November last year.

The pigeon was killed in the impact and was found inside the passenger area.

The investigation report revealed that as the pilot flew towards Edinburgh he noticed several birds off the left side of the helicopter which he did not consider to be a threat.

Image copyright Bell Helicopter
Image caption A version of the Bell 429 helicopter similar to that involved in the bird strike last year

However, he then saw a single bird straight ahead crossing from right to left and, despite immediately banking the helicopter to the right, he was unable to avoid the bird, which struck the left windscreen.

The pilot declared a mayday before successfully landing. The passenger - the only other person on board - was taken to hospital.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch report said the Bell 429 windscreen was not designed to withstand bird strikes and the design certification requirements did not require it to do so.

The report stated that helicopter operators have been encouraged to implement improved bird strike safety procedures.

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