Robinson helicopters are classified as small helicopters and at the moment there are no requirements for the use of shock-resistant structures. Robinson Helicopters announced impact-resistant windscreens for the Robinson 22, Robinson 44 and Robinson 66 models in May this year to help prevent bird strike damage during flight. For the development and manufacture of impact-resistant glass and its construction, the company was guided by the requirements of the FAA for large helicopters.
All Robinson helicopters are equipped with an acrylic windshield. Aviation acrylic is used in the glazing of helicopters for various purposes. The advantages of this type are the reduction in weight compared to ordinary glass, resistance to weathering and strength, as well as resistance to breakage. Cast acrylic glass transmits light and does not create distortion, which is very important for the safety of piloting.
But the company’s specialists went further in this matter. The developers of the protective glass used energy-absorbing polycarbonate as a material. The company conducted its tests in San Antonio, Texas. During the tests, a conventional 1 kg bird dummy was used, which is an FAA standard. During the tests, it was found that for Robinson 22 helicopters, the windshield withstands shock loads at speeds up to 167 km / h, and a similar glass for Robinson 44 and 66 helicopters at speeds up to 185 km / h. We know from experience that the nominal speed of a Robinson helicopter, under atmospheric conditions, is 175-180 km / h. The likelihood of maintaining the flight characteristics and integrity of the structure of the windshield of the helicopter increases significantly. Also on the company’s website is a video of a glass crash test using a sledgehammer. Even with such an impact, polycarbonate glass demonstrates good results and maintains the integrity of the structure.
The use of such glazing can be significantly useful during flights in the conditions of seasonal migrations of birds, as well as in areas of their natural habitat. Moreover, the glass has become more resistant to scratches, weather and other phenomena. The cost of completing a helicopter with a shockproof windshield is $ 7,000 and does not differ significantly from the helicopter model.