Bird strikes are pretty well tested for planes, but what about helicopters? Do they happen as frequent as planes and if so, what would be the possible outcomes?

Do helicopter emergency procedures include a "bird strike" event?

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    $\begingroup$ There are no bird strike standards for helicopters weighing less than 7000lbs in the US. For helicopters over 7000lbs, the windshield must be able to withstand a 2.2lb bird. There are no standards set for rotor strikes as far as I can tell. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Mar 28, 2017 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ Your title and actual question do not really fit together. The title asks if strikes happen to helicopter while the body asks if they are tested for strikes. $\endgroup$ Mar 28, 2017 at 21:30
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I got carried away with the subject. I'll refactor. $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2017 at 8:49

1 Answer 1


Do they happen as frequent as planes?

Here is a link to the Federal Aviation Administration's Wildlife Strike database. Here you can search all the recorded wildlife strikes in the USA, and filter them by various things, including Engine Type.

To get a good idea of how many helicopter bird strikes occur in comparison to other aircraft, we can compare how many bird strikes occurred in turboshaft (Engine Type F) engine aircraft to the total number of bird strikes.

From January 1, 1990 to January 1, 2017...

California - There have been 31 turboshaft engine wildlife strikes, accounting for 0.22% out of the total 13,698.

Texas - There have been 46 turboshaft engine wildlife strikes, accounting for 0.30% out of the total 15,520.

Florida - There have been 22 turboshaft engine wildlife strikes, accounting for 0.20% out of the total 11,119.

This data would suggest that roughly 0.25% of all wildlife strikes are on helicopters.

Taking another piece of data from the FAA, we find that the ratio of rotocraft to general aviation aircraft in 2015 is 9,766 to 199,927, meaning that helicopters account for roughly 4.66% of total aircraft.

Combining these two pieces of data, we can see that since 0.25% of all wildlife strikes are on helicopters, but helicopters account for 4.66% of aircraft, helicopters encounter wildlife strikes at a rate of ~18.64 times less than general aviation aircraft.

(Disclaimer: Data used above is rounded and averaged. This is a ROUGH estimate!)

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    $\begingroup$ Would you know where to look to find out if any of these strikes ended in a catastrophic failure of the aircraft? $\endgroup$ Mar 29, 2017 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ You can also search by civil and military damage, see the Damage (Civil) and Damage (Military) tables at the bottom of the database search page. With the Civil damage, you can filter D for destroyed, then look up the event to see if any casualties were sustained. $\endgroup$
    – Prodnegel
    Mar 29, 2017 at 16:10

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