Robinson helicopters belong to the category of small helicopters and at the moment there are no requirements for the use of impact-resistant structures. Robinson Helicopters, in order to prevent bird collision damage during flight, in May this year announced shockproof windshields for Robinson 22, Robinson 44 and Robinson 66 models. The company followed the FAA requirements for large-cabin helicopters in developing and manufacturing the impact-resistant glass and its design.
All Robinson line helicopters are equipped with acrylic windshields. Aviation acrylic is used in glazing of helicopters of various purposes. Advantages of this type are weight reduction in comparison with ordinary glass, weather resistance and durability, as well as resistance to breakage. Cast acrylic glass transmits light perfectly and does not create distortions, which is very important for the safety of piloting.
But the company’s specialists have gone further in this matter. The developers of the protective glass used energy-absorbing polycarbonate as the material. The company conducted its test in San Antonio, Texas. During the tests a conditional model of a bird weighing 1 kg was used, which is the FAA standard. The tests found that for Robinson 22 helicopters, the windshield withstands impact loads up to 167 km/h, and similar glass for Robinson 44 and 66 helicopters at speeds up to 185 km/h. We know from experience that the rated flight speed of a Robinson helicopter, in atmospheric conditions, is 175-180 km/h. The probability of preservation of flight characteristics and integrity of the helicopter windshield significantly increases. Also on the company’s website there is a video of crash-testing the glass with a sledgehammer. Even with such an impact the polycarbonate glass demonstrates high results and maintains the integrity of the structure.
The use of such glazing can become significantly useful during flights in conditions of seasonal migrations of birds, as well as in areas of their natural habitat. Moreover, windows became more protected from scratches, atmospheric and other phenomena. The cost of equipping the helicopter with an anti-shock windshield construction is equal to 7000 dollars and differs slightly from the model of the helicopter.