On 7 January 2014 a Sikorsky HH-60G Pavehawk operated by the US Air Force crashed during a low level training flight. Four US service personnel were tragically killed in this accident.
On 9 July 2014 it was reported that the air accident investigation determined that the accident was caused by geese strikes which rendered both the pilot and co-pilot unconscious. The helicopter was flying 110ft (33m) above ground level at a speed of about 110 knots (126mph) just before the crash. A flock of geese took flight from Cley Marshes, likely startled by the noise of the approaching helicopter. At least three geese penetrated the windscreen of the helicopter.
Hitting a bird during low level flight is a risk – even a relatively small bird such as a pigeon can cause significant damage. Three geese hitting the windscreen at 110 knots is catastrophic, so it is not surprising that such an impact incapacitated the crew, with tragic consequences.
Irwin Mitchell is advising the family of a crew member killed in this incident.
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