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Sat, Nov 28, 2015

Helicopter In LA May Have Been Hit By A UAV

Robinson R22 Sustained Substantial Damage, Instructor Pilot Injured

A Robinson R22 helicopter hit something during a flight Monday night, and the pilots of the aircraft believe it was a UAV.

The accident occurred during a cross-country training flight conducted by L.A. Helicopters. A student pilot and instructor were on board, and neither saw the object that impacted the helicopter at an altitude of about 800 feet AGL in Sepulveda Pass. The pilots diverted to Van Nuys airport, and landed safely, according to a report in Vertical Mag.

L.A. Helicopters chief pilot Guillaume Maillet said the windscreen of the aircraft was extensively damaged. The impact created a large hole in the windscreen, and the instructor pilot was reportedly received cuts on his hands and knees when the plexiglass windscreen shattered. Maillet said that neither pilot reported seeing the object, which was unlighted. He said that the absence of feathers or blood on the windscreen makes him sure it was a UAV.

Maillet said that he had been on board a Robinson helicopter traveling at 110 knots when it was involved in a bird strike, and there had been no damage to the windscreen. This aircraft, he said, was traveling at about 70 knots "and the extensive damage with no evidence of a bird strike tells me it's a drone," he said.

The FAA has the incident under investigation.

(Robinson R22 pictured in file photo. Not incident aircraft)

FMI: www.faa.gov



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