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Crash Caused by Inadequate Windshield

The National Transportation Safety Board blames a laminated windshield that did not have resistance to bird hits as a factor in a fatal offshore helicopter crash in Louisiana last year.

In February 2009, the helicopter which was carrying nine people, including seven offshore rig workers, crashed in Louisiana as it was on its way to a Gulf of Mexico oil platform. Eight crew were killed in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board now says that the crash occurred because of a bird hit. The bird strike caused fuel to the engine to be shut down, and the pilots who were likely dazed by the incident, were unable to control the helicopter in time.

According to the NTSB report, the operator of the helicopter, PHI, which operates thousands of flights to and from the Gulf of Mexico every year, had recently changed the windshield of the helicopter. The chopper had earlier come with a bird hit-resistant windshield, which could possibly have prevented the crash. However, the operator had replaced the bird strike-resistant windshield with laminated windshield which did not have any resistance to a bird strike. The windshield cracked on impact, triggering a series of events that ultimately resulted in a crash and eight deaths.

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