HAI Convention News

Texstars Develops Bell 525 Birdstrike-resistant Windshield

 - February 25, 2014, 10:30 AM

Bell Helicopter has chosen Texstars (Booth No. 507) to provide birdstrike-resistant windshields for the Bell 525 Relentless. These windshields will feature other safety improvements including enhanced pilot’s field-of-vision and a wrap-around windshield that eliminates the need for lower-view chin bubble windows and overhead skylights. The improved pilot’s view will enable direct sighting of mission objectives and landing zones.

Perhaps the most important safety feature is an alternative structural transparency material that will provide pilot, crew and passengers with protection from injury due to birdstrikes.

“We believe this will be a first,” said Texstars president Chris Gould. “These windshields are made of polycarbonate, whereas present helicopter transparencies are made of cast acrylic. Although [it is] relatively hard, upon impact acrylic will shatter. Polycarbonate is softer and more pliable and is the structural material we use in our bird-resistant F-16 fighter canopies. We feel that polycarbonate windshields for rotorcraft will eventually sweep the industry and we expect their safety margin to be validated in flight demonstrations.

“The improved safety feature designs for the Bell 525 Relentless windshield underscore Bell Helicopter’s dedication to providing customers the best and safest aircraft possible. We are pleased to be a part of the Bell 525 Relentless team,” Gould added.

The 525 super medium helicopter is Bell’s latest model. Capable of carrying up to 16 passengers, it is designed to support various mission configurations including oil and gas, search and rescue, helicopter EMS and VIP and corporate transport.

Texstars LLC is a subsidiary of AIP Aerospace and developings and manufactures aircraft transparencies and components employing composite and thermoplastic materials for aerospace, military and mass transit markets. AIP Aerospace is an aerospace tooling group specializing in high-temperature composite parts, aircraft structures, transparencies and coating technologies.