Final Report: Buzzard strike blinded pilot

 - September 15, 2006, 11:25 AM

Bell 206L-4 LongRanger, Washington, La., Dec. 30, 2005–The NTSB determined that the cause of a LongRanger accident was a collision with a bird, and said that with the pilot’s impaired vision, directional control was not possible.

A large buzzard slammed through the windshield of the LongRanger and hit the pilot in the face, temporarily blinding him. He felt the helicopter pitch up and tried to regain control but blood was making it difficult to see. The helicopter was only about 500 feet msl, and the pilot decided to land in a field just ahead but lost sight of the ground. The helicopter hit on the left landing skid, rolled over and ended up on its left side.

The pilot sustained minor injuries.