Robinson is offering new impact-resistant windshields as optional equipment for its R22, R44, and R66 helicopters. The new windshields were designed to FAA Part 29 transport category standards and have been shown to resist the strike of a 2.2 lb. (1 kg) bird at 90 knots (R22) and at 100 knots (R44 and R66) in testing conducted by the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
The test weight is the same used by the FAA to validate Part 29 windshields. Currently, impact resistance standards do not exist for Part 27 rotorcraft windshields.
Robinson’s new windshields are constructed of energy-absorbing polycarbonate, as opposed to standard acrylic, and installed with distinctive retention hardware. A special hard coating provides protection from scratching and weather degradation. No special maintenance or inspections are required, although a cabin cover is recommended for prolonged outdoor exposure. Prices for the new windshields are $6,600 for the R22 and $6,800 for the R44 and R66. Robinson said the stronger windshields “will be particularly beneficial to pilots flying at low altitudes or in other environments where the risk of a bird strike is greater.”