Squirrel strike

I’ve never had a squirrel strike, but I did have two bird strikes when flying helicopters. With both of them I got pretty lucky, … the bird not so much…
On one I just grazed the bird with the rotor-tip which ripped all the feathers off the bird and it pretty much fell to its death featherless. It was kinda heartbreaking to watch. On the other one, the bird hit the skids which is pretty much the best place for a bird to hit a helicopter. Again, for the helicopter and everyone onboard, and not for the bird.

I did, however, have an owl eat a squirrel it caught on top of the rotorhead one night. In the morning there were squirrel pieces all over the top of the helicopter. And the owl had made such a big dookie, it ran down the entire side of the aircraft, and there was enough left by the time it reached the bottom, to drip on the ground, squirrel bones and all… gross.
We’re probably not going to make a strip out of that particular story though.


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10 comments on “Squirrel strike
  1. Quill says:

    My mom had a worse bird’s dinner story in a T-38 many years ago. Almost hit a hawk, the hawk veered away while dropping the sparrow that was in its talons, which went into the T-38’s engine. And, given that it was a J85, this trashed the engine. Hawk lost its dinner, engine got trashed, would have been a bad day for the sparrow regardless.

  2. Ed says:

    When I worked at EGPT, someone minced a herring gull in their prop. They dutifully scraped it all into a Tesco’s carrier bag, stapled a completed CA1282 form to it, and left it for ATC to deal with.

    In the tower cab.

    On a Friday night.

    Before a Bank Holiday weekend.

    In August.

    ATC service was provided via handheld from a balcony in another building that week…

  3. rwill says:

    We had someone hit a seagull on landing, it “made” it through the prop and left a nice roasted chopped bird mess to clean up in the engine compartment.

    Well, at least those squirrel strikes are not usually as bad as deer strikes.

    • Ed says:

      Nice… I saw one with a Cessna 310, where the gull had made it through the prop and burst open on impact with the cylinder head. The engineers took the cowling off to find its guts draped across the cylinders like Christmas decorations.

    • JPKalishek says:

      A childhood acquaintance works at a small regional and said most of his job is chasing the deer away.

  4. JPKalishek says:

    Turkey Vultures do a number to the wing on a Cessna 172.

  5. Fbs says:

    Usually in Europe there are many rabbits populating airfields. And sometimes, I crossed fox on the runway. The beast is smart and avoided the propeller, but I’m sure this happens

  6. HiddenWindshield says:

    Well, here’s my big nerd “well, actually” moment…

    Owls don’t actually make dookies. Any waste matter gets compressed into a pellet, which is then pushed out the same way it came in.

    So, if you found fecal matter, then it was some other bird of prey that was snacking while sitting on your chopper rather than an owl.

    • ThisGuy says:

      Just to be even more pedantic: Uhhm, Awhktchually, Owls DO poop (Sauce:https://birdingpoint.com/do-owls-poop/)

      However, it’s basically only the liquifiable parts that went all the way through the owl and it’s a sticky brown-white goop. If you find bones in a furry black-grayish ball, that’s an owl pellet (regurgitated indigestible parts like fur and bones).

  7. Karel A.J. ADAMS says:

    Remember a four-seater colliding with a really big bird at quite high altitude, over the Pyrenees mountains – plane crashed from high, none of the four occupants survived, not sure about the bird.

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