The Block Island Times

An unusual bird makes an unexpected stop

May 06, 2013
Photo by: K. Curtis A Coast Guard Jayhawk helicopter made an unexpected landing at the Block Island Airport after a bird hit the rotor. The crew was performing a training mission over Block Island Sound when the mishap occurred.

The Block Island Airport hosted a couple of unusual birds last week after a Coast Guard helicopter was forced to make an unscheduled landing, and another came to assist the temporarily rerouted crew.

The Sikorsky-made Jayhawk was on a routine training mission in the skies above Block Island Sound when a bird — most likely a seagull — hit one of the rotors of the helicopter. As anyone who flies knows, hitting a bird in flight is a serious matter, and the crew of four landed at the B.I. Airport.

The crew is based in Cape Cod and, according to flight mechanic Eric Hansen, they were flying over the sound when the collision took place sometime on Thursday. Each crew on one of the Coast Guard helicopters has four members: a pilot, co-pilot, flight mechanic and a swimmer. The swimmer is the one who dives into the water to save a stranded swimmer or boater.

A second crew out of Cape Cod flew over to the island to pick up the stranded crew, and they were back the next day making sure the helicopter was ready to fly. Later on Friday, the familiar red and white colors of the Coast Guard helicopter could be seen back up in the air, over the island, training for the time when they’ll be needed next.

— Lars Trodson

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