Bears are curious creatures. They see something new and their first instinct is to check it out. Apparently, a Canadian Airforce helicopter caught a curious polar bear’s attention and he just had to check it out.
According to the Royal Canadian Air Force tweet, the helicopter was forced to land at an airstrip in Saglek, Newfoundland because of bad weather. Sometime during the night the bear came along and inspected the chopper causing superficial damage.
On September 16, a CH-149 Cormorant crew with 413 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron at 14 Wing Greenwood parked its helicopter at the Saglek, Newfoundland and Labrador, airfield after poor weather prevented them from landing at their preferred location.
Sometime overnight, a curious polar bear came by to investigate the helicopter, causing some superficial damage as it pushed on a side door, popped out an emergency exit window and removed a small cover panel on the nose.
The polar bear did not get inside the helicopter and there were no crew members in the vicinity at the time. After an inspection, repairs were completed and the crew resumed flights on their planned two-week mountain flying search and rescue exercise.
I work with Blackhawk and Chinook Helicopters in the US Army. We have had a few helicopters damaged by animals. Usually birds, but I remember one time a raccoon got into the flight control cabinet of a chinook and chewed a bunch of the wires. He also logged a little flight time before he was discovered in the floorboards under the cockpit.