Chicken Bazooka?

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Chicken Bazooka?

Postby Karlsweldt » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:02 am

Got the following in an Email..

Scientists at NASA built a gun specifically designed to launch standard 4-pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets, and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea is to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.
British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the
windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made,
and a gun was sent to the British engineers.
When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's back-rest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow.
The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions.
NASA responded with a one-line memo --
"Defrost the chicken." (True Story)

Don't know if anyone remembers years back, when a spoof of DOOM (3) was created.. where a "live chicken" firing bazooka replaced the 'standard' bazooka. Hmm..
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Postby Mr T » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:27 pm

Legend: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration offers the British an obvious piece of advice after being asked to investigate a train-testing mishap.

Examples:

[Collected on the Internet, 1998]

In an issue of Meat & Poultry magazine, editors quoted from "Feathers," the publication of the California Poultry Industry Federation, telling the following story:

The US Federal Aviation Administration has a unique device for testing the strength of windshields on airplanes. The device is a gun that launches a dead chicken at a plane's windshield at approximately the speed the plane flies.

The theory is that if the windshield doesn't crack from the carcass impact, it'll survive a real collision with a bird during flight.

It seems the British were very interested in this and wanted to test a windshield on a brand new, speedy locomotive they're developing.

They borrowed FAA's chicken launcher, loaded the chicken and fired.

The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, broke the engineer's chair and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine's cab. The British were stunned and asked the FAA to recheck the test to see if everything was done correctly.

The FAA reviewed the test thoroughly and had one recommendation:

"Use a thawed chicken."

[Collected on the Internet, 1994]

Presumably you know that aerospace companies often fire chickens at test aircraft canopies to see how they would stand up to flying through a flock of birds during takeoff? This is true of British Aerospace also, however one time it went wrong.

Just before lunch, the engineers set up the chicken-cannon, loaded a frozen chicken into it, and left for the canteen. The chicken would be just about defrosted by the time they got back to do the test. When they came back, they got behind the protective wall, started the high-speed cameras (to play back in detail what happens), and fired the chicken at the canopy. Normally, it should just bounce off, or make a nasty dent. This time, the canopy was destroyed. Bits everywhere. Having checked the cannon, and looked through the (expensive) wreckage, they decided to view the film, to see if it would provide any clues. It did. During lunch, a cat had climbed into the cannon, lured by the smell of fresh chicken, became part of the test.

Variations:

Depending upon whom you hear the story from, the FAA, NASA, the Air Force, or "an American aircraft company" lends its chicken gun to engineers in another country.

The most common telling says those engineers were British, but other versions of the story say they were French or American. Likewise, what's being tested varies, with train windows, jet engines, and cockpit canopies mentioned.

In my favorite version, a cat sneaks into the barrel of the gun and is helping itself to a cold chicken dinner when the contraption is fired. (Then again, I just like saying "catapoultry.")

Origins: There is at least one shred of truth in this tale — the story did run in the November 1995 issue of Feathers, the California Poultry Industry Federation's newsletter. That doesn't mean the CPIF vetted it, though. They had picked it up — the same way everyone else had — from a friend of a friend. Further adding to the confusion over the validity of this tale, army Lt. Gen. Wes Clark has claimed the story is real on a number of occasions and is fond of using the anecdote in speeches.

Much as we hate to disagree with anyone with an army behind him, we just have to. The basic story (frozen bird fired by nincompoops) has been around for years, with the details always in flux. One researcher spotted a 1990 version, except in it those foolish British train
engineers were said to be American jet engine designers, thus the frozen chicken was fired not at a train window but at a jet engine. A 1988 book about Australian urban legends contained our chicken cannon tale — in that version, once again American engineers testing a jet engine mistakenly fire a frozen chicken at it with disastrous results. That 1988 sighting of our legend describes it as "an old legend of uncertain origin" which "re-emerged briefly in Australia after the space shuttle disaster of January 1986."

The chicken gun (also known as the chicken cannon, turkey gun, or rooster booster) has been around since 1972. It's used for the "chicken ingestion test," one of a series of stress tests required by the Federal Aviation Administration before a new jet engine design can be certified. The tests take place in a concrete building large enough to enclose an entire jet engine. With the engine operating at full speed, the cannon uses compressed air to shoot chicken carcasses into the turbine at 180 mph. (The Air Force is known to launch its poultry projectiles at 400 mph into F-16 canopies.)

Bird strikes can cause extensive damage to aircraft and serious injuries to their crews. At worst, they can be deadly confrontations. The Air Force estimates that planes hit about 3,000 birds every year, causing damages of $50 million and sometimes loss of human life. In a bird-strike accident in September 1995, 24 AWACS crew members were killed after takeoff from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska.

Some engineers prefer to go for realism in these tests and thus buy still-feathered firing fowl from game farms. (Er, at this point I should mention the birds are dead when cannonized.) Others, however, buy their catapulting poultry at the supermarket. Those who favor using thawed birds keep the carcasses frozen until just before test time, when a session in the microwave restores the avian missiles to a more natural condition. Not everyone fires thawed birds: before switching to fake birds, the U.S. Air Force traditionally launched frozen ones. (Sensitive to the concerns of animal-rights activists, they now fling birds made of clay and plastic at canopies and engines.) The way the Air Force had it figured, if a canopy could survive an impact with a frozen bird, it would certainly live through a chance introduction to one that could still fly under its own power. They further believed cold chickens provided a better simulation of a bird that had tensed to prepare for the impact.

That at least one high profile group of chicken flingers has used frozen poultry in its cannonizations puts this legend's punch line — and thus the legend itself — into the realm of lore, not that of reality. Clearly, it's not all that intuitive to use thawed poultry in these tests. Just as clearly, firing a frosted pullet bullet at something to be impact-tested isn't all that unreasonable an action to take.

The legend's appeal lies in its aura of smug superiority that "we" are smarter than "them." We, says the legend, would have known to use thawed birds. Moreover, when the other country screwed up, its engineers couldn't figure out the error on their own. We thus earned even more of a mental pat on the back in that it was our engineers who had to explain the "obvious" to these brainless foreigners.

Barbara "chicken catch-a-story" Mikkelson
I have been programming on computers since the ZX81.
I am an apprentice trained Electronics Engineer with qualifications to back it up.
I have been repairing computers since 1996.
Yet to some people I still know nothing...
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Postby evasive » Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:55 am

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Postby Karlsweldt » Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:32 am

"Mythbusters" does have some interesting shows.. and sometimes the 'myth' is true, other times false.
(Had trouble getting the site to log, may be too much traffic.. will try later.)

Yes, may be some truth to the incident of a "frozen" carcass, or an "inquisitive cat" in the equation.
"Air cannons" are frequently used in all fields of testing.. including tests of the resistance to building materials from flying missiles during tornadoes or extreme winds. Usually, a 2x4 (building stud) is used. But other "improbable" objects may be yanked into buildings with a high-speed cable winch. Many news stories about finding cars, boats, street signs or unfortunate animals being hurled into buildings by extreme winds.
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Postby cw4cam » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:46 pm

I worked at Pratt and Whitney aircraft r&d facility in the early sixties. They had a compressed air gun that fired chickens into the J58 engines that went on the SR 71 blackbird. I don't know how fast the chickens were going, but none of them ever damaged the engines that was running at "full military"
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Postby evasive » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:44 pm

I think those blades were specifically designed to withstand poultry... This is about the cockpit glass panes...
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Postby cw4cam » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:54 am

Most aircraft brought down by birds are from engine failure from swallowing birds. The point being I saw this in 1964.
"A pessimist sees a problem with an opportunity. an optimist sees an opportunity with a problem."
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Postby Mark H » Mon Oct 08, 2012 6:00 pm

When I saw the topic, I thought it was another of the silly, but addictive, games that come out this time of year :lol:
I have a photographic memory, only problem is, I ran out of film.
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Postby Karlsweldt » Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:19 pm

Bird strikes to aircraft are more common than noted. Usually, a strike to the fuselage by "small" birds does no damage.. except to the birds. But larger birds, such as geese, can cause severe damage. Take the instance of a plane that had to land in the Hudson River in New York City on Dec 28, 2009. All engines of that plane ingested birds on take-off, and it was severe enough that all engines failed!
The first-stage blades of a jet engine are usually composite, strong yet light-weight.. to avoid damage. But the blades within the engine are ceramic, to withstand high temperatures.. and are quite brittle! Any object going beyond the first set of blades can cause a jet engine to fail. Older-style propeller planes had problems with birds, too.. the propeller blades could snap, and severe imbalance could cause loss of control. But birds were a minor problem over war zones.. bullets did more damage.
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