Aircraft bird strikes
Mon, 24 Aug 1998 05:33:33 +1000
On 22 Aug 1998 Stephen Mannix wrote
>I wonder if anyone can remember a certain radio program that may have
>been on recently concerning studies on the effects that different bird
>species have when they come into contact with an aeroplane engine.
I can't help with the radio program, but there's a story, probably
apocryphal, which is worth repeating, in case any birding-aus subscriber
hasn't heard it.
A very fast train was being developed and the engineers wondered about the
possibility of a bird strike, and whether the glass of the windscreen would
stand a strike from say a wild duck when the train was travelling at top
Someone had heard that an aircraft design company had built a test gun
that could be set to fire a bird at any predetermined speed. This was
tracked down and borrowed. Being kind-hearted people, they didn't want to
kill a wild bird and reckoned that a medium-sized chicken from the
supermarket should do just as well.
The gun was set to a little over the maximum design speed of the train, and
fired. Not only was the windscreen shattered but a sizable dint was put in
the steel wall at the back of the cab. Consternation! Advice was sought
from the owners of the gun:
"Do you think we should have thawed the chicken out first?"
H Syd Curtis
The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering
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