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Markus Wennrich - Tue Feb 02 09:19:25 1999

As you may know, for aircraft, one of the biggest dangers out there in the 
skies is flying into birds, or "Bird Strikes".  Many times these Bird 
Strikes can result in the aircraft being damaged, usually when it smashes 
the windshield and lands in the pilot's / co-pilot's face.  

The FAA recently started using a new tool to test the safety of new 
planes.  A "gun" of sorts is now used to test the strength of the 
winshields of new aircraft.  It can be set for different strengths of 
firing, based on how fast the aircraft will be traveling.  Testers load a 
dead chicken into this gun, and fire it directly at the windshield of the 
plane, simulating a bird strike.  Thus far, it has proven rather effective 
in diagnosing problems with aircraft design.  

A group in England has recently produced the world's fastest locomotive, 
surpassing the Japanese.  They caught wind of how the FAA was doing their 
tests, and thought it was a great idea.  The FAA was more than happy to 
loan one of their "chicken rifles" to them for the test.  Well, when they 
fired a chicken at the windshield of the locomotive, they were rather 
disappointed to find that the chicken not only went through the 
windshield, it severly damaged the conductor's chair, and made a large 
dent in the wall behind the chair.  

Needless to say, they were rather concerned that their rather costly 
locomotive was so vulnerable to bird strikes.  They called the FAA to make 
sure they had gotten the speed settings correct on the gun, and that all 
of the conditions were proper for this experiment.  The FAA told them they 
had done everything right, with one exception.  They instructed this group 
of English engineers to re-create the test, but use a dead chicken that 
was not FROZEN.  

The moral of the story?  Next time you're driving/flying through that 
aisle at the back of the supermarket, take care to avoid those rare frozen 
flying chickens.   

nick@roses.de                   http://www.roses.de/~nick/

Never trust a man wearing a better suit than your own. (Ferengi ROA 47)