Yesterday's crash-landing in the Hudson of a U.S. Airways flight was nothing short of miraculous (big up to Captain Sully--support him for Secretary of Transportation!). Equally miraculous was the cause of the crash in the first place: a flock of birds being sucked into the engine intake. Don't they test for this stuff? As it turns out, they do. As Ask The Pilot's Patrick Smith notes, "Birdstrikes, as they're called, are fairly common and seldom harmful (unless, of course you're talking from the bird's point of view).... I've seen videos of bird carcasses being fired from a sort of chicken cannon to test the resistance of windshields, intakes and so forth. Occasionally, however, strikes can be serious, or even deadly -- especially when engines are involved." Now, the emphasis is mine, but this statement was too intriguing to be left unexplored. As usual, YouTube delivers. Check out two amazing video below: the first includes a tasteful slowmo sequence of dead-bird carcasses being mercilessly turned to chum by turbine blades (not as gory as you'd think, unless you count the red ejecta that spews out the rear as offensive); the second showcases the aforementioned "sort of chicken cannon" as it blasts what is presumably a chicken into the windscreen of an airplane fuselage (is that an Aeroflot logo?) at an impossibly high speed. You learn something new every day.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUBv-ph4820[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp7uLTNiGrQ("Flock of Birds" by Flickr user Ilya Boyandin.)
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