NASA damage testing

It seems that NASA and the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have 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 the FAA’s chicken launcher, loaded the chicken and fired. The ballistic chicken shattered the windshield, went through the engineer’s chair, broke an instrument panel and embedded itself in the back wall of the engine 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.”