too sensible for Wikipedia,
but Illogicopedia loves the truth.
The NASA Chicken Gun is one of the several large diameter compressed air cannons used by the Federal Aviation Administration and US Air Force to test the strength of Aircraft Windshields and the strength of Jet Engines when brought against birds. One of the most common dangers associated with flying in an airplane are flying into a flock of birds. The NASA chicken gun simulates a flock of birds being crashed into either the windshield or jet turbine to see if they can withstand and what changes need to be made.
It is named after its usual projectile: a whole standard sized chicken, as would be used for cooking. This has been found to accurately simulate a fairly large bird. The test target is fixed in place on a test stand, and the cannon is used to fire the chicken into the engine, windshield, or other test structure.
- Get chicken (must NOT be alive, but MUST be THAWED)
- Place in gun
- Fire at vehicle/aircraft
- Watch the feathers fly
- Observe results (may or may not include explosion)
There is a longstanding urban legend about the gun being loaned to some other agency, who fired frozen chickens instead of thawed chickens. Research indicates that this is apparently a myth, though in actual fact everybody knows this is true, but the US Government implemented a large cover-up to keep the RSPCA quiet.
Guns are operated by the FAA and the US Air Force as well as NASA to test the strength and durability of their Space Shuttles.
- Arnold Air Force Base Test Department
- (PDF) Arnold AFB test facilities capabilities, including range S3, Bird Impact Range
- Article on the US Air Force gun at FODNews.com
- Snopes entry on frozen chicken myth
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