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The ultimate strategic weapon- the chicken cannon!

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An article I had pointed out to me off of the tinker's guild forum of The Whiteboard-
The chicken cannon solution!



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Yo, Badger!

I noticed the article predates the Columbia disaster by a couple of months. The device described in the article sounds similar to the one they've been using the past few days to shoot pieces of foam insulation at one of the Discovery's wings. At any rate, silly as the device may sound, bird impacts are a serious aviation hazard, serious enough that some airports have experimented with having predators prowl the airport to keep out geese and other larger birds that might endanger aircraft.

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The Royal Canadian Air Farce has employed a chicken cannon for many years now.

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Of course, I've known of chicken cannons for many years, and have read a lot of articles on them.
The reason I sent this one in was the humor in how it had been written.
I thought it was damn funny- and I thought other folks would get a kick out of it.

Thats IRON Badger to all those who hadn't figured out who I was.;)

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what a ridiculous waste of money

they could just calculate this type of thing and spend the money re-designing the shape and density of material used to withstand impacts

see? if youre too stupid to do math or physics (or any other subject), you can still be a scientist

all you have to do is come up with a goofy experiment and catalog the results (data entry) and then let the engineers do what they should have done in the first place

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Mathematics will only get you so far. There are many real-life events which cannot be accurately predicted through theroretical calculations, or may be more easily determined through physical testing.
Besides, when it comes down to it, the only way to know for *sure* if something works is to test its designed function. In the case of aircraft windshields it's MUCH cheaper to find out if they will fail on the ground, than in the air.


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Stupidity? Ignorance?

You display your own appalling levels of both in what you have written here, mister too-callow to sign your name to your reply.

Cordite has a most valid point-
In mathematics and physics, there are too many variables in something as common as birdstrikes, (The correct term in aviation,) to trust to computer or paper simulations to determine if a canopy will withstand the impact at speed and prevent a disaster from happening.

You clearly have neither real world experience in mechanics or science, nor the guts to stand up for your convictions and admit to who you are.
So your opinion is slightly amusing in its naiivete, but otherwise meaningless.

-Iron Badger-

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Amen to the comments of Cordite and Iron Badger.

What scares me is that it's people like "Anonymous on" who end up in managerial and regulatory positions of influence. If you were a test pilot and Anonymous on's disdainful, but obviously superior brain had declared a prototype plane to be safe based on his calculations, would you be willing to take the first flight?


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well cordite, the problem is birds getting sucked into jet engines, or wherever they put the intake ports ,not crashing into windshields
thats the problem with turbines: thier fragile and they suck air like a *****
a bird will be pulled in if they go near

and #2
most test pilot crashes are from flying experiemental aircraft that suffer mechanical/electrical failures
(that goes for regular aircraft too)

these are laws of physics we're talking about anyway, if you know the absolute maximum velocity of the plane, with however fast a bird might be traveling , or the largest bird that could possibly hit, and the materials you are building with can withstand that amount of energy from an impact, then yes, i would say paper results are fine

and a "real world" test isnt going to prevent a disaster,
(as if a chicken fired from a cannon at a plane parked in a hanger in any way, shape, or form reflects reality....)

and for myself , yes, if i was "testing" something and an engineer showed me SOLID math behind a design i would be comfortable trying it out, whatever it may be

as for you "iron badger",
if for some reason you think im afraid of you or making my identity public, or whatever the ***** your issue is

please email me:
i aint afraid of spam, i aint afraid of you either

and if you dont have anything to say that merits a reply, dont expect one

(this goes for anyone who decides to vent thier pathetic rage at me through my email address)

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Having seen on numerous occassions, and been personally involved with, the blunders perpetrated by engineers and their ilk I would be skeptical of any purely-paper design however "solid" it may be deemed. (My apologies in advance, but we are, unfortunately, only human).

As for the rest of your arguments, they are correct to a degree, with birdstrikes to engines accounting for 17% of the total strikes and 34% of overall damage to aircraft (according to statistics provided by the Wildlife Mitigation Committee report to the FAA 1990-2001). The windscreen accounted for 18% of the strike locations, but only 7% of the reported damage, which is still signifigant. The other principal strike locations were the wing and nose/radome (total of 37% damage) which are locations which might also be tested (and are) through the use of a "chicken cannon" .

It must be remembered however, that these are civil statistics, and the flight characteristics and operating environments of military aircraft are very different. An article from Aerospace Engineering Online has some interesting info, including a picture of a birdstrike simulated with the chicken cannon.
As the article states the cannon allows for the high-speed filming of the actual impact scenario, which provides the designers with further input to improve construction with "substantial savings to the aircraft programs".

And yes, one could build a brutishly solid design which would withstand any possible collision with wildlife, but these are aircraft we're talking about. The desire to reduce weight and bulk is paramount, so simple overdesigning may not be the preference.

Just for kicks however (and keeping in mind that I'm not a ballistician) a 4 pound bird (28,000 grains!) meeting an object at 900 mph (1300 fps) generates about 95,000 ft./lbs! Given that a .50 BMG puts out a meager 14,000 ft/lbs, and a 20mm M50 around 40,000 ft/lbs at the muzzle, that birdstrike is far in excess of even anticipated ballistic incursion. It's a good thing they're not tungsten-cored!

Clearly several sources have indicated that this programme is cost-effective, and since it has been ongoing since 1972, it is obviously of some value. I'm sure there are plenty of other projects which consume many more resources for comparitively little gain which criticism would be better directed at.


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