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Give thanks for the fowl shot into jet engines in the name of safety

Give thanks for the fowl shot into jet engines in the name of safety

Give thanks for the fowl shot into jet engines in the name of safety
November 24
18:29 2017


A flock of birds near a Delta plane as it lands at Reagan International Airport in Washington, DC.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

A flock of birds near a Delta plane as it lands at Reagan International Airport in Washington, DC.

As you make your way home from a turkey-filled weekend, spare a thought for some late birds that didn’t even make it to the table: the fowl that jet-engine makers shoot into airplane engines to ensure your flight is a safe one.

Long before your airplane’s engines are installed, manufacturers, such as General Electric and United Technologies‘ unit Pratt and Whitney, shoot dozens of bird carcasses into jet engines from giant air guns to test the machinery’s ability to safely ingest such animals without disrupting the takeoff and climb.

The tests, mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration and other aviation safety agencies, are crucial to ensuring safe flying for passengers, as birds flock near airports and pose a threat to planes.

In what is perhaps the most famous case, on Jan. 15, 2009, the twin engines of a U.S. Airways Airbus A320 lost thrust after colliding with a flock of Canada geese moments after taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed the plane in what became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson” as all 155 people on board survived.



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