Dead Frozen Chickens and Airplane Windshields

  Locations of visitors to this page
be notified of website changes? subscribe

Dead Frozen Chickens and Airplane Windshields

From: Wendy Webster (

Date: Fri, 29 Sep 1995

The FAA has a device for testing the strength of windshields on airplanes. They point this thing at the windshield of the aircraft and shoot a dead chicken at about the speed the air- craft normally flies at it. If the windshield doesn't break, it's likely to survive a real collision with a bird during flight.

The British had recently built a new locomotive that could pull a train faster than any before it. They were not sure that its windshield was strong enough so they borrowed the testing device from the FAA, reset it to approximate the maximum speed of the locomotive, loaded in the dead chicken, and fired. The bird went through the windshield, broke the engineer's chair, and made a major dent in the back wall of the engine cab.

They were quite surprised with this result, so they asked the FAA to check the test to see if everything was done correctly. The FAA checked everything and suggested that they might want to repeat the test using a thawed chicken.

When I used to work for Lockheed at the factory in Marietta, GA, there was a story going around that they used to test the strength of C-130 windscreens by shooting chickens at them. According to the story, the local populace took exception to the idea because Lockheed was using live chickens. So in deference to the humane sensibilities, they started using dead chickens - frozen ones at that. Tells you something about the Herky-bird, doesn't it?


Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

What's New?  •  Search this Site  •  Website Map
Travel  •  Burning Man  •  San Francisco
Kilts! Kilts! Kilts!  •  Macintosh  •  Technology  •  CU-SeeMe
This page is copyrighted 1993-2008 by Lila, Isaac, Rose, and Mickey Sattler. All rights reserved.