The Mail has a piece about the tests that a plane goes through to gain certification.
We’ve been involved in one of these, although a step back. In the certification of a new alloy to build wings out of. And the method was to simply go and build a wing out of the new alloy and then spend years bending it, spraying it with salt water, de-icing chemicals, freezing it, heating it and so on and on and then bending it again etc. As far as I know in fact, they’re still doing it.
And then there’s the other lovely story:
A chicken gun is a large-diameter, compressed-air cannon used to test the strength of aircraft windshields and the safety of jet engines. Bird collisions are a common danger to aircraft, so they must be strong enough to resist them.
Author Simon Winchester wrote in his book Leviathans of the Sky: ‘A gun was built that would fire eight thawed twenty-four-ounce chickens at the [jet engine] blades in less than a second – a simulation of a bird strike.’
British Rail tried this once. On the 125s, so the story goes. And as the story goes it all went horribly wrong, the chicken smashing through the windscreen, the steel back of the chair (where the driver would have been) and embedding itself in the back of the cab.
The opening line of the report into this disaster being, as the story goes, “When using the chicken gun first defrost your chicken”.