Minced Chicken

The US Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive calling for the inspection of Boeing 777s, following two separate incidents involving Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines on Saturday.

“We reviewed all available safety data,” the FAA said in a statement. “Based on the initial information, we concluded that the inspection interval should be stepped up for the hollow fan blades that are unique to this model of engine, used solely on Boeing 777 airplanes.”

In the US, one of the engines on a United Airlines Boeing 777 exploded shortly after it took off from Denver en route to Honolulu.

The United aircraft’s engine explosion scattered debris over a Denver suburb of Broomfield. Nobody was injured.

Luckily, with today’s engines, this test is done:

The chicken gun test (and yes, we all know the apocrypha about British Rail borrowing it).

The point being not that an engine must survive a bird strike or other such failure. Rather, that it doesn’t power thousands of strips of superfast nickel turbine blades through the passenger cabin, fuel tanks or control surfaces…….

37 thoughts on “Minced Chicken”

  1. “turbine blades”

    They’re in the small hot bit at the back, take more than a birdstrike to get them…concrete breeze block strike perhaps…

    Bird strike risks shedding compressor blades, which is bad enough, especially in modern turbofans. The blades are very big and carry a lot of oomph. There is supposed to be a kevlar sleeve around them to contain the bits, which does seem to be the case here, as the cabin wasn’t shredded, but the engine casing was removed.

    So it looks as if the containment was OK, but the engine fail, and 2 in a weekend, not so good.

    Turns out Boing became McDonnel-Douglas, rather than the intended takeover…
    “I believe pigs and even DC10 can fly…”
    “But I cannot believe China Joe Biden is president…”

  2. Back to OP, in this case the containment appeared to have worked.
    A while back, a Quaintarse A380 out of Singapore had an engine blow where the containment didn’t.
    The resultinmg shrapnel totalled most of the aircraft systems.
    Amazingly, the pilot, by some very cool thinking, managed to overcome both the damage and the lousy MMI of the aircraft systems, and safely landed the plane.
    There’s an excellent book on the topic, written by said captain.

    One line I remember: “Stop telling about what’s not working…..tell me something that is!”

    The Fault Management Computer was still issuing alerts, requiring manual cancellation, long after they’d landed, the backlog being so huge.

    Uncontained engine failure is not normally survivable.
    In this 777 case, looks like the engine containment did it’s job correctly. Though of course, we’d rather it didn’t need to.

  3. ‘Turns out Boing became McDonnel-Douglas, rather than the intended takeover’

    I’ve heard it argued that MD bought Boeing using Boeing’s money…

    Also, IIRC the reason for trijets like the DC-10 and Tristar was due to the fear of engine failure (over the Rockies), it was the improved reliability of later turbofans that lead to them being superseded but (more economical) Twins like the 767.

  4. My uncle led the team at Rolls-Royce which developed the RB211, way back when. My memory might be failing me, but I’m pretty sure they fired chickens at them then, too (unless that’s what you mean by ‘today’s engines’, Tim).

    It was all informed by this sort of accident

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans-Canada_Air_Lines_Flight_304

    The woman in question was beheaded next to her children. Horrific doesn’t really do it justice.

  5. @Tim the Coder “One line I remember: “Stop telling about what’s not working…..tell me something that is!””

    Good one. I’d have deliberately cut myself so that someone could say

    “you’re bleeding”

    Just so I could say

    “I ain’t got time to bleed”

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Andrew C February 22, 2021 at 10:55 am – “Just so I could say “I ain’t got time to bleed””

    Yeah but then you get sliced, gutted and mounted by an alien. So it is not as fun as it sounds.

    I would like to know what circumstance anyone would say “There’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man. We’re all gonna die.” Perhaps if Carrie invites us out to dinner to talk over the rights and wrongs of transsexuality.

    Mind you, I do say “A goddamn sexual Tyranasaurus” all the time.

  7. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    You won’t be able to use chickens to do that after the Great Reset. Chickens will be banned along with all other meat, as they cause global warming, and harbour respiratory viruses.

    Fortunately the Masters of the Reset have also determined that you won’t be flying anywhere ever again (and you’ll be happy about it), so aircraft engine safety won’t be an issue.

    Exceptions will have to be made for the engines on the private jets of Reset Masters, and there will be some leftover chicken for them to enjoy in-flight as well.

  8. Bloke in North Dorset

    @Tim the Coder,

    There was a similar problem with the 3 Mile Island accident. There we so many alarms and distractions that the systems engineers got confused and didn’t react fast enough. One of the outcomes of the investigations was not to have loud klaxons and/or big red flashing lights when something goes wrong to help maintain air of calm so that people can try to think rationally.

  9. “Also, IIRC the reason for trijets like the DC-10 and Tristar was due to the fear of engine failure (over the Rockies), it was the improved reliability of later turbofans that lead to them being superseded but (more economical) Twins like the 767.”

    I thought the introduction of trijets was due to the limitations placed on twins at the time. They couldn’t fly more than two hours from an airport or whatever.

    So trijets got around that problem and were cheaper to run than quads.

    ETOPs changed all that and made trijets redundant.

  10. When I worked for an airline in the 1990s I heard a story of a RR exectutive who was asked why he only flew transatlantic on 4-engined aircraft. The answer was that no-one had invented a 5-engined one.

    Then, beginning in the mid-1990s, ETOPS became a big thing. BA chose the twin-engined 777 in preference to the 4-engined A340, banking on ETOPS right from entry into service.

    Engines became more and more reliable, ETOPS worked, and trijets were squeezed out of viability between cheaper twins and higher-capacity 747s and A380s.

    Also, engines became bigger, twins became bigger, and that eventually squeezed out the viability of the 747s and A380s.

  11. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    “Also, engines became bigger, twins became bigger”

    And the 737 has doubled or more in capacity since its debut, hasn’t it.

    Speaking of small twins, I once crossed the Atlantic in an A320, Newark to Porto. Hoping to experience it again some day. TAP became my favourite airline for transatlantics and were enjoying large amounts of my clients’ money until we entered Xi’s world.

  12. I’m genuinely sorry to see that BiG is treading a path more traditionally trodden by Ecks and others (Xi’s world), if only because over the years I’ve grown to see BiG as a sensible and thoughtful commentator and that makes me worry that there might be something to all of this. I must admit, I don’t know what IS going on, but I don’t believe the official stories.

  13. A little actuarial thought experiment for you to ‘enjoy’. Suppose there was an airline with guaranteed 100% safety, they were absolutely certain to keep you alive and in good health from the moment you arrived at the airport until you left at your transatlantic destination. Should I fly with them in preference to a first world major? The answer (as with all actuarial questions) is “it depends”. If they only fly from Stansted and not Heathrow, for me the extra 100 miles driving to reach the airport is a bit more ‘dangerous’ than crossing the Atlantic.

    That’s how safe air travel is in the 21st century.

  14. Worked at an aerospace engine maintenance plant years ago and still remember going down to see an engine that had come in after a bird strike with a vulture, pretty big hole in the blades. As said no one hurt as engines being hit by something and blowing up is something that engineers actually think about in advance.

  15. Interested, I don’t know what is going on either. The generous assessment is that the politicians have backed themselves into a corner and genuinely don’t know how to get out.

    Here in Germany we have almost total media loyalty to the regime. You don’t need my 20 year background in medical research to see that the base claim (corona is an extraordinary threat) is bullshit, surrounded by secondary claims that throw 100 years of basic tenets of epidemiology, immunology, diagnostics, screening, and virology out of the window, to realise that the death numbers are massively padded because they greatly exceed excess mortaliry in those places that have any noteworthy excess (Germany does not but the entire media spins it as if we do), that the goalposts for unlocking keep moving, and that anyone daring to speak what we knew as medical science before February 2020 is aggressively taken out.

    I cannot bring myself to believe in a WEF Gates Bilderberg CCP conspiracy, but there is something mighty weird going on, and I am certain that the CCP is taking as much opportunistic advantage as possible. Prior to his defenestration

    It is as if we have shifted into some Murakami-esque parallel universe. The closest I can come is this is the biggest mass psychosis event that has ever happened. What started as a governmental Asch conformity experiment was vastly more successful than anyone imagined possible and has now got out of hand. The initial motivation nothing more than the incorrect (but ultimately forgivable) assumption early in the pandemic that the infection fatality rate was 3% rather than 0.3%. And how can Merkel, Boris, Macron etc Al ever admit they got it wrong?

    But, if it really is just that, tell me please why vaccination is not, as I and many others predicted it would be, being used as the fig leaf to roll back the restrictions while keeping the politicians modesty intact?

  16. Why are so many that should know better in on this? Drosten who is at the heart of this claiming we will have an apocalyptic mutant summer third wave, otherwise an eminent scientist with a track record of pooh poohing epidemic claims, though he looks like a very worried man these days. The health minister Karl Lauterbach is a doctor but one of the most swivel-eyed of the Branch Covidians.

    Are they all just conforming?

  17. I’ve wondered if the powers that be all know it’s a leaked lab virus even though they don’t have public proof and are over cautious as they are afraid of its potential. Would also explain why they consistently refuse to act as if it doesn’t behave like any other coronavirus,e.g. discounting seasonality for a start or the worries over herd immunity
    Given obesity is a key risk it wouldn’t be surprising for Chinese to target that as a factor in the western world

  18. Ummmm

    Could they really keep it that secret, all the world? A year ago maybe it was just plausible that government somewhere in the west had some secret intelligence that engendered panic, but a year on and so much evidence that it ain’t that bad, why keep it up.

  19. @BiG

    “But, if it really is just that, tell me please why vaccination is not, as I and many others predicted it would be, being used as the fig leaf to roll back the restrictions while keeping the politicians modesty intact?”

    We’ve actually had a hint of that here today. Very optimistic chat about the effectiveness of the vaccines and Boris saying we’ll be fully open in May/June with no going back.

    I hope you’re right that it’s just their egos, but the whole thing stinks one way or another.

    Principally, what did ‘they’ – Johnson and his advisers here, but the same they everywhere – have to gain as against just saying ‘Phew! False alarm folks!’ in April?

    Though, playing Devil’s Advocate, much as I think lockdown was the wrong response (and cost lives itself) it probably did keep Covid deaths down – people not mixing has to have an impact on viruses that transmit through human contact. And given that hospitals have been stretched here at times (I know doctors, family and friends, who assure me it has been bad at times) maybe it just is that they did not want the political fall out of three months of footage of mortuaries, corteges, weeping families and burials -which is what our despicable media would have given them. I very much hope so.

    I have a daughter at university at the moment who is due to spend next year in Deutschland (she’s doing a German degree) so I don’t much like the sound of Herr Drosten. Tell me more!

  20. The video shown is NOT a bird strike test, but is a blade off test. The rig with an A frame in front of the engine and a stick from that to the nose of the fan disk carries a cable to trigger the explosive charge fixed to the root of one fan blade. 3 … 2 … 1 … bang BANG rattle rattle as a few million quid of engine is reduced to scrap. More interesting is to find a front on view and super slow-motion so you can see the other fan blades bend without breaking off.
    And BTW – they are FAN blades, not TURBINE blades. The turbine blades are in the hot bit in the middle which is relatively small compared to the overall engine size. The big disk of blades you can see at the front are a shaft driven fan that sends almost all of the intake air around the outside of the turbine core.
    And as mentioned, around the fan disk is a ballistic containment ring to catch the fast moving bits – and appears to have done it’s job in the Denver incident.

  21. So Much For Subtlety

    Interested February 22, 2021 at 10:31 pm – “Principally, what did ‘they’ – Johnson and his advisers here, but the same they everywhere – have to gain as against just saying ‘Phew! False alarm folks!’ in April?”

    The media savaging them. Assigning every single death to Boris or Trump. I even saw someone last night claim Covid has killed more Americans than WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam or something. The advisors will also be fired. If they say their models are wrong or their advice was misjudged, they will not get that retirement home in Umbria.

    “Though, playing Devil’s Advocate, much as I think lockdown was the wrong response (and cost lives itself) it probably did keep Covid deaths down – people not mixing has to have an impact on viruses that transmit through human contact.”

    Did it? Does it? Sweden suggests not. It worked in China but they are a ruthless totalitarian state. No where in the West have people been willing to do that. So they may have slowed the spread but the same number of people will die.

    “And given that hospitals have been stretched here at times”

    Have they? Trump rushed a hospital ship to New York and it was not used. Britain built dozens of field hospitals. Which were not used. It may be that some hospitals were pushed but we have not had a problem with hospital capacity.

    Again the annoying thing is that Fauci is the same man who refused any sort of lock down or travel ban for America’s Ebola outbreak.

  22. SMFS:
    About Sweden, there is a lot of decrease in human contact, due to working from home, restricted numbers in cafes, bars restaurants and shops, post-16 schools going online, large gatherings forbidden, public transport being discouraged, and social life in general being discouraged. The difference is that much of the decreased mixing comes from the public following advice, rather than being threatened with fines, jail, whatever. To be clear, I think that Sweden’s approach is morally right, and given the numbers, is probably right from an economics / utilitarian point of view as well.

  23. Bloke in North Dorset

    Though, playing Devil’s Advocate, much as I think lockdown was the wrong response (and cost lives itself) it probably did keep Covid deaths down – people not mixing has to have an impact on viruses that transmit through human contact.

    It doesn’t spread through contact, it an aerosol. That’s why lock downs don’t work in winter, unless you go full Chinese and weld people in to their apartment blocks.

    Someone has to go out and work and shop: bins need emptying, emergency plumbers, shop staff, nurses, doctors, Internet engineers etc etc. They catch it and take it home and with everyone locked up the damn thing has an easy time spreading. That’s also why it has affected the lower socio-economic classes worst – fewer can work from home, smaller homes and larger families etc.

    And if the viral load theory is still accurate, I haven’t seen anything recently, it also explains why there’s more hospitalisations and deaths, people stuck at home rebreathing it until they get really sick. Made worse if they go out with a mask on while they’re asymptomatic.

  24. Wot BiG said in spades. I’m almost convinced that the Covid-19 panic, be it a natural virus that jumped species or a laboratory creation, was an absolute blinder of a psy-ops exercise by the Chinese. What better way to induce mass panic at state level than have a “deadly” virus released on the world and then clamp down on your own citizens who have caught the virus. Leak videos of people being sealed into apartment buildings, nightly funeral pyres and people wandering around in hazmat suits etc., and bingo job done. Western governments shit themselves as they really haven’t got a clue what to do in a crisis and collectively they go into meltdown knowing full well that every action or inaction is going to be scrutinised to the nth degree in the press. Across the entire globe people the anti-social policies and lows enacted by governments which resulted in economic slowdown like we’ve never seen before plays right into China’s hands. How best to defeat your enemies without firing a single shot than to destroy their economies. It wouldn’t wouldn’t surprise me, given the alacrity with which companies and corporations will adopt any old woke bullshit that comes their way, that the likes of BLM, Antifa and the tranny activitists are funded with cash that originates from CCP sources.

  25. @BiND

    “It doesn’t spread through contact, it an aerosol. That’s why lock downs don’t work in winter, unless you go full Chinese and weld people in to their apartment blocks.”

    Well of course it spreads through contact. Snotty noses, snotty fingers, touching stuff doesn’t spread it? You’re having a giraffe.

    But yep it’s also and maybe mainly (?) spread by aerosol, and if you’re 30 miles from people you’re normally ten feet from it works to stop that method, too. My wife ordinarily works in an office of 200 people and gets occasional colds which she passes on to me (I ‘work’ from home). We both go to the pub once or twice a week in normal times and clearly there’s a lot of aerosol and other contact there. She’s been working at home since March and the pubs are closed and… no colds. Yes, we’ve been to the shops. We’ve also had people round and been to other people’s houses all along, in flagrant defiance of the law 🙂

    But clearly our contacts and those of our friends – one couple we see regularly, the bloke is in and out of India and Singapore/HK etc on a literally weekly basis in normal times, she works in a building with 400 people, both working from home since March – have been much the less.

    I’m not saying lockdowns are the right thing to do (they’re not), nor that they stop all infections (they obviously don’t), nor that the CCP isn’t involved every step of the way (I think it probably is), but asserting that ‘lockdowns don’t work in winter’ is just that, an assertion. Your suggestion that lockdowns don’t work because poorer people have suffered more because they can’t work from home seems illogical at best.

    I repeat: I’m against lockdowns. I was very concerned about this at the start, but two or three weeks in I started to come round to the majority view here, and it’s only getting more obvious all the time.

    Something very odd is happening and I’d like to know what. But that doesn’t alter simple facts.

  26. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    I know we have some real old Hong Kong hands here who I am sure can confirm just how much the place has changed in the 15 years I have been visiting. That, in the city that is the closest thing to clockwork-organised chaos on earth, did not come from nowhere, it came from the top. China is the world pioneer of the surveilance state and has no problem at all with the west copying, just as its industries have no problem copying from the west.

    30 years ago the only Chinese you ever met, the wealthiest of the wealthy who could travel, were stick-thin gaunt slackjawed men with cheap hairdye in cheaper identikit suits. That makes it harder to believe that the CCPs capabilities, and wishes, really are what they are. Jinping is as great a threat to world freedom as Hitler or Stalin were in their time and we would do well to bear that in mind. Westerners conceptually separate a country’s people and government in a way the CCP wants you not to. Insult the leader and you have just offended the nation. We need to not play that game.

  27. Bloke in China (Germany province)

    Remember about lockdowns, these were sold to a terrified public to “flatten the curve” and thereby prevent the overwhelming of health systems. They were never, supposedly, intended as a tool to reduce the area under the curve.

    I find the evidence for their efficacy even patchier than that for masks, which I think do have a very marginal effect, on the balance of probabilities. Germany is a great demonstration of this as statistics are collected state by state, but the current lockdown, which is near total (you can go to the supermarket and doctors but nowhere else) was imposed nationally on the same day in early December. Every state then did its own completely random* thing in terms of covid “cases”, “deaths”, hospitalisations, and all-cause deaths.

    Yesterday we learned that hospital turnover was down 20% last year, so so much for the healthcare system being overstretched. Health insurance is still going up this year, allegedly to pay for covid.

    *: actually not random but very dependent on how hard the state had been hit in the first wave (NRW hard, Saxony not), or got over the second wave before lockdown (Hessen).

  28. Bloke in North Dorset

    Interested,

    Well of course it spreads through contact. Snotty noses, snotty fingers, touching stuff doesn’t spread it? You’re having a giraffe.

    Have you got any evidence for that because there’s a bunch of scientists would like your help?

    No traces of Covid have been found on London’s underground stations, Tubes and buses by scientists investigating the virus.

    Experts from Imperial College are taking swabs at ticket machines, barriers, escalators at Tube stations and vertical grab poles and other hotspots passengers might touch on board trains.

    Since they started testing in October last year, every sample has come back negative for the virus.

    They are also taking samples from the air to see if there are traces of the virus.

    A Transport for London spokesman explained how it works. “The process that is used is swabs are taken of heavily touched areas like ticket barriers, stop buttons on buses, rails and handles on Tube trains and escalator handrails, and a machine that draws in around 300 litres of air per minute to test for any airborne traces. None of the tests have returned any positive results throughout the testing.”

  29. @BiND

    Interested,

    Well of course it spreads through contact. Snotty noses, snotty fingers, touching stuff doesn’t spread it? You’re having a giraffe.

    Have you got any evidence for that because there’s a bunch of scientists would like your help?

    I don’t think it’s in dispute that it is secreted in nasal mucus and saliva – that’s why they swab noses as a means of locating it. If we’re into LMGTFY, why don’t you show authoritative studies that it cannot be passed on from surfaces (snotty fingers)? I suspect you will only find studies showing that it is surprisingly rare, not that it can’t and doesn’t happen.

    But, as I said, yes, the principal way in which it is then passed on seems to be through aerosol, inc coughing (the contents of your snotty nose entering another person) and breathing. I assume you would concede that hundreds of thousands of people jammed into the Tube breathing into each others’ faces from 2ft away for cumulative hours every day is likely to have had an impact, aerosol wise?

    The key point really is that even if lockdowns spread out the inevitable number of cases – ie they lowered the curve, and I suspect they probably did, if only from personal experience of my year in coughs and sneezes – they were not sensible from an economic (and other health issues) standpoint. Great Barrington was the obvious way, and still is, other than letting the fucker rip.

    The key question – and it might be the most important question of my lifetime – is what informed and informs the government’s decision to go with them. Is it the mindless lockstep of a political class, informed by germophobe nerds advising them in misguided good faith, and terrified of bad headlines, in a world driven half mad by the divisions of social media, or something much more sinister?

    I would love to know the answer.

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