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 Post subject: bird strike plane engine testing- your thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:32 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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I'm not even sure if this is the right forum to discuss this, but I wanted other vegan and veggie's thoughts.

I've only done a little research on the topic, but from what I have read, yes, they use dead chicken (and some times other dead birds, but I am unsure where they collect said birds...) when testing engines in planes to handle the stress of a bird flying thru them.

I've also read that they do have some fake bird options out there, like fabric bags with gelatin in them (once again, still using animal products), or big blocks of gel (made of gelatin), or clay like material items. So it looks like they can do a lot of testing with something slighly better than a chicken, but it sounds like the final test still ends up being done with a true bird body.

I feel kind of torn about this topic. I understand the need to make sure that our planes are safe to be flying over head and aren't going to drop out of the sky because a hawk flies into on. I also know that in order to have a scientific study be valid, you kind of need to use the real thing. Bird skeletal make up is different then animals and or some forms of plastic/clay/etc. that they might be able to make as a substitute. So, in the end, with all the testing, I feel like the scientist are still going to need to use at minium, one bird in the final test.

We live in a capitalistic country, and I think you would be hard pressed to find a company that is going to go out of their way to design and create a form of fake bird that could be used in testing, and still be cost effective for the researchers.

So, with out a lot of yelling, will people give me their thoughts on this?


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 Post subject: Re: bird strike plane engine testing- your thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 2:46 pm 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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Why not use the torsos of deceased humans? Or aborted fetuses?

I'm picturing fetuses and torsos flying around in a wind tunnel and it's making me laugh. God, I'm sick.

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 Post subject: Re: bird strike plane engine testing- your thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:21 pm 
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In what real-life scenario are humans and fetuses going to be flying through airplane engines, though?

(You made me laugh too, sicko!)

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 Post subject: Re: bird strike plane engine testing- your thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:46 pm 
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Mispronounces Daiya
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Pretty graphic discussion of animal and human use in mechanical tests following so I'll put a spoiler tag in case someone would prefer not to read that. I learn most of it during my mechanical engineering masters' in a course on crashes.

Spoiler: show
soupgirl wrote:
I've also read that they do have some fake bird options out there, like fabric bags with gelatin in them (once again, still using animal products), or big blocks of gel (made of gelatin), or clay like material items. So it looks like they can do a lot of testing with something slighly better than a chicken, but it sounds like the final test still ends up being done with a true bird body.

I feel kind of torn about this topic. I understand the need to make sure that our planes are safe to be flying over head and aren't going to drop out of the sky because a hawk flies into on. I also know that in order to have a scientific study be valid, you kind of need to use the real thing. Bird skeletal make up is different then animals and or some forms of plastic/clay/etc. that they might be able to make as a substitute. So, in the end, with all the testing, I feel like the scientist are still going to need to use at minium, one bird in the final test.


The thing is, biomechanics (getting a reliable mechanical model of a live organism) is a young science even in humans. We could ultimately not use the real thing and rely on models, it could even be preferable because you can't know if your sample bird is representative, or if it somehow had more brittle bones than most, for example. But for now the models are not precise enough. Before you could build a clay bird skeleton and say that it's a decent substitute for the real thing, you'd need to test the mechanical properties of a large number of real bird skeletons to be able to replicate these properties in your model.
And then, like you said, there's the cost of the model. Crash test dummies are freaking expensive, even if they're far from being precise. They are used in human form because there is a very low supply of real human bodies to use in biomechanics (obviously when a body is donated to science, organ harversting and medical studies get priority. And even then for mechanical studies you need physically intact bodies, and you don't have many of those: people who die of old age tend to have fake articulations, fragile skeletons, etc ; people who die young tend to die in car crashes). I am afraid that dead chickens are way too abundant and cheap to justify building models for now.

Cars are tested on animals for safety, too. Both live ones and dead ones. They use live pigs in crash tests for bleed tests: to see if the way the car is deformed in a crash would rupture a major artery and have the passengers bleed to death before help could make it. They use animal organs to make more precise tests: what's the minimal impact force that will rupture a spleen, for example. All this, plus data from real road accidents, are collected in the hope of building accurate models one day that will replace both human and animal use, but we're still a long way away.


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 Post subject: Re: bird strike plane engine testing- your thoughts?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:34 pm 
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Things they check for with these checks include the ability of the turbine blades to withstand the impact of the bird, but also the impact of foreign matter on the combustion chamber.
While feathers do burn a lot of them moving at high speed will interfere with combustion.

So you want a complete bird (as in: not a plucked one you can get in "modern" society). Most of the birds they test are the ones you can get farmed though (if your engine can survive a goose impact, why bother with a sparrow). On the other hand flying birds have vastly different skeleton/meat/fat ratios, so some non-farmed ones are used.

You also don't want a frozen one or one with a frozen core. And most proper test facilities don't have a bird coop.

I have heard stories from my lecturers about picking birds up before tests and depending on location this meant live ones (which were killed before test) or intact dead ones.
A friend of mine working at Boeing however says when he was an intern he had to collect the dead birds from the delivery guy once.


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 Post subject: Re: bird strike plane engine testing- your thoughts?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:42 am 
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Thanks, aelle. (Really! That was super informative.)

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 Post subject: Re: bird strike plane engine testing- your thoughts?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:14 am 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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Jigglypuff wrote:
In what real-life scenario are humans and fetuses going to be flying through airplane engines, though?

(You made me laugh too, sicko!)

I just thought the tissue and bone in them might do a good job of simulating birds. But I guess aelle's post shows that we won't be seeing any flying torsos anytime soon. At least not in this way.

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