The Sciences

Bird vs. jet engine

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitFeb 17, 2009 5:14 PM

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[Update: A bunch of people have commented that this was not actually a bird getting chucked into the engine, but an explosive charge that dislodged a blade inside the engine. That gives you a more dramatic piece of footage than otherwise, but the results are similar.] When a bird got swept into the engine of Flight 1549 out of NYC in January, the plane went down. How could a bird do that to a plane engine, you might ask? Well, watch this video to find out: Remember, the fans inside a jet spin very rapidly, and are under a fantastic amount of stress. Poke them hard enough, and kablam. My first thought was, "Why this doesn't happen more often?" but then I realized that birds actually don't take up a lot of space compared to the volume of space a plane uses, and probably stay away from airports because of noise. I suspect that's a good thing. [Update: BABloggee "Grey Wolf" informs me it is indeed a problem. The FAA spends as much as half a billion dollars per year on this! Wow.]

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