HOW DO THREE KILOGRAMS BECOME 30,000?
An average Canadian goose weighs 3.65kg: they’re large, bulky birds with sturdy bones and every aircraft has to survive an impact with one, even if it occurs at 480km/h. That’s the maximum speed during the take-off and landing phases, when bird strikes usually occur. The huge forces created by a feathery impact exceed the bird’s bodyweight by a factor of 10,000. Luckily, the nose cone of this Boeing 737 (right) was well-equipped with shock-absorbing material. The most vulnerable areas of the plane are the cockpit windows and engines. To test their safety, and whether they can work during an emergency, compressed-air cannon known as chicken guns fire blocks of gelatine or dead birds into the turbines while they’re running at full power.