Some engineers prefer to go for realism in these tests and thus buy still-feathered firing fowl from game farms. (Er, at this point I should mention the birds are dead when cannonized.) Others, however, buy their catapulting poultry at the supermarket. Those who favor using thawed birds keep the carcasses frozen until just before test time, when a session in the microwave restores the avian missiles to a more natural condition. Not everyone fires thawed birds: before switching to fake birds, the U.S. Air Force traditionally launched frozen ones. (Sensitive to the concerns of animal-rights activists, they now fling birds made of clay and plastic at canopies and engines.) The way the Air Force had it figured, if a canopy could survive an impact with a frozen bird, it would certainly live through a chance introduction to one that could still fly under its own power. They further believed cold chickens provided a better simulation of a bird that had tensed to prepare for the impact. Smarty pants. :^ÞPees
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