VIDEO: F-35 birdstrike test (via

Who doesn’t like watching a frozen chicken go splat on a perfectly good aircraft canopy?

If the video is not self-explanatory enough for you, feel free to peruse this 20-page write-up by Lockheed Martin on the actual birdstrike test. Birdstrike Impact Studies.pdf

Both the video and the report are courtesy of the F-35 discussion thread on


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16 Responses to VIDEO: F-35 birdstrike test (via

  1. Charley 28 July, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    Is the chicken frozen at the time of, uh “launch?” Or is the bird thawed? How much does it weigh? What apparatus do they use to project it? Should they use a goose instead? So many questions….

  2. John S. 28 July, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Who doesn’t like watching a frozen chicken go splat on a perfectly good aircraft canopy?

    I do believe the television program Mythbusters ultimately showed that frozen chickens have more penetration than thawed chickens.

    For realistic birdstrike tests, the chickens should be thawed.

  3. Mike Plunkett 28 July, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    I’ll add another question: why do they test against just one bird when surely flocks are the biggest threat to an aircraft? Some sort of rotary chicken cannon is clearly called for here…

  4. Col. Sanders 28 July, 2010 at 5:33 pm #

    The 20-page writeup mentions that the chicken was euthanized, but doesn’t imply that it was frozen. The splatiness would seem to argue for a naturally pliable state.

  5. Stephen Trimble 28 July, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    Are you suggesting fowl-play?

  6. Royce 28 July, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Did Lockheed Martin note that that frozen chicken was picked up and tracked by the F-35′s advanced sensor system during its entire flight from the launcher to the canopy?

  7. Jim 28 July, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    Air Force standard bird is 6 pounds.

  8. SMSgt Mac 29 July, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    RE: Testing for Multiple bird strikes. The purpose of the test is to gather data you don’t already have in hand. Since there is a mountain of bird strike test history and data available, what matters is making sure you test what you don’t know much about. See for an F-35 powerpoint in PDF describing what the F-35 program was all about.
    Something to think about also in looking at multiple bird strikes: Where do you stop? How do you decide what hits where and in what order? Computer sims based on actual single shot data will give you more info on ‘what ifs’ and at a much lower cost.

  9. TL 29 July, 2010 at 2:57 am #

    What happens to the remainder of the chicken after the test? Do the chefs turn it in to chicken soup for the lab boys and girls or does the boss get to take it home?

  10. RAF 29 July, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    TL, I would not like to test that soup :-) .
    There is nothing to turn in to a soup, except for some feathers and the feets. the rest is just birdraulics.
    I guess that there is even a slight smell in the room where they do the test, unless they have a very talented cleaning crew… When we did the tests at our company there were birdraulics all over the place.


  11. Cod 29 July, 2010 at 5:40 pm #

    Any idea on what speed the chicken was moving at?

  12. Tom Harvey photographer 30 July, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    We do not use a FROZEN chicken, The chicken is fresh, meaning alive until prior to the test procedure at that time the chicken is gassed weighed,bagged ect. for the test. We have a outdoor facility to do these test. I hired into the Flight test photo lab in 1967 we have tested on F111,F16,F35 here at Fort Worth.

  13. jwtjr999 30 July, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    450 KCAS

  14. Jetcal1 30 July, 2010 at 9:43 pm #

    450 KCAS = Known Chicken Air Speed?
    This has been by far the most jovial response to any F-35 post in a while.
    Thanks to all for the smiles.

  15. LeoC 31 July, 2010 at 3:20 pm #

    In my time in the USAF, I had the opportunity to watch a chicken gun in action at Arnold Engineering Development Center. The only thing left after the test was some red jello goo and a few feathers. The whole place was later pressure washed with steam.

  16. TL 1 August, 2010 at 1:57 am #


    That is depressing news indeed. I don’t suppose that round the back there is a little cemetery where the few remaining parts, packed into a small biscuit tin, are buried in neat rows with little crosses above them? That would be the british way, but I’ve heard that crosses are not considered multicultural these days. Sniff!

    I did work ‘experience’ for a week, many years ago at Bae’s filton plant when they were still servicing the F-1-11′s and hung out with the pyrotechnics guy which was great as we went all over the plant. High up on the gantry looking down at the F1-111′s with their skins off (you could see the swing wing’s box), the low speed wind tunnel (my first explanation of involuntarily flying chickens), the airbus wing design centre (it had an A340 wooden wing mock up), the wing assembly floor with the cool robo-parts lift, had a look around the hanger (the Queen’s 146 was there), sniffed around the temperature chamber where (if I recall correctly) they fill the tanks with liquid nitrogen to simulate high altitude cold to -60 for an hour and around -40 for four hours or so, spent a day in the control tower.

    The best bit was to see a north facing arrow painted on some tarmac which apparently was used to check the general accuracy of the compass…

    Didn’t end up in aerospace though! Still an airhead…

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