I think I’ve said this before, but some of my favourite blog posts have been inspired by interesting exhanges on social media, especially Facebook. Yes, despite my recent rants, there are still interesting posts on there, in addition to the usual bunch of grey Religious people doing their routine moaning. In particular, the humour one finds on the Internet is far and away my favourite aspect of the entire marvellous phenomenon (that phenomenon being the Internet). So, I wanted to share this particular exchange and the funny, bantering discussion that followed. It’s quite dry and tongue-in-cheek geeky banter, but if it makes you laugh, job done. If it doesn’t, fair enough and I am sure there’ll be something out there that you will find funny.
So, in this very memorable exchange from last week, there was a question about some damage that an airliner had suffered in a collision with a bird. Here’s the meme that prompted the discussion:
My two friends Bill and Philip commented, and it kinda went from there:
Bill: What kind of bird was it? Wanna make sure I dont hit it with my truck!
Philip: I think it’s a dead kinda bird now…
Don’t know, actually. But it musta been a decent size…A frozen chicken, possibly?
Bill: Box of frozen maybe?
Philip: It could have been, Bill…I’d like to know the aerodynamic possibilities of a box of frozen chickens at cruising altitude, though…Anthony, you may be able to enlighten us…
Bill: I would very much like to hear his analysis.
Philip: Bill, knowing Anthony, he will give us a comprehensive and detailed synopsis.
Me: Very well, gentlemen. I’ll see what I can do.
The aerodynamic properties of a box of frozen chickens at 38,000ft would be very easily defined. Of the four forces of flight: Lift, Drag, Thrust and Weight, only weight and drag would be in operation due to the absence of any lift generating devices (such as wings) and the lack of an engine (producing thrust). Weight would accelerate the box downwards until the deceleration caused by the drag forces, operating in direct opposition to the acceleration caused by the weight, cancelled out the downward acceleration. At this point, the box would attain a stable downwards velocity which is known as ‘terminal velocity’, which brings it back to something that most of us have heard of, even if only because it is the title of various eponymous movies. The box would maintain that velocity – which would of course vary with air density and temperature – right until it made what is technically known as a big splat.
The fact that they were chickens in the box would have no bearing on the matter because a) chickens are virtually flightless; b) the chickens are frozen (and therefore dead) and c) they are in a box. Fortunately for the chickens, the fact that they are already dead means that the outcome of the analysis, for them at least, is irrelevant.
In short, the aerodynamic properties can therefore be summed up as being very similar to those of a safe, or even a piano. It would not be correct to assert that the aerodynamic properties are similar to an anvil, however, because that would be more streamlined, at least at the pointy end. But even an anvil would still have its own terminal velocity.
I trust this answers your questions.
Philip: It answers them perfectly! I thank you.
The only question that remains, is; how did the box of frozen chickens, travelling perfectly naturally at their terminal velocity, collide with the front of the airliner? I propose that there’s something quite fishy, here…Or, chickeny…
Me: No, it’s actually quite a simple explanation. Because air accident investigators always blame the aircrew, it follows that in fact it was the airliner that collided with the box, not the other way round.
Philip: Of course! That clears things up. It’s the aircrew’s fault. Lol…
And at this point, we left it. I so love Internet humour, and the banter of intelligent people 🙂
Peace and Grace to you 😀