I occasionally get an e-mail with one of those stories which make me roll my eyes & mutter, "Yeah, right." Then I check the Snopes website.
Tonight over dinner, my husband told me about one of "those" e-mails he received. My husband thought it was funny and forwarded it to my father (the "rocket scientist.") As he was telling me this story, I started rolling my eyes and muttering, "Yeah, right." He put up his hand and said, "Stop, just listen to the rest of the story..." So, I listened and was amazed. I encourage you to read to the end of this post for the full story and my father's response...
But first, a warning. Some might consider this story to be in poor taste, and it will certainly offend vegetarians. If you're anything like me, this little warning has only increased your curiosity. Just remember... you've been warned.
Here is the text from the e-mail which was sent to my husband (and then forwarded to my father):
Scientists at NASA built a device specifically to launch standard (dead) chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea was to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields. British engineers heard about the device and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains. Arrangements were made and a device was sent to the British engineers. When the device was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the device, crashed into the shatterproof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's backrest in two, and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin. The horrified British team forwarded NASA the disastrous results of the experiment along with the designs of the windshield and asked the U.S. scientists for suggestions. NASA responded with a one-line memo -- "Defrost the chicken."
Okay... now you're rolling your eyes. Right? But here is my father's response, verbatim (except for names which have been edited to protect the innocent):
Not a completely true story. I knew one of the guys, G.B., who developed the test at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. The rest of the story is true, however. They finally wrote a Military Standard with instructions for the dead chicken to be at room temperature before starting. G.B. was a manufacturing technology guy and worked with us on nickel hydrogen batteries. He told us about the windshield testing over dinner.
So, our military really did hurl dead chickens at the windshields of assorted aircraft. I guess sometimes the strangest stories are true.