Update: Bird Strikes Aren't Always Explosions

Manufacturers stress-test jet engines for numerous reasons.

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After I posted a video of a test on a Rolls Royce Trent 900 jet engine, Jon Ostrower of the respected trade journal Flight International wrote to point out the difference between a bird-strike test and a "blade-out" test.

The Rolls Royce video, he explained, actually shows a blade-out test, designed to test the strength of the casing around the engine. "What engineers do is put an explosive charge on one of the blades and see if the casing that holds the engine contains all the other blades being destroyed. As you can see, the test was a major success, even if it is a bit startling to watch." The purpose of such a test, as I explained in my earlier post, is to make sure parts of the engine don't tear through the fuselage under a worst-case scenario. 

Bird-strike tests aren't quite as dramatic, and while they can disable the engine they wouldn't necessarily produce smoke and flame. (Apologies for the confusion.) Ostrower recommends this video of a bird-strike test: