When a plane is in trouble, the pilots dump all its its fuel before making an emergency landing. This is controversial; though fuel usually dissipates before reaching ground, it’s a dangerous pollutant all the same and sometimes it gets dumped close enough to humans that it puts them at risk.
This 1984 film, of a test of jet fuel formulated to resist igniting, shows why pilots dump it. NASA and the FAA loaded a retired training jet with test dummies, then remote-piloted it to a crash landing in the Mojave desert. It comes down rough but stays in one piece as it plows through earthworks and obstacles. If it were out of gas, chances of everyone surviving would be good. But with a full tank?
Spoiler: the fuel ignites. As one commenter puts it, “proponents of antimisting kerosene did not have a great day.”
The test went generally according to plan, and produced a spectacular fireball that required more than an hour to extinguish. The FAA concluded that about one-quarter of the passengers would have survived, that the antimisting kerosene test fuel did not sufficiently reduce the risk of fire, and that several changes to equipment in the passenger compartment of aircraft were needed.
In this viral footage, shot on a potato and video-compressed with a radish, the best method of organizing nails is revealed. I’m happy to take questions about the thermodynamics of all this, and I’m sure someone will eventually be along to answer them.
Some suspect that the footage is reversed; a commenter on Reddit demonstrated otherwise by actually reversing it (embedded below).
Meet Ryker, Happy Mutants. Ryker, a Belgian Malinois, studied at the Double H Canine Training Academy, and here is footage of his failed test to become a service animal. Ryker was instead adopted by his trainer, Zach James.
How does an owl’s tail help it fly? To understand the role of the tail is raptor aerodynamics, researchers at the UK’s Royal Veterinary College recorded the motion of tiny helium bubbles as they were swirled about by birds of prey flying through them. According to the science journal Nature, the videos enabled the scientists to discover “a new way in which birds use their tail to provide lift and so reduce drag while gliding… Their findings could provide a new way to improve the efficiency of small gliding aircraft.”