As you make your way home from a turkey-filled weekend, spare a thought for some late birds that didn't even make it to the table: the fowl that jet-engine makers shoot into airplane engines to ensure your flight is a safe one.
Long before your airplane's engines are installed, manufacturers, such as General Electric and United Technologies unit Pratt & Whitney, shoot dozens of bird carcasses into jet engines from giant air guns to test the machinery's ability to safely ingest such animals without disrupting the takeoff and climb.
The tests, mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration and other aviation safety agencies, are crucial to ensuring safe flying for passengers, as birds flock near airports and pose a threat to planes.
In what is perhaps the most famous case, on Jan. 15, 2009, the twin engines of a U.S. Airways Airbus A320 lost thrust after colliding with a flock of Canada geese moments after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger safely landed the plane in what became known as the "Miracle on the Hudson" as all 155 people on board survived.