Would you fly a pig? Doing so could help you fly

Written by Staff Writer

Alex Rondinone , CNN Written by Staff Writer

According to US aviation experts, 30,000 planes are flying over the United States every day. Some more importantly than others, such as on the other side of the Atlantic, Britain.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 80% of all aircrafts losses in the US occur over water or in buildings in densely populated urban areas. One of the main causes of these losses is so-called “aircraft tracking dust,” a mixture of dust and small particles from the cabin air that puffs out with each landing or takeoff.

But what about thick layers of bird droppings that accumulate on the ground at airports?

The idea of stuffing pigs into airplanes is an idea that had to be invented, according to Patrick Smith, author of several books on airline travel, including “Ask the Pilot: Tales of Open-Plane Philosophy”. But the small-scale experiment in cutting-edge aviation technology, which was organized by Hong Kong-based meat lab Asia Science on April 24, is looking at ways to remove the dirt from the plane engines.

“Even a tablespoon of plant-based material had plenty of material, strong enough to house a pig on a plane, while keeping the bird droppings out,” says Smith.

The pig comes as a surprise, then, when we meet Charlie Wu, who carefully applies a layer of special liquid to the aircraft, giving it a fresh coat of animal droppings, before it is then taken to the final stage: a layer of “de-odorizing gel,” which includes fresh ingredients such as grass, wool and other farm products.

De-odorizing gel. Credit: AFP/AFP/Getty Images

According to Wu, these ingredients help to remove the “soot” and “nitro particles” from the plane, which lead to engine problems, and can also aid the well-being of the animals in question.

“To reduce the toxicity of the peat and dust that comes off the pigs, we’ve used dried plants and then we added, this is the trick, we added herbs,” he said.

The next stage will be using regular cargo planes to gather actual pig semen, to grow a batch of piglets for sale. The experiment is expected to be finished in a couple of months.

Approximately 95 million pigs are consumed in the US alone, according to information from the US Department of Agriculture. The practice of mixing and mating them with chicken stock, which would make pig pellets, has been practiced for centuries. But it is often not known how this process, which involves non-toxic liquid and heat was performed.

Then there is the question of motivation. Under the Chinese Lunar calendar, every four years the country holds a new Pu’er — the festival of mongrels, — which occurs on December 31 and celebrates the dawning of China’s transformation into a country with one person per every four piglets. Piglets are a symbol of modern China. It was during this festival in 2017 that one of two men caught injecting pig semen into pigs allegedly broke his promise to be “special friend” to the police and attempted to poison one of the pigs in a factory just after the Pu’er celebrations.

“Consequently, for some people that drink around the Pu’er events and actually celebrate the unknown Chinese culture, pigs represent the magic elixir of transformation,” says Smith.

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