Fowl play

Forget breaking eggs to make an omelet. When you’re trying to break the sound barrier, you can — accidentally — wipe out an entire flock of chickens.

That’s what happened May 18, 1953, when Jacqueline Cochran, flying an F-86 Sabrejet out of Edwards Air Force Base, became the first woman to break the sound barrier. She did it by taking the jet to 45,000 feet and diving toward the earth. Actually she did it twice. The first time she executed the maneuver she was told the sonic boom had not been heard, so she went up a second time and produced the boom.

A local chicken rancher complained that his stock was so frightened by the noise that the chickens crammed into a corner, where several smothered to death.

When she heard about the fowl fatalities, Cochran allegedly told the rancher “”Produce the dead chickens and I’ll pay for them.””

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