The Kaipara district is not generally known as the hub of scientific advancement but this may be set to change.
Details of a formerly top secret programme that local resident and researcher Professor Worzel describes as a ‘project of global significance’ can now be released to the public.
After years of trial and error – which he freely admits has been more error than trial – he has combined selective breeding, high level training techniques and a two meter length of alkathene in pursuit of that traditionally elusive holy grail: The flying pig.
For reasons of commercial sensitivity, the professor was reluctant to discuss specific technical aspects but did note: “Sows ears, deficient as they may be for silk purse making are, especially when still attached to the pig, uniquely aerodynamic. Sadly though the ear on an average large white is not wide enough whereas Birkshire and Duroc ears lack sufficient rigidity for effective flight.”
Tests conducted in the Middle East at Gerasene using Tamworth pigs showed that they had to be accelerated to very high speeds in order to facilitate sustained flight. The method of achieving the necessary velocity was to launch them off a cliff. Even birds who take naturally to flight need practice before they are competent aviators so not unexpectedly there were many crashes. Testing was eventually abandoned due to pig shortage. It was clear though that ear span was the key.
The escape and subsequent visit by a neighbouring European boar was been hailed as a major breakthrough. The fence was eventually repaired though and the visit resulted in a large eared and very flighty cross-breed. These have been tentatively named ‘Aviators’.
Flying pigs could be the single biggest advance of the 21st century insists the professor, and the benefits for humanity are almost limitless.
Naturally they lend themselves to many military applications. There is strong evidence that flying pigs could be a more effective and humane alternative to the mechanical remote controlled drones currently deployed around the globe. Islamic extremists, immune to the threat of death and destruction, have no love for pigs. Military psychologists believe the deployment of a formation or two of flying pigs would so undermine terrorist moral that attacks on a pork-defended West would cease. The war on terror might be won without a single shot fired and only minimal fat in the fire.
In other problem areas like Syria and the US flying pigs might be more effective than Tomahawk missiles or tear gas. Apart from the obvious visual impact of large omnivores gliding effortlessly through the firmament they could also be used to drop messages like ‘Love your neighbour’, ‘Power is an empty dream’, ‘Truth heals all’ and Have you remembered to brush your teeth’.
In future, famine relief could be cunningly combined with fast food. Vast corps of specialist suicide pigs could fly themselves to starving villagers. By firmly fitting appropriate booster rockets round the porkers’ loins, food could be speedily provided, hams nicely roasted on arrival.
Indeed there has been some success already. Recently several possible future pilot piglets flittered distances that Professor Worzel says ‘the Wright brothers would have been proud of’. As I conducted this interview, frisky weaners practiced their take-offs, ears flapping enthusiastically. A pig squadron of tomorrow perhaps?
There are still problems to overcome, he admits: “The porcine breed are not a migratory species like many of their feathered cousins, so high altitude navigation could be problematic. Also pigs do not fly gracefully – well not yet anyway – and I wouldn’t want them to look like a bunch of turkeys.”
Summing up he says: “The work is satisfying and of course it is tremendously exciting being involved in the cutting edge of porcine aviation. It is though a little frustrating that research of such major humanitarian importance is so under-resourced. Sadly, funding for projects such as this can be scarce and frankly, the research could founder without broader public support.”
Sponsors are urgently needed so please send more than you can afford to Professor Worzel’s Flying Pig Fund. He assures me that all money received will be used to purchase beer and pig meal vital for continued testing. Although there is still much to be done before flying pigs become a practical and commercial proposition, the professor assures me that if he can maintain the current rate of progress, pigs will fly long before the expected outbreak of world peace.