How to Freeze, Suffocate, or Brain Damage Yourself; Or Terror at 38,000 Feet

Monday, April 21, 2014
By George Hatcher

Everyone following Aviation News by now has already heard of the sixteen-year-old boy who rode stowaway in the wheel well of a 767 from California to Kahului Airport in Maui Hawaii, surviving impossible conditions of 38,000 feet. Surviving outside of a plane is nothing short of a miracle. Conditions outside of a plane in flight are sub-human, making suffocation a certainty; and if one somehow were to manage the lack of air, then the trick would be surviving freezing conditions and decompression sickness. Hypoxia is almost a certainty at -80 degrees Fahrenheit, with no air.

Most people who attempt such a feat end up frozen solid, or fall off. Plus, should I not mention that an emotional sixteen year old who ran away from home should not be able to breach airport security;

Should not be able to survive the trip;and after he did, the story

… should not be publicized in such a way that future idiots be inspired to follow in his idiocy. Newscasters may as well have posted an invitation to every idiot, prankster, and t-word in town.

So all you stupids inspired to save yourself the cost of a plane ticket, if you are inspired to sneak on to a wheel well because you have a winter coat, and think you’re invincible, the truth is that this is how idiots die.

In George’s Point of View

Of course, the story is the breach of security not that the kid survived. Obviously in a real-life kind of way, it’s good the boy survived. Obviously in a real-life kind of way it is horrible and stupid that his survival is now going to be an idiot’s guide. But now let’s talk about what happened here.

Security failed so many times and so many ways that it boggles the mind. The perimeter of the airport should not have been breached; the security of the plane should not have been breached; and on arrival, the boy should immediately have been discovered. At least the ground crew did eventually find the boy “wandering the tarmac, dazed and confused.” But then the news got ahold of the story and made it global. Good job, news people.

In an interview at San Jose airport the spokesperson there said that no security is 100 percent fool proof.

I disagree. Airport security, access to planes, especially those planes ready to board passengers and take off must be fool-proof.

There are just too many fools out there.

TSA security checks at airport are tedious and essential. Security cannot afford to have one single gun or nut job to get through their security wall, not a single one.

Someone in California PLUS someone in Hawaii failed to do their job. Multiple someones. Aren’t security checks deliberately redundant? Surely someone at Hawaiian Airlines failed in a last-minute maintenance and/or security walk-around.

I do find it ludicrous that all of these security experts and specialists interviewed for news programs about this security breach, industry professionals like the grounds operations coordinator at O’Hare, essentially post detailed “how to” instructions to climbing inside a wheel well.

This is a wake-up call to security teams to plug the holes in their process, just as it is a wake—up call for idiots looking to die at 38,000 feet. Let’s hope the next one who tries this blunders into a security hole that has been filled with a smart security operative with some inescapable handcuffs in his pocket. Then let’s see how the news covers it.

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