"I am very glad I live where I do, so I don't have to run for my life like this man probably was doing."
February 20, 2007 6:15 AM   Subscribe

These are links I found a long time ago, and they're all sorta old, but it's nice to know they're available whenever I want a refresher on the physiological implications of travel in an airplane wheelwell, generally because yet another poor dead stowaway has made the news. That first Slate link is short and sweet and sums it up pretty well, but, for those of you who want more details, here is a PDF of an FAA report on the subject.
posted by thirteenkiller (9 comments total)
Then I wonder if maybe the statistics are skewed because people who survive can escape undetected.

These two did not survive.

This one did.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:20 AM on February 20, 2007

I was going to post the same thing, asking how they knew how many there were, given the fact that survivors take it on the lam immediately. Since that's already been done, I'll post a response to the same question: With airport security being what it is, not to mention the grueling effects even if you do survive the flight, I doubt survivors just pop out, grab a taxi and are never heard from again.
posted by DU at 6:25 AM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Airport security being what it is?

Unlike in the cabin, if you're in a wheel-well, you can probably bring along a soda and a tube of toothpaste.
posted by dmd at 7:09 AM on February 20, 2007

I was struck by the story of the guy from Tahiti who stowed away to Los Angeles.

WTF guy from Tahiti? You've got it backwards.
posted by Mister_A at 7:49 AM on February 20, 2007

Sounds like with a parka, some bottled oxygen, and maybe a climbing harness to tie in, a medium length flight would be quite survivable. The photos of the wheel well in the FAA report aren't very clear - I wonder how the space compares with economy class.
posted by exogenous at 8:53 AM on February 20, 2007

Was it a JetBlue wheel well? If so maybe he died from boredom after sitting for 10 hours...
posted by wfrgms at 11:11 AM on February 20, 2007

If the stowaway had one of those reflective vests, or could just grab one from an untended vehicle quick enough, they could easily just walk off the airport.
Once you get through the one check point and are on the airplane side of things there is pretty much no further security. At some exits they check you as you leave, but not all of them.
posted by Iax at 3:16 PM on February 20, 2007

You'd need a bit than a parka at -40.
posted by Mitheral at 10:36 AM on February 21, 2007

OK, maybe something like the Absolute Zero suit. Of course the cost of one of these is probably the same order of magnitude as a bribe to allow a more comfortable border crossing.
posted by exogenous at 4:32 PM on February 21, 2007

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