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Experts Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

Unknown Lamer posted about 6 months ago | from the don't-forget-your-jacket dept.

Transportation 239

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Hasani Gittens reports that as miraculous as it was that a 16-year-old California boy was able to hitch a ride from San Jose to Hawaii and survive, it isn't the first time a wheel-well stowaway has lived to tell about it. The FAA says that since 1947 there have been 105 people who have tried to surreptitiously travel in plane landing gear — with a survival rate of about 25 percent. But agency adds that the actual numbers are probably higher, as some survivors may have escaped unnoticed, and bodies could fall into the ocean undetected. Except for the occasional happy ending, hiding in the landing gear of a aircraft as it soars miles above the Earth is generally a losing proposition. According to an FAA/Wright State University study titled 'Survival at High Altitudes: Wheel-Well Passengers,' at 20,000 feet the temperature experienced by a stowaway would be -13 F, at 30,000 it would be -45 in the wheel well — and at 40,000 feet, the mercury plunges to a deadly -85 F (PDF). 'You're dealing with an incredibly harsh environment,' says aviation and security expert Anthony Roman. 'Temperatures can reach -50 F, and oxygen levels there are barely sustainable for life.' Even if a strong-bodied individual is lucky enough to stand the cold and the lack of oxygen, there's still the issue of falling out of the plane. 'It's almost impossible not to get thrown out when the gear opens,' says Roman.

So how do the lucky one-in-four survive? The answer, surprisingly, is that a few factors of human physiology are at play: As the aircraft climbs, the body enters a state of hypoxia—that is, it lacks oxygen—and the person passes out. At the same time, the frigid temperatures cause a state of hypothermia, which preserves the nervous system. 'It's similar to a young kid who falls to the bottom of an icy lake," says Roman. "and two hours later he survives, because he was so cold.'"

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This message is (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#46813031)

brought to you by No Duh Airlines.

Thank goodness for these experts. (5, Funny)

BitterOak (537666) | about 6 months ago | (#46813037)

I'm glad the "experts" cleared that up for me. I guess I'll have to change my vacation plans!

Re:Thank goodness for these experts. (2)

gargleblast (683147) | about 6 months ago | (#46813161)

Now I'm waiting for a community service announcement like this one in an old episode of The Young Ones [youtube.com] . Fast forward to 5:07 :

"The BBC would like to warn all small children that pushing people inside old fridges is a bloody stupid thing to do."

Re:Thank goodness for these experts. (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#46813387)

I'm glad the "experts" cleared that up for me. I guess I'll have to change my vacation plans!

Yeah... I'll have to remember to bring my coat, and extra bungee cords and parachute..

Terrorists, not tourists (1)

mangu (126918) | about 6 months ago | (#46813711)

I guess the memo had a misspelling. The wheel wells seem to be a good place for terrorists, not for tourists.

If someone can sneak up to the plane and climb in, it should be equally easy to put a bomb there. If a 16-year-old can find a way to squeeze into that space, it wouldn't be too difficult to fit in a couple hundred pounds of explosives.

Missed the obvious... (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 6 months ago | (#46813051)

Never mind the lack of oxygen and the cold, what about simply getting crushed when the gear is retracted? That's game over at 200 ft.

Re:Missed the obvious... (1)

jarfil (1341877) | about 6 months ago | (#46813077)

What about falling out when the gears open, at over 200mph and more than 500ft high. I'm surprised the survival rate reaches even as much as 25%.

Re:Missed the obvious... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813441)

That happened a couple of years ago, to a kid who climbed into a wheel well in Charlotte, NC ... and fell out when the plane was making its landing approach to Logan International Airport in Boston. I don' t know if he was already dead when he fell out of the airplane, but he surely was shortly after he landed.

Re:Missed the obvious... (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 months ago | (#46813259)

Missed? They are all in the summary.

Survivor: Wheel Well (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813053)

i'd watch it.

Survival rate under-estimated? (4, Interesting)

hogghogg (791053) | about 6 months ago | (#46813057)

If people who die in a wheel well always have their dead bodies discovered, while *some* of the people who survive a wheel-well journey don't -- they sneak out on the tarmac undetected -- then the survival rate of 25 percent must be an under-estimate, or at least is potentially an under-estimate.

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (5, Insightful)

jarfil (1341877) | about 6 months ago | (#46813089)

If they fall into the ocean when the gears open, many dead may have not been discovered either.

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (2)

aliquis (678370) | about 6 months ago | (#46813223)

Then again some of those may have been alive! ;D

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 months ago | (#46813467)

Yeah, at least until they hit the water at 700km/h...

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (2)

multi io (640409) | about 6 months ago | (#46813589)

Yeah, at least until they hit the water at 700km/h...

Eh, terminal velocity in the lower atmosphere is abound 250 km/h. Not that it would make much of a difference though.

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 6 months ago | (#46813615)

Eh, terminal velocity in the lower atmosphere is abound 250 km/h.

. . . that's cruising speed on the German Autobahn.

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813683)

Terminal velocity is only about the vertical component. Horizontal component is also dangerous. Hell, just falling off a surfboard at a decent speed makes the water feel like concrete.

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (1)

Guppy (12314) | about 6 months ago | (#46813435)

The dead body undercount is potentially detectable, if someone were to compare over-water approaches with over-land approaches; if a significant number of bodies are going missing, this should show up as a skew in the survival rate.

Re:Survival rate under-estimated? (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 6 months ago | (#46813327)

Unless you are one serious badass, you won't be in the mood for much 'sneaking' after a few hours of hypothermia and hypoxia. If your luck holds, you didn't die or get violently ejected at a lethal altitude; but you've still been in a state closer to 'amateur hibernation', not one of our strong points, than anything else. You'll probably just lie on the tarmac defrosting and then maybe try some experimental crawling.

units (1, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | about 6 months ago | (#46813063)

At 20,000 feet the temperature experienced by a stowaway would be -13 F, at 30,000 it would be -45 in the wheel well — and at 40,000 feet, the mercury plunges to a deadly -85 F

Lol, feet and degrees Fahreheit, wtf is this, the 17th century?

Oh wait. America.

Re:units (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813073)

The way you spell and the asshole nature of your post suggests you, too, are American.

Re:units (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813123)

The way you spell and the asshole nature of your post suggests you, too, are American.

Bunch of Americans calling each other assholes in here... yep, business as usual.

Re:units (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813235)

You're all arseholes.

(I'm actually American too)

Re:units (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813365)

The way you spell and the asshole nature of your post suggests you, too, are American.

Bunch of Americans calling each other assholes in here... yep, business as usual.

The only assholes in America are called Democrats - the rest are just Americans, and are much more polite (except to the Asshole Democrats).

Nice country you have over there. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813405)

Half of the population is assholes, and the rest are only a point or two above retards. Real nice.

Re:units (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 6 months ago | (#46813127)

We're all Americans now, asshole.

Re:units (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 6 months ago | (#46813163)

It's just not Slashdot without the ad hominem metric flame. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Re:units (1)

JeremyWH (1354361) | about 6 months ago | (#46813245)

lol

Re:units (2, Informative)

Zdzicho00 (912806) | about 6 months ago | (#46813331)

"By the end of the 20th century, most countries used the Celsius scale rather than the Fahrenheit scale. Fahrenheit remains the official scale for the following countries: the Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands, Palau, and the United States and associated territories (Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands)."
Yep. Archaic or just retarded?

Re:units (1)

countach (534280) | about 6 months ago | (#46813697)

I thought Fahrenheit had been relegated to unofficial status in the US (?)

Re:units (0, Offtopic)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 6 months ago | (#46813457)

Or perhaps Aviation, which uses US units in aircraft design all around the world. Could have something to do with heavier than air flight originating in the US, as well as the US having what is by far the largest aerospace manufacturing industry. That, and slashdot is *gasp* an American website? If you had any awareness of anything outside of your own narrow viewpoint you might realize both of those.

Anyways, an obvious troll and/or flamebait post modded insightful? Why...because bashing America is always a good thing, right? Enough of this "well the rest of the world does it differently..." bullshit. Every country in the world has something unique about it, so there's a "well the rest of the world" statement that can be made about everybody. Get off of your high horse and go mow your lawn.

Re:units (1)

righteousness (3421867) | about 6 months ago | (#46813495)

Wow, there's such a thing as "US units"?

Re:units (4, Informative)

LinuxIsGarbage (1658307) | about 6 months ago | (#46813507)

The US gallon (3.78541 liters) is different than the Imperial gallon (4.54609 liters). Fluid ounces are different too. 128 US fluid oz in a US gallon, 160 imperial fluid ounces in an Imperial gallon. So a US oz is 1.04084 Imp oz.

Re:units (1)

EStrat (174854) | about 6 months ago | (#46813765)

Wait, how many olympic sized swimming pools is that?

Re:units (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813767)

Wow, there's such a thing as "US units"?

Oh yes.
The big gulp.
The Supersize.
The happy meal.

Re:units (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813517)

A couple of mistakes there. Firstly, we're not talking about "aircraft design" but the measurement of altitude in feet, which has to do with air traffic control, not "aircraft design". Secondly, it is laughable to claim that "heavier than air flight originating in the US". If you take a quick glance at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_history#Heavier-than-air_pioneers you'll see that development took place in lots of countries over a long period of time so you can't reasonably claim it "originated" in any particular place. Also, why the emphasis on "heavier than air"? Why would the change from balloons to aeroplanes require a change in units for measuring altitude?

I'm not arguing against the other points you made, however.

Re:units (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 6 months ago | (#46813477)

Well, the units do not alter either the absolute temperature or the altitude and anyone with more than a few brain cells can do these unit conversions in his head without the use of a calculator.

Physically Impossible (3, Interesting)

vikingpower (768921) | about 6 months ago | (#46813065)

Mercury can't plunge to -85 degrees Fahrenheit. It solidifies at -37.8922 degrees Fahrenheit. Fail.

Re:Physically Impossible (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813121)

Mercury can't plunge to -85 degrees Fahrenheit. It solidifies at -37.8922 degrees Fahrenheit. Fail.

-85 F is approximately 210 K. Mercury can plunge damn close [springerimages.com] to that as a liquid.

You just need a near-vacuum.

Somewhat ironic that you failed to consider the effect of pressure on phase, especially given this was referencing a high-altitude LOW PRESSURE scenario, but you pedantically cited the freezing point value at standard pressure.

Ouch.

Re:Physically Impossible (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813225)

Or, you know, turn of phrase.

Re:Physically Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813301)

does solid mercury continue to contract with decreasing temperatures?

Re:Physically Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813439)

We seem to be operating on the assumption that no substance will go any lower than the temperature at which it solidifies, so no. The lowest temperature you will find mercury at is "-37.8922 degrees Fahrenheit".

Re:Physically Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813629)

Yes, and furthermore we seem to be operating on the assumption that substances solidify at the same temperature regardless of pressure. The lowest temperature you will find mercury at is "-37.8922 degrees Fahrenheit" and at this temperature it will be a solid regardless of whether it is inside a diamond-forming pressure chamber or the effectively pure vacuum of interstellar space.

Re:Physically Impossible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813523)

More importantly, mercury eats the aluminum body of airplanes.

Re:Physically Impossible (1)

cbeaudry (706335) | about 6 months ago | (#46813631)

I think others have replied to you already, but I will too.

40C and 40F is the meeting point of both measurements and on a mercury thermometer it goes much lower than that point.

You should check your facts before spouting statements with such assurance.

Re:Physically Impossible (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 months ago | (#46813647)

and on a mercury thermometer it goes much lower than that point.

The speedometer on my Suzuki Reno went up to 140mph but that poor car started to struggle around 110mph. ;)

Re:Physically Impossible (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 6 months ago | (#46813689)

That 'truth in advertising' thing working is against you. This is another classic example of the marketing department working against the engineering department, with the %$#@! marketeers winning, again, sadly.

Just to back up my point, don't those things flip over when on 45 MPH curves? (/flame) Sorry about trying to make that last point. Please drive responsible and always most-carefully. Live long and prosper.

Re:Physically Impossible (2)

vikingpower (768921) | about 6 months ago | (#46813687)

MINUS 39something, mister. You are on about PLUS 40. 79 Fahrenheit off. You should check your numbers before spouting statements with such arrogance.

No frequent flyer miles either... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 6 months ago | (#46813079)

...that's where I'm convinced.

Look at the bright side! (3, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 months ago | (#46813111)

No annoying seat neighbors. No screaming kids within earshot. Not getting groped and molested while going through security. You can bring any amount of liquids. You can even bring and consume your own alcohol. Etc ..

Re:Look at the bright side! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813443)

I suspects the experts might poo-poo the idea of drinking alcohol while clinging to the wheel of an aircraft.

But what do they know.

If you're going to pass out anyway ... (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 months ago | (#46813445)

... you might as well make the reason alcohol intoxication instead of hypoxia.
Also, bring hard liquor. The hardest stuff you can find. Anything else might freeze.

Re:Look at the bright side! (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 6 months ago | (#46813733)

Unfortunately the available in-flight entertainment system is kinda boring...

Saw this in stealthiswiki (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813099)

There was an anarchist guide, steal this wiki a 2000s follow on to Steal This Book, that actually had instructions including stealing a medical oxygen bottle and preparing for the cold. It actually recommended against the whole thing but was a surprisingly complete overview.
Unfortunately the website appears to be gone now, probably the complete guide to disabling a cargo ship to block a shipping channel or making explosives and drugs got the feds called in.

Marketing opportunity: Wheel well class (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813103)

...getting there means you're a survivor. ...when you're dying to get there. ...more fun than Russian Roulette ...when it absolutely positively has to be there overnight or you'll die.

What I want to know is ... (4, Interesting)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 6 months ago | (#46813119)

Why do they bother with all of the ridiculous security protocols for airline passengers when apparently it's pretty easy to sneak a 16-year-old-kid-sized bomb into the wheel well of an aircraft on the tarmac?

So much neater and easier than trying to sneak weapons through airport security. And the best part is, you don't have to commit suicide to take the plane down.

Seriously, airplane security is clearly full of holes and the sham of passenger security checks is just that, a sham meant to make us 'feel' safe while wasting our time and shoveling tons of dollars to the TSA.

Re:What I want to know is ... (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 6 months ago | (#46813175)

Seriously, airplane security is clearly full of holes and the sham of passenger security checks is just that, a sham meant to make us 'feel' safe while wasting our time and shoveling tons of dollars to the TSA.

Well, any good government repression solves multiple problems, but the point of TSA is behavioral conditioning - giving away tons of money to political cronies is just a bonus.

Re:What I want to know is ... (1)

ruir (2709173) | about 6 months ago | (#46813191)

No it is not. The sham of passenger checking is to make sure you do not carry food and drinks, or excess weight so airlines can do their side business.

Re:What I want to know is ... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#46813501)

..but you can buy 10 kilos+ of food and other stuff from the airport.

Re:What I want to know is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813177)

Well, the boy snuck in "under the cover of darkness [npr.org] ." No one could have foreseen or prevented that...

Re:What I want to know is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813311)

good to know...

Re:What I want to know is ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813333)

So much neater and easier than trying to sneak weapons through airport security.

You don't get the point of security theatre. Terrorists are eager to "beat the system", so they'll queue up with their bad intents and devices at the security checks. Sneaking a bomb into a plane in other ways would be cheating and cowardly. I am sure there is a section of hell reserved for people who try that, as opposed to the glory-suffused suicidal freedom fighters.

Oh, and Comic! [smbc-comics.com]

Re:What I want to know is ... (2)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 6 months ago | (#46813347)

airplane security is clearly full of holes

I had to reread that a few times to realize you didn't forget an 'A'.

Re:What I want to know is ... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813471)

You want really scary: Off the shelf 10-20kg RC Plane packed full of explosives and with an FPV system to make a simple and cheap guided missile. They can be made fast enough to keep up with a plane just after takeoff or before landing, or while it is flying in the ATC pattern. Might not even be seen at night (though I guess they have bird warning systems).

Or what if someone lands an explosive filled drone on a taxiing plane and latches on, detonating during or after takeoff.

With modern RC autopilots they can even be automated. Just program multicopter autopilot to go and sit stationary 10m off the middle of the runway, if you aren't moving then radar is probably unlikely to see you.

High speed trains are even worse. No way can they guard hundreds of miles of track against anvils being tossed onto them (or bombs put in their exceptionally predictable (in both time and location) path).

Or what if someone programs a drone to fly a nail bomb into a crowded stadium, or the Kabah during Haj. GPS means they can be launched hundreds of miles away.

One can only come to the conclusion that either the terrorists are remarkably incompetent/unimaginative, or that they are basically non-existant, and we are wasting our time and money doing anything at all.

Re:What I want to know is ... (1)

Entropius (188861) | about 6 months ago | (#46813637)

If you want to make the airport folks even more paranoid, why not just set off a wheelie-suitcase containing explosives, shrapnel, and warfarin powder in the security checkpoint line?

Government fights the last war.... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 6 months ago | (#46813655)

Why do they bother with all of the ridiculous security protocols for airline passengers when apparently it's pretty easy to sneak a 16-year-old-kid-sized bomb into the wheel well of an aircraft on the tarmac?

The Government fights the last war, because it's reactive rather than proactive. If 9/11 had consisted of four blown up airliners via wheel well bombs this hole would have been closed a long time ago. Likewise, if some jackass hadn't tried to light his sneakers on fire we'd still be able to board without taking our shoes off.

news for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813125)

What I want to know is, why is what was on CNN yesterday constantly showing up on slashdot the next? Fuck Beta.

Wheel-well traveling 101: (4, Informative)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 months ago | (#46813137)

1. Dress warmly. Even if the plane takes off in a tropical location. Make sure to cover exposed body parts - you don't want to pay with eary, fingers, toes or your nose for the trip.
2. Bring oxygen (that's going to be the hard part. Several hours worth of oxygen).
3. Familiarize yourself with various plane types so you don't get crushed by an unsuitable wheel well design.
4. Secure yourself to the plane so you don't get thrown out during landing.

Re:Wheel-well traveling 101: (2)

Ingcuervo (1349561) | about 6 months ago | (#46813183)

1.1 if you take off in a "warmer than freezing" zone, do not get in the plane too long before the trip, or at least make sure you can take off clothes once in there because you might suffocate during the waiting period
2.1. secure all the oxigen to the plane, if you lose it you are screwed
3.1. verify that you have space in there for all the oxygen (assuming that in 2. you managed to sneak it into the well)
4.1.....profit?

Re:Wheel-well traveling 101: (3, Informative)

geraud (932452) | about 6 months ago | (#46813343)

Your points 1. and 2. are wrong. Have you read the article ? Hypothermia and hypoxia preserve the body during the flight.

Re:Wheel-well traveling 101: (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | about 6 months ago | (#46813349)

There is even a safer way to travel:
1. buy a ticket and seat in the cabin

Re:Wheel-well traveling 101: (5, Informative)

will_die (586523) | about 6 months ago | (#46813627)

There is more leg room in the wheel well.

Re:Wheel-well traveling 101: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813757)

That's for pussies.

Re:Wheel-well traveling 101: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813433)

Extra oxygen doesn't really help you that much, its not really lack of oxygen as much as lack of pressure. 10km height has as much oxygen as 0km height, same 21%. The problem is the pressure, only 26% at 10km of what you have on ground. Oxygen getting absorbed in your lungs depends on that pressure, less pressure, less oxygen gets to your blood. For example Mount Everest climbers, if they just ran from 0m to top of Everest they would pass out, extra oxygen or no. They need to acclimate their body at lower altitude for a week or two for starters and only then make the climb, usually with extra oxygen. There is no acclimation for stowaways. They might survive the trip unconscious, but they pass out and just fall out when plane prepares for landing.
Temperatures as low as -70C don't help much. Longer flights will turn you to popsicle, even if you manage to get hold of specialist arctic explorer clothing(costs more than plane tickets).

Re:Wheel-well traveling 101: (2)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 months ago | (#46813469)

Oxygen getting absorbed in your lungs depends on that pressure, less pressure, less oxygen gets to your blood.

This is why you want to increases the ratio of oxygen in the gas mixture you breathe when ambient pressure drops. If ambient pressure is only 25% of what it is at sea level, you'll need to adjust the gas mixture to 80% O2, 20%N2 to have roughly the same partial pressure of oxygen.

The acclimatization is more a matter of coping with the lower CO2 level (CO2 partial pressure also drops, causing the body to exhale more CO2, which causes hypocapnia and affects the acid-base-balance of the body and various other functions.).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H... [wikipedia.org]

Flying experience (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 6 months ago | (#46813167)

What I get out of this story is that, if you're lucky enough to survive the trip in the wheel well, it's much more convenient to travel this way than doing it the regular way: no queuing, no overcharging from the airlines, no restrictions on the amounts of liquids you can carry, no getting your gonads showered with x-rays, no groping from TSA perverts... and of course, no arbitrary, secret no-fly list that prevents you from boarding the plane in the first place.

The airport security theater almost makes me want to risk my life as a stowaway.

Re:Flying experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813335)

no getting your gonads showered with x-rays,

High altitude radiation.

no groping from TSA perverts

RTFA. He was escorted by the FBI to an extended groping session afterwards (justice must be served). You need to escape successfully in order to evade that particular benefit.

Re:Flying experience (1)

ignavus (213578) | about 6 months ago | (#46813503)

What I get out of this story is that, if you're lucky enough to survive the trip in the wheel well, it's much more convenient to travel this way than doing it the regular way: no queuing, no overcharging from the airlines, no restrictions on the amounts of liquids you can carry, no getting your gonads showered with x-rays, no groping from TSA perverts... and of course, no arbitrary, secret no-fly list that prevents you from boarding the plane in the first place.

The airport security theater almost makes me want to risk my life as a stowaway.

And no waiting in the queue for the toilet either.

Re:Flying experience (1)

Ihlosi (895663) | about 6 months ago | (#46813581)

And no waiting in the queue for the toilet either.

Waiting in the queue for the toilet is prohibited. It's what terrorists do before they strike.

This warning reads like a challenge to me (2, Interesting)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46813217)

... is that sick?

So there are three factors that you need to deal with apparently.

1. The cold.

Solution: Get yourself a really good jacket. Something you could take to the north pole... should be enough.

2. Lack of oxygen.

Solution: Get yourself an O2 tank... The kind they take to Everest. Just something to supplement the air you're breathing.

3. Falling out of the god damn airplane.

Solution: Some basic mountaineering gear would likely do the trick. Just ropes and clamps.

All told, what you seem to need are high altitude mountaineering gear. So, some cold weather gear, an oxygen bottle, and some ropes. Doubtless it would be a nasty ride but you'd probably survive.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 6 months ago | (#46813239)

The equipment you are suggesting costs quite a bit more than a plane ticket, even including the extra baggage fee and the $10 soggy sandwich.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 6 months ago | (#46813257)

YOLO!!!!!!!!!!11111 Jokes aside, I do have to wonder how many animals end up making the trip -- a spider is going to have a much easier time surviving this than anything warm blooded. In the meantime, waterbears are calling everyone else amateurs... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46813299)

Does it really though?

The only expensive bit is the coat... lets say that's 500 to 1000 dollars and even that is if you're paying retail.

If you want to go cheap you can probably "make" coat out of old blankets. It doesn't have to be pretty or light. You're not going to move once you're in the wheel well. You're just going to sit in there and not move. So it can be heavy and clunky. Which means in so far as a coat is concerned it can be quite light.

Now in regards to oxygen, you're just looking for a basic tank there. you can either look for medical supplies or scuba supplies. Either one will probably work. You'll want to not pressurize it as much to compensate for the altitude but that's about it.

Second hand scuba equipment doesn't have to be that pricy.

Third you have whatever you're using to secure yourself under the plane. Mostly rope. Not expensive.

And then appreciate all of this is reusable.

The real problem with hiding in a wheel well is that its illegal and uncomfortable. The danger is only if you're unprepared and an idiot.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

x0ra (1249540) | about 6 months ago | (#46813319)

don't forget to keep your legs warm as well, it's a pretty significant source of heat loss.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46813337)

whatever... the point is that if you wrap up, get some O2, and some ropes you're good.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46813641)

The absolute cheapest you can buy a compressed gas tank for is about $100. I don't know how much the mask would be but I'm betting another $100.

A ticket for the same trip is $450.

So... yea, if YOU want to risk your life to save less than $200, go right ahead.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46813681)

well again... and I feel like I must have said this about 5 times already... its reusable.

So... yeah... the economy on the first trip isn't amazing. But if you make a point of doing this like some skybound hobo then your ongoing costs would be pretty low. You'd just have to refill the O2 tank between trips.

And obviously it isn't practical to actually do this... what the fuck are you talking about? Hitching a ride in the wheel well of a commercial airliner? Fucking ridiculous. It was a stupid idea before 9/11 and now with all the overblown paranoia about bombs on planes its almost impossible to get near them without either being a ninja or an airport worker. And with the possible exception of the ninja, I'm struggling to see why anyone would take the risk of discovery or account the discomfort as worth saving the cost of the plane flight.

So no... I am not saying it is practical.

What I am saying is that aside from the illegality and discomfort of being crammed in a depressurized wheel well for 5 hours... there are ways to do it safely.

If what kills people is the lack of oxygen and fridged temperature... then you get yourself an O2 tank and some warm clothing... and as to falling out of the well on landing... Tie yourself in.

This can't be that complicated.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

muttoj (572791) | about 6 months ago | (#46813391)

Write a letter to the Mythbusters.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 6 months ago | (#46813403)

All told, what you seem to need are high altitude mountaineering gear. So, some cold weather gear, an oxygen bottle, and some ropes. Doubtless it would be a nasty ride but you'd probably survive.

The only thing left is about... the crushing risk. And radical sudden air pressure changes you may be exposed to.

Also... the difficulty of getting in and escaping while carrying all this gear.

In this heavy winter gear... you will likely stand out for sure.

Re:This warning reads like a challenge to me (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 6 months ago | (#46813417)

how much more risk will there be if you run out there with nothing? It seems pretty similar.

As to air pressure changes, that is unpleasant but not life threatening.

Fartenheit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813285)

Really? Not reading further

Re:Fartenheit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813325)

Your typo is more entertaining than you are

Meanwhile.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813329)

"Normal People Also Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea"

Re:Meanwhile.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813551)

16 year old boy says "Whatever"

Engine noise? (1)

happymark (699734) | about 6 months ago | (#46813341)

What about the engine noise? Does one need to bring the earplugs?

YOU DON'T SAY ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813385)

Experts Say Hitching a Ride In an Airliner's Wheel Well Is Not a Good Idea

YOU DON'T SAY ? [kym-cdn.com]

I like memes and this one [knowyourmeme.com] really shines here

Units converted in celcius and metric (5, Informative)

Barryke (772876) | about 6 months ago | (#46813423)

For those outside of Lybia, USA, and Burma:

"at 6 km the temperature experienced by a stowaway would be -25C, at 9,1 km it would be -45 in the wheel well — and at 12,2 km, the mercury plunges to a deadly -65C (PDF). "

20,000 feet = 6km
40,000 feet = 12,2km
-13F = -25C
-85F = -65C

Young kids these days (5, Funny)

confused one (671304) | about 6 months ago | (#46813699)

Bah. You kids these days...

Back in my day, we didn't complain about the cold and lack of oxygen. We rode in unpressurized planes with open gun ports. Sure, it was cold -- we wore fur lined jackets and liked it. Our oxygen masks smelled like engine exhaust and we were grateful. You didn't here us whine about 'being crushed by landing gear' or 'being thrown from the plane'. We were being shot at. Hell, we were lucky to have landing gear at all when we got back.

So, stop your bitching and get off my damn lawn.

Written for my grandfather who manned a gun in a WWII bomber.

That's weird (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813771)

But Mars is super hospitable and ready for human colonization. You'd think a few hours in a wheel well is just a practice run for humanity's glorious destiny among the stars?

Survival rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46813773)

with a survival rate of about 25 percent. But agency adds that the actual numbers are probably higher, as some survivors may have escaped unnoticed, and bodies could fall into the ocean undetected.

The first part I get, but how does "bodies falling into the ocean" mean the survival numbers are probably higher?

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