Monday, April 21, 2014

Aviation Update

Of course the big news today is not Syria possibly crossing the red line..again...after a negotiated settlement (and Carney effectively saying 'big deal').  No, the BIG story is the 16 year old kid who embarrassed the San Jose, California airport authority/security by hoping the fence and stowing away on a Hawaiian Airlines wheel well and surviving the flight to Maui.  Allegedly..
The teen, who hasn't been named, is believed to have jumped a fence at the San Jose Airport and settled into the Hawaiian Airlines jetliner's unpressurized wheel-well, unnoticed by airport security.
Authorities said the teen told them that he passed out after the Maui-bound plane took off, and somehow survived, despite freezing temperatures and a lack of oxygen -- a feat that has experts puzzled.
Crew members found him wandering the tarmac in Maui without identification. He was taken into custody and examined by a doctor who found no injuries. At this time, the teen isn't facing federal charges, Simon said.
First, not sure why they wouldn't at least pretend to charge him to discourage copycat activity. They could back down later. Second, guys like Captain John Nance are rightfully scratching their heads because everyone assumed that if a body is exposed to limited oxygen and temperatures below zero for hours on end they should be dead.  Is this one of those things we thought we knew, but didn't?  Maybe the kid didn't die because he didn't know he was supposed to die.

Third, maybe it's not as cold in the wheel well of a commercial jet once the gear retracts as people think. We keep hearing -40, report even said temperatures of -80 at 39,000 feet (which is bordering on Day After Tomorrow lunacy) but simple logic would say the inner part of the sealed wing does not get nearly that cold, especially after the heated tires retract up into that slot. Still, the limited oxygen combined with say temperatures below zero F (conservative estimate) should make it hard for a body to survive.

Fourth, the media has told everyone over and over that the passengers on MH370 would have died within a few minutes after the flight reached 39,000 ft with cabin pressure removed. Maybe that's not true.

Fifth, maybe this story is complete poppycock.  But if it is, how did the kid get to Hawaii?


The stowaway kid story is interesting, but it comes just as two other somewhat strange aviation events have happened over the last several days.  Taken apart they are not much, taken as a whole maybe something else.  On Friday one made national news:
"Why did it take so long? What was the real holdup here? What were they really looking for?" asked Jace Booher, according to CNN affiliate KDVR. A law enforcement official told CNN that a bomb threat found written on a note prompted the security screening after the plane landed at Denver International Airport.
Just a day earlier a Southwest jet destined for Indianapolis made an emergency landing in a similar fashion:
An Indianapolis airport spokesman says a Southwest Airlines flight has safely made an emergency landing after the airline received some kind of threat. Spokesman Carlo Bertolini says Southwest Flight 362 requested the emergency landing and landed without incident Wednesday afternoon at Indianapolis International Airport.
The flight with 138 passengers and a crew of five aboard originated in Baltimore and was headed to Indianapolis already. The emergency landing means the flight was met with emergency vehicles.
There seems to be no follow up report on the actual threat.  The aircraft was checked, including all the baggage, as if they might have also been looking for a bomb.  Apparently two false alarms, two days apart.  

But these stories come on the heels of a weird release of a video this past Wednesday showing dancing jihadists in Yemen parading around out in the open threatening America, including their elusive AQAP supreme leader Al-Wuhayshi.   Keep in mind this group isn't like the Syrian or Iraqi branches of AQ that Obama doesn't seem to care about, this is the aviation branch of AQ, home of bombmaker al-Asiri, whom we have been targeting viciously over the past few days.  For all anyone knows these domestic stories have been dry runs.

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