Aviation expert: "Possible" to stow away

Delvonte Tisdale

Print
Email
|

by BETH SHAYNE / NewsChannel 36

WCNC.com

Posted on November 24, 2010 at 12:57 AM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 24 at 10:22 AM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A spokesperson at Logan Airport in Boston confirms that investigators are looking into the possibility that North Meck student Delvonte Tisdale may have fallen from a plane onto a suburban street in Milton, Mass.

The 16-year-old's mangled body was discovered in the middle of a road Nov. 15 with a note in the pocket that said, "Delvonte Tisdale A Lunch." It took a week for investigators to trace the remains to Charlotte. The mystery into how Tisdale died and why he was in Massachusetts remains unsolved.

Investigators are now working through the "remote possibility" that Tisdale could have stowed away in the wheel well of a jet, and fallen when the pilot lowered the landing gear.

Retired pilot J. Joseph, of Joseph Aviation Consulting, tells Newschannel 36 it's happened before, and occasionally, the stowaways live to tell about it. The space is small, but some jets have enough room to accommodate a person.

"Oddly enough, its already happened twice this year—one in Russia, once in Europe [from Vienna to London]--and both were survivable," Joseph said.

Those flights were both very short, and likely did not reach the altitude a flight from Charlotte to Boston would reach.

"At 30,000 feet," Joseph said, "the temperature would be between -40 degrees Celsius and -60 degrees Celsius." Joseph also notes there would be very high temperatures in the wheel area--perhaps as high as 400 degree Celsius--during taxi because of the use of the brakes.

The lack of oxygen at 30,000 feet, Joseph said, would cause hypoxia within seconds.

The flight path from Charlotte Douglas Airport from Logan Airport does pass over Milton, Massachusetts. Joseph believes it is a farther from the airport than a pilot would typically lower the landing gear, but several different circumstances could explain it.  He also said the sudden opening of the area would be a huge surprise to a stowaway.

"It would be pretty hard to hang on," he said.

There are also questions about how a stowaway could get onto a jet. A spokesperson for Charlotte-Douglas International Airport said the airport has not been asked to investigate concerning this theory.

"I guess the bigger question is how would an individual gain access in a post 9/11 environment," Joseph added. 

Print
Email
|