IF YOU ARE WONDERING WHAT CARLOS IS DOING HERE, YOU HAVEN'T READ THE PART ONE. PLEASE CLICK HERE.
The wheels started to roll faster, gathering speed, only centimeters away from his dangling feet. A few seconds later, they finally found the foothold they were desperately searching for. He hauled himself up grabbing the hydraulic pipes that ran down the strut. He felt the pipe bend under his weight. He shifted his weight on to the now diagonal metal bar and grabbed for the top of the wheel strut flap, which was now hanging open, and climbed into the wheel bay.
First of all Carlos, there is no guarantee that you won’t be crushed to death being pinned by the hydraulically operated retracting landing gear in that cramped place which is designed to accommodate only the landing gear.
Carlos watched the tarmac rushing under him at alarming speed. The black rubber burn marks on the runway together with the rushing row of runway lights and markings made blurred patterns at high speed. The undercarriage banged, creaked, shuddered and groaned below him. The roar of the jet engines sounded incredibly loud in the confines of the wheel bay. Suddenly the creaking, shuddering and groaning ceased as the giant wheels lifted off the runway with hiss of hydraulics as the suspension was freed from weight of the aircraft. He watched white pedestrian crossing like markings at the threshold of the runway dropping below. The Scenery which was zooming out rapidly filled the view. The runway, the airport buildings, perimeter fence the tree tops the highway, the fields, …. What a view!
Dude, they say, depending on the type of aircraft and the landing gear set selected and also the build of the stowaway, sufficient space would be available for a tight squeeze. For example, on an old DC-8 the right landing gear compartment would have enough space to accommodate a stowaway. But if he was unfortunate enough to select the left landing gear compartment, he would be in for surprise when the landing gear retracts, because hydraulic fluid reservoirs and other fittings take up most of the free space. It would then be too late to abort mission as the giant retracting landing gear would trap him and crush him before he realizes that there isn’t enough space for him, landing gear and wheel strut and everything. Anyway the compartment doors would close beneath with finality and the aircraft would be climbing higher.
|This is an animation of how it roughly works. This diagram shows a single wheel to simplify the mechanics. The 777 has multiple wheels . Image from Wikipedia.|
And then, he heard the hiss of the hydraulics and the hum of a giant motor which surprisingly muffled the roar of the jet engines. The wheel bay cover opened downwards to make way for the wheels that started retracting. The wheel strut bent inwards, with the diagonal arms telescoping in. The giant wheels rushed toward him menacingly, blocking the breathtaking view and threatening to crush anything in its way to pulp, if he didn’t watch out.
The huge wheels which were still spinning, narrowly missed Carlos’ head because he pushed himself sideways using the onrushing landing gear strut for leverage. The wheel bay suddenly became even more cramped and darker giving Carlos a feeling of claustrophobia. As soon as the landing gear came to a rest in its womb, the wheel bay flaps started to close on them shutting out the fading lights from the outside world and completing the nightmare.
If you managed to survive that, dude, then,the temperature dropping by each foot the airplane climbs, will work against you.
To make the matters worse, as the aircraft will gradually climb to cruise altitude, at about 18,000 ft, as the oxygen level thins out the hypoxia will slowly start setting in. As a result, you will feel fatigue, nausea and a splitting headache. Then you’ll be struggling to breathe, and in the worst case scenario, end up in a coma or even death. It would be a colorful death ‘cos, you’ll turn blue most probably, ha ha. Well, it’s not a joke, though I tried to make it sound like one. Okay, it's a bad joke.
I know you did science stream at school. So, you know what I mean.
Suddenly Carlos felt that the rubber tire was burning his face. He hadn’t realized that an aircraft tire can get so hot during the takeoff run. He moved his face as far away as the cramped enclosure allowed him.
Above 20,000ft, you will also be at the risk of being exposed to nitrogen gas embolism and Decompression Sickness anyway. That is why the cabin of the aircraft is pressurized.
At 22,000ft, you will feel lightheaded and weak and will be shuddering and struggling to keep conscious as eyesight and hearing will be impaired as your blood oxygen level will drop further.
Above 33,000ft (10,065m), the lungs require artificial pressure to function normally. Do I sound like a goddamn manual or a textbook?
Those stowaways whose bodies are not mangled by the retracting landing gear or killed by these extreme conditions will almost certainly be unconscious by the time the compartment doors re-open a few thousand feet above ground, causing them to plunge to their deaths.
Carlos wriggled his feet because he felt they were trapped. Luckily, he could free them when he tried to pull them out one foot at a time. He moved around to find the most comfortable and natural, possible posture and in a few minutes settled down for one, turning a bit.
Carlos groped for the seat belt and found its buckle. He held the buckle with his left hand while his right was groping for a possible anchorage to pass the belt around. Finding two levers, one huge and the other smaller next to each other, he chose the latter and proceeded to work on the buckle to take as much slack on the belt to pass it around himself and the lever. With a sigh of relief, he finally clicked the buckle home. “Now, at least, I wouldn’t fall off the wheel bay into a lake or a forest, as henryblogwalker had said,” he thought.
I don’t mean to sound very pessimistic, but these are the facts I found as a result of my search just to make you realize what you have in mind is just stupid.
As the ambient temperature drops as so will the PP O2 (Partial Pressure of Oxygen) causing a blackout. Buildup of acid in body fluids due to these extreme conditions is not rare, which can cause coma or death.
So being alive at the cruising altitude of say 39,000ft is a miracle against all these odds.
So don’t be a moron, Just give up.
The noise from the giant jet engines sounded incredibly louder in the confines of the landing gear bay. He checked if his earplugs were still in place. Of course, they were. The rubber wheels were still radiating enough heat to make him sweat in all the layers of clothing. And the steel levers were still hot perhaps from the hot hydraulic fluids in them. He felt like a loaf of bread in an oven.
Carlos swallowed hard several times to ease the stabbing pain he felt in his ears. The jet seemed to be climbing steeply and steadily into its cruising altitude. The whine of the jet engines gave him a headache. It was beginning to get colder.
At the same time, hypothermia is likely to be brought on, with temperatures dropping as low as -63˚C. The Hypothermia will get in the way of normal metabolism as your core temperature is dropped causing mental confusion, even if you are still conscious. And you will start to shiver uncontrollably which would be made worse if you are not wearing proper warm clothing.
It was growing colder and colder. Carlos started to wriggle his feet and slap his cheeks with his gloved hands. On top of that, he was feeling light headed. Henryblogwalker was right. His breath was becoming shallower and shallower. He suddenly remembered his friend Juan who was suffering from chronic asthma. He used to breathe like this sometimes until he had a puff from his inhaler.
The heat from the tire was comforting now, though it was diminishing fast. He found a new source of heat from the steel tubular arm next to him, which was still warm from the hot hydraulic fluid inside them.
Frostbite will be one of your worst enemies at these high altitudes. Some stowaways were found frozen.
Dude, when I was surfing the net, I saw Cuban refugee Victor Alvarez Molina who arrived in Montreal Canada, hiding in the wheel well of a DC10, miraculously survived the 4 hour journey in -40˚C, thanks to a faulty pipe in the wheel compartment which leaked warm air for him to survive, in addition to providing him a handle grip to hang on for dear life when the landing gear lowered beneath him for landing.
It was a lucky break, nothing else. You can’t expect the same miracle twice. So don’t do it, dude. Anyway, if you try this ignoring all I said, God bless you, you stupid idiot!
Carlos was floating between wakefulness and unconsciousness. The breathing was so hard that his chest was aching as if he had a ton of bricks on it. He felt as if he was being strangled. He struggled for breath. Surprisingly the roar of the jets seemed to be muted from time to time. He thought it was funny that there were thousands of gallons of sloshing jet fuel inside the wing, just next to him only a few feet away from the roaring furnace fire of the giant jet engines hanging from the same wing. Only a few feet away… Only… a... few…
Carlos lay unconscious in the wheel bay. The air temperature and oxygen levels around dropped further.
The Boeing 777 leveled out at 37,000 feet and settled to cruise at a steady speed of 0.84 Mach.
The flight attendants served dinner to the flight deck crew and the passengers. The plane shuddered a little as the plane flew through some mild turbulence. Flight attendants were wearing their professional reassuring smiles.
The Boeing 777 cruised through the silent night skies without incident, its body glowing silver in the moonlight.
Will Carlos make it?
You will find out in the final episode. Please Click Here.