Man Found Dead In London Suburbs Was Plane Stowaway

Coroners have confirmed the body of a man found dead in the suburbs of London was almost certainly a stowaway hiding inside the landing gear of a British Airways flight from Angola.

The Guardian is reporting José Matada was either dead or nearly dead due to hypothermia and lack of oxygen when he fell out of a plane as it opened its undercarriage for descent into London Heathrow Airport last September. Matada, who is believed to have been seeking a better life in Europe, had a single pound coin in his pocket, as well as currency from Botswana. Also in his pocket was a sim card, which investigators used to identify him.

In case you are weighing your options, sneaking into the undercarriage of planes comes with a low survival rate. In fact, a recent BBC article noted that from 1947 until September 2012, there were 96 known stowaway attempts that resulted in 73 deaths.

[Photo credit: Flickr user David Reese]

Paris Air Show 2009: A sense of scale

Covering the Paris Air Show is like trying to cover a football field with a napkin. There is so much space, depth and gravity to each display that you could spend a week going through each exhibit hall and still not get the full picture.

The above photo is a great example. This landing gear will be part of the new Airbus A350 aircraft, a model that still hasn’t been fully developed, but that’s generating a lot of buzz.

Standing right next to the gear you get a sense of the size of that aircraft. Each of the wheels comes up to your chest, which means the entire system is over 15 feet tall. And this is one corner of one display, in one corner of hall 3. It adds up quickly.

Engines have the same effect, with Pratt and Whitney, United Technologies and GE all bringing out the big guns for jaw dropping passers by. Check out one of the GE GENex engines that’ll be used on the Boeing 787 (with composite fan blades!) on display after the jump.