« clap and cow carts | Main | you'll know it when you see it »

April 14, 2013



I rather liked the pair who were released by Cuban authorities into the care of Eldridge Cleaver, who allegedly later killed one of them in a fight over a woman.

Actually, I really want to know what the Cubans made of all this, as some insane percentage of them a) hijacked a plane going to Miami and b) took it to Cuba. Clearly they tired of the joke, because they started to send people to some sort of horrible swamp gulag instead of treating it as a bit of fun.


Maybe it's where Castro got the idea for the Mariel boatlift from.


Appropriate period music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gWXJIfxfXs


Ironically, the people who invented plane hijacking were anti-Castro Cubans.


We tend to forget how big a thing this was.

Indeed. I wonder if the book goes into the details of why it died down? Probably just better airport security (aimed at bombers) which also caught hijackers' weapons.

waving guns around in confined, pressurised spaces at high altitude.

Slight nitpick here: it's a common belief (thanks to, eg, Goldfinger) that if you fire a weapon inside an airliner, it will depressurise explosively and kill everyone. Not so. If you fire a .45 through the skin of an airliner, you will simply have an airliner with a hole .45 inches across in its skin. Airliners aren't perfectly airtight at the best of times - the air conditioning packs are partly there to keep the cabin pressure up with bleed air in the face of lots of small leaks round the door seals and so on. A bullet hole just means that the aircon has to work a bit harder.

If you manage to shoot up some of the wiring harnesses or something, still no effect: all that stuff is triply redundant. Shoot the pilot? There's a spare sitting right beside him.

The only potential risk is if you put enough rounds through a window that the whole window blows out. Then you get a lot of decompression happening in a hurry.

Richard J

Probably just better airport security (aimed at bombers) which also caught hijackers' weapons.

There's a bit in the really not-very good War That Never Was about the mercenariea catching a scheduled flight in the late 60s from Heathrow to Cairo with about ten pounds of C4 in their hand luggage...

belle le triste

nitpick of a nitpick:

The plane doesn't explode in Goldfinger, book or film. In the former, Oddjob is sucked out of the window after Bond smashes it with a knife. Bond then strangles Goldfinger, kills the pilots and lands the plane on the sea (lands it on the sea? what's the word I want?), where it sinks, along with Goldfinger's body.

In the film, it's Goldfinger's body that is sucked out, after which Bobnd lands the plane himself.

It's true that airpressure could not possibly suck a body out of a small broken window.


(lands it on the sea? what's the word I want?)

"A landing on water" is indeed the phrase used in safety demonstrations.


'Ditching' would be the terminology for those with the Right Stuff.

Richard J

Also, significantly more survivable than I'd been led to believe, it appears.

Chris Williams

Yeah, it's worth paying attention to that bit of the safety instructions. Also, a slide! a slide!


Remove any shoes with high heels, though it is usually only the young ladies employed by the airline who wear shoes with high heels these days.


The inquiry into Singapore Airlines 006 specifically picked out silly heels, and the ethos involved, as well as idiotic macho bullshit on the part of the captain, and the ethos involved, plus the Taiwanese airport management's slackness and the fire brigade's bungling. Dunno which ethos that was, but the first two issues are obviously the same one.

dick gregory

I couldn't find any discussion at snopes.com about this

We shall never know the identity of the man who in 1976 made the most unsuccessful hijack attempt ever. On a flight across America, he rose from his seat, drew a gun and took the stewardess hostage.
Take me to Detroit,’ he said. ‘We’re already going to Detroit,’ she replied. ‘Oh . . . good,’ he said, and sat down again.

The comments to this entry are closed.

friends blogs


Blog powered by Typepad

my former home