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Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Piper Aztec

Like many of you, I've been trying to mentally picture two burly cops leaning over Helen to hold an aeroplane door shut. I keep imagining some scene out of a TV disaster movie - two guys trying to futilely grasp a 747 passenger door, while Helen grips the armrests of her seat.

In reality the Piper Aztec is a small two-engined low-winged plane. It's not pressurized either, which was half the problem with my imagined version of the scene (in which bodies and suitcases were flying at rapid velocity towards the torn-off door).

Here is a Piper Aztec of Mountain Air, the charter firm which flew Clark:
Mountain Air Piper Aztec

And here is a view of the four rear passenger seats, presumedly where Clark, PR person, and the two cops were sitting. One person may have been sitting up front next to the pilot.
Piper Aztec Interior

And here is the Aztec on the tarmac with the damaged door open [source]:
Piper Aztec door

So given the Aztec is unpressurized, the door is a flimsy little aluminium thing, and all the passengers were seatbelted, it wasn't as much of a Hollywood-type emergency as I first imagined. Still, would have scared the crap out of me if I'd been there.

Finally, here is Clark and some Diplomatic Protection Squad police officers just after the flight (I don't know if they're THE two cops)[source]:
Clark and Diplomatic Protection Officers after Piper Incident

Helen looks truly happy for once. Maybe she should get into extreme sports.

UPDATE @ 11:14AM: Air accident investigator Ken Mathews: 'While the incident was frightening for the passengers, they were never in any danger'. Full Dominion Post article (including photo of door now firmly shut).

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 4/14/2005 01:54:00 am

2 Comments:

Blogger David said...

I'm guessing the only danger would have been if the door had detached itself completely and damaged the tail or rear control surfaces. But that assumes multiple faults with the door, rather than just a faulty locking mechanism (or failure to use it properly).

Still, in order to ensure Prime Ministerial safety and in the spirit of cyclists being made to wear polystyrene tubs on their heads, I think Helen Clark should only fly wearing a helmet, goggles, and parachute.

4/14/2005 02:08:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

LOL, David!

4/14/2005 09:14:00 pm  

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