Friday, December 14, 2007

Snakes On a Plane? No...Just Bees

Today's flying would be just two legs. Mexico City to DFW and back to MEX. I walked over to the airport alone this time and met up with my FO at the airplane.

We were parked next to a Mexicana Airlines Airbus that was being serviced. As we were running one of our checklists my FO noticed something funny about their wingtip and said "hey look at that!" It was a swarm of bees on the wingtip of the Airbus!!

It was quite a sight....especially on an airport ramp! I didn't know if they were killer bees or not but who cared!
A tanker truck had pulled up and two guys were getting suited up in chemical suits. We thought they were going to spray fuel or something on the swarm but instead they filled a couple of buckets with some kind of fluid and prepared to douse the wingtip.

The two guys discussed the situation for several minutes...we joked that possibly they were deciding who would have to do the job.....maybe they were drawing straws.

Finally the loser climbed on top of the truck and dumped one bucketful on the wingtip. But that didn't get the job done.....the bees just got mad and swarmed furiously....he had to do it a second time!

That seemed to do the trick. I don't know what was in the bucket but I did see several thousand dead bees on the ramp after that. All this time I had my cockpit window open so I could get photos. I hoped that no bees had gotten in and shortly after the show was over I closed it up and soon we were on our way to the runway.

Not too long after reaching cruising altitude I spotted a stowaway in the cockpit! He was a little bit groggy.....maybe it was the new surroundings or just the cabin altitude that had him moving slowly. It didn't matter to us......soon after posing for this photo, he was quietly eliminated. No free ride to the States today!

On a side note....When I first was a flight engineer in my early days here, whenever we would land in Mexico the authorities would come on board and disperse bug spray throughout the entire airplane before anyone could get off!! Everyone hated it....I remember that we would always keep the cockpit door closed and locked and windows open until they were all done. We would always tell them that it was company procedure to not open the door until all our checklists were done even though we had already finished. They finally quit that process sometime in the late 80's.

Anyhow, after all the excitement, the rest of the day was uneventful. One leg up to DFW, then the return back to MEX and over to the airport hotel again by 10 PM.

Nobody got stung.

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