SOAP!!!! Everyone Panic!!!


International Herald Tribune
Squirrel discovery diverts Tokyo-Dallas flight to Hawaii

The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 14, 2007

An American Airlines flight made an unscheduled landing after pilots heard something skittering about in the wire-laden space over the cockpit.

The airline blamed the emergency landing of the Tokyo-Dallas flight with 202 passengers on a stowaway squirrel.

“You do not want a varmint up in the wiring areas and what-have-you on an airplane. You don’t want anything up there,” said John Hotard, spokesman for the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline.

He said pilots feared the animal would chew through wiring or cause other problems.

“So, as a precaution, we diverted,” Hotard said.

Once on the ground late Friday, the Boeing 777’s human passengers were put up in hotel rooms and later rebooked on other flights.

State and federal agriculture and wildlife officials boarded the plane, set traps and captured the eastern gray squirrel.

Hotard said the plane had flown to Tokyo from New York before the Dallas flight.

Honolulu, however, proved to be the squirrel’s final destination. Fearing it may have been carrying rabies, authorities had the rodent killed.


I don’t understand the topic title. I can only assume you meant to poke fun at the TSA? If so, that’s stupid, this has nothing to do with security, it’s a matter of a rodent chewing through some very important wires that run along the ceiling of the cockpit. It was very wise of them to divert the plane to get the squirrel out of there.


now that is something I wouldn’t mind happening to me I would make the best time out of it free night in Hawaii NICE.



  1. How did they trap it so fast (having been blessed with squirrels in the attic*, it took weeks to catch the little beggers).

  2. How do they know it was traveling alone?

  3. Is the “what-have-you” an original Boeing part, or a special aftermarket option on AA aircraft?

*Squirrels in the attic is not a euphemism for liberal.


My guess is the OP was referring to the movie “Snakes On A Plane”, (“SOAP” for short on the internet), but tried to interject some humor by changing Snakes to Squirrels.

I’m also impressed with the speed they caught the varmint - or is it a critter?

Edit for Damiross League Compliance: OP = original poster


Yet another reason why unexplained abbreviations shouldn’t be used. Courtesy would say the OP (which, as far as I can tell means either “Opie Pyle” or “Original Poster”) would have explained SOAP (which I thought had something to do with a programming language).

Just how often does it take for people to be reminded that this is an OF and just because you know an OASIS doesn’t mean everyone does. Courtesy says explain an A the FTIIU.

OF: Open Forum
OASIS:Obscure And Stupid Internet Shorthand
A: Abbreviation
FTIIU: First Time It Is Used

(The above abbreviations are property of the Damiross League. Any public viewing of these abbreviations without the express written consent of the League is okie-dokie by the League unless you routinely use “there” instead of “their” when you mean the latter and not the former.)


Unlike the inhabitants of your attic, this one was undoubtedly hungry.

A little peanut butter in a trap and they’d have the miscreant in a few minutes.

Squirrels make very good vulture food! Live ones make very good raptor food…


Mr. Rightmyer correctly decoded the Snakes on a Plane reference…the “Everybody Panic” quote I stole directly from

It was not my intent, however, to second guess or ridicule the pilots for making the prudent decision to land…they had no idea what was up there.

But, I’m wondering…I’ve been on the Boeing and Northrup assembly lines in the LA area, and I’ve seen the cable bundles and wiring bundles. Would it be possible for a squirrel to do any real damage?


Squirrels are rodents, with the ever-growing incisors to prove it.

Given the squirrel inflicted damage to my bird feeders I’ve witnessed over the years, even the STEEL ones, I wouldn’t give any cable bundle an even chance when confronted by a hungry or trapped squirrel.

Very good call on the part of the pilot and airline when they decided to divert.


Look at Swiss Air. It caught fire in flight b/c of chaffed wiring in the “attic” above the cockpit. The plane crashed into the Atlantic killing everyone aboard. The NOVA special was very good.

Also how many house have burned down b/c of wiring issues casued by mice? I know of one, usaully thought it’s “faulty wiring.”



I saw that outstanding episode, although I was thinking it was Frontline, but you’re probably right, since you have a linky. Anyhow, my hat’s off to the fine folks who sifted through all the little shards of metal and pieces of wiring (some no longer than your thumbnail) to pinpoint the source and cause of the fire that brought the SwissAir MD-11 down. Having seen that, I have no doubt at all that a squirrel could bring any airliner down by chewing on the right wires. I’d like to know how many stowaway critters get onto aircraft each year? I would imagine there’s a fair amount that actually exit the plane (many miles from home :smiley: ) before ever being detected.


While it was the arcing from the chaffed wires that started the fire, I find it very interesting that the real culprit was the insulation (actually the covering over the insulation) that proved most un-fireproof, and that it is “too costly” to retrofit existing aircraft with a new fireproofing material.

And by the way “SOAP” with four (4) exclamation points after it is a very stupid title for this topic.


The scary thing is that the time table to retrofit came and went with out most of the a/c being done. And all the aircraft certified before that date (2004 I’m thinking) were exempt. That means there are still aircraft flying over our heads that have the same type of insulation. Not to mention internationally that never mandated the retrofit.

A scary read is this document that out lines the types of wiring used on a/c. Pay attention to Kapton and the types of a/c it’s used on still. Still more light reading. These reports don’t even mention general aviaiton a/c.