Planes in California's Mojave Desert: Animal Intermediate Tenants
Photo: Mark J. Terrill / AP
Since the outbreak of the corona pandemic, hundreds of passenger jets have been waiting for better times in California's Mojave Desert. Animal residents are obviously happy about what costs the airlines a lot of money: As the airline Quantas reports, rattlesnakes have discovered the decommissioned A380 jets as a new home. When inspecting the jets, employees of the Australian airline therefore use idiosyncratic tools to drive the animals away: broomsticks.
"The area is known for its aggressive rattlesnakes, who like to make themselves comfortable on the warm rubber tires and in the wheels and brakes," the airline quotes engineer Tim Heywood. That is why every aircraft was given a so-called "Wheel Wacker" - a retrofitted broom style. Before inspecting the chassis, you hit the wheels with it to drive the animals away. "We spotted a few rattlesnakes and some scorpions, but the Wheel Wacker does its job and drives them away," Heywood says.
During the pandemic, airlines around the world parked numerous jets in so-called "long term storage" - the aircraft are stored long-term, but are no longer ready to fly.
The Mojave Desert is particularly popular because the climate is dry and there is plenty of space.
In view of the falling corona numbers and increasing demand, many companies are gradually putting their jets back into operation - and they also have to deal with the animal intermediate tenants.
"That's another sign of how strange the past year was," says Heywood, airline employee.
The engineer hopes that the jets will soon be able to take off again: "We can hang up our Wheel Whackers at any time."