back to article Snakes on a Plane meets The Simpsons as airline creates ‘whacker’ to scare reptiles away from parked A380s

Australian airline QANTAS has developed a piece of technology dubbed a “wheel whacker” to help stop snakes and scorpions boarding planes it has parked due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia’s borders are currently all-but closed and QANTAS has ceased international flights other than government-run repatriation flights that …

  1. Andy Miller

    Reuse

    Surely this is just a modern use for the famous Australian Bushwacker?

  2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge

    Everything in Australia trys to kill you

    ... apparently this hold also true for everything Australian parked somewhere else around the globe

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Everything in Australia trys to kill you

      Surprised Australians are concerned by a mere rattlesnake.

      That's not a deadly snake - THIS is a deadly snake !

    2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
      Pint

      Re: Everything in Australia trys to kill you

      My part of Outback Oz® we're not that worried about snakes.

      The crocs keep their numbers quite manageable.

  3. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C
    Coat

    Best of order please

    For the Wheel Tappers and S(nake)hunters

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    K.I.S.S.

    For readers who hoped the wheel whacker was a masterpiece of aerospace engineering and composed of exotic materials, we have bad news: the whackers are just broom handles. Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated.

    You say this like it's a bad thing?

    Why go for something highly technical, complicated and expensive when something simple and cheap will do the job just as well, or perhaps even better (or at least more reliably). The age-old K.I.S.S. principle in action...

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: K.I.S.S.

      It's a marketing thing by Airbus.

      Free with every Airbus A380 - a whacker that doubles as a broom!

      1. William Towle
        Coat

        ...but

        > Free with every Airbus A380 - a whacker that doubles as a broom!

        ...17 new labels and 14 new handles later, is it the same broom?

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          Re: ...but

          Ask Trigger, he'll tell you.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    Call that a snake?

    People in tropical Australia often get pythons in their toilets.

    That’s why it’s best to knock before entering.

    1. Andy Non Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Call that a snake?

      I can just imaging the snake shouting back "The toilet is engaged."

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Call that a snake?

        "I'd give it a few minutes if I was you."

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Call that a snake?

          Python: "Strewth mate my guts are crook, I must have had a dodgy falafel after those twelve VB's last night."

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Call that a snake?

      > People in tropical Australia often get pythons in their toilets.

      Wow, people who just have worms must feel a lot better now.

    3. beep54
      Unhappy

      Re: Call that a snake?

      When I visited an uncle in Kansas on his farm, fresh water was somewhat scarce and we had to use the outhouse for doing #2 (we could pee in the toilet all day but it was only flushed just before bed). There was a long stick in the outhouse. I asked what it was for and was told it was to check for snakes in the crapper. Lordy, I HATED using that outhouse.

    4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Call that a snake?

      The Stately Manor (which is soon to be someone else's Stately Manor, as Secret Headquarters have been fully relocated to the Mountain Fastness) is situated in an area known informally as the "Bat Capital of Michigan". Large brown bats and small brown bats are very common and will establish colonies in any building they can get into.

      The city containing the SM is the county seat, and has a lovely courthouse in the Second Empire / Italianate style in the town square. During the summers discrete signs are posted in its restrooms urging patrons to check for bats clinging to the underside of the toilet seats, lest they1 suffer an unpleasant surprise.

      Bats are, I suppose, less distressing than pythons in this particular context. But the rabies rate is around 3% in the brown-bat population, and rabies treatment2 isn't much fun, though I understand it's better than it used to be.

      1The patrons, though I suppose the sentiment could be applied to the bats as well.

      2Which you'll probably want to get, should you have any reason to suspect you were bitten. Good luck catching the bat that bit you to have it tested.

  6. Eclectic Man Silver badge

    This is why people in Africa, when walking through the bush will hit the undergrowth with a stick - so that any venomous snakes will quietly slither away and not bite them. Australia and America are not the only places with deadly reptiles.

    1. john.jones.name
      Mushroom

      yeah but Africa just got hippo's and wild dogs

      Australia has far more deadly animals and we dont go round hitting the bush we just walk to school and worry about magpies

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Well, Africa does also have worries like mambas, boomslangs, cobras, serious scorpions etc.

        But yes, in Australia we do mainly worry about the magpies. Bastards.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Never forget the Dropbears!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Australia's thought of that

      Death adders are ambush predators, and don't slither off when they sense the vibrations from beating the undergrowth. They will sit there quietly as you walk past. Unless you tread on them, when they will bite.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Australia's thought of that

        I was all set to go for a walk, now I'm too scared (I live in Reading, UK, and I'm a WIMP).

        When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,

        He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.

        But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.

        For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

        (Kipling* - 'The Female of the Species', 2nd verse)

        *The writer one, not the one who bakes 'exceedingly good cakes'.

        1. My-Handle Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Australia's thought of that

          "I'm a WIMP"

          Please report to CERN, they've been looking for you for a while.

          /nerd-joke

          1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Australia's thought of that

            (Alec Guinness voice)

            "I am not the WIMP you are looking for."

            /nerd-joke

    3. Falmari Silver badge

      @Eclectic Man “Australia and America are not the only places with deadly reptiles.”

      Ah Genus: Politician, they do seem to get everywhere.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A colleague in South Africa was rock climbing. As he levered himself up to a ledge - he came face to face with a Puff Adder. He let go and dropped.

      It was said that they also liked to sun themselves on suburban street pavements - and are reluctant to move away. IIRC they are very fast strikers - with a sideways strike.

  7. andy k O'Croydon
    Childcatcher

    Presumably they'll only do this once a year though? (On their hallowed snake skull-cracking day.)

    1. My other car WAS an IAV Stryker Silver badge
      Joke

      Is this or stomp on some weasels.

      (This joke reserved for Close Personal Friends of (Weird) Al.)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Hip hip hooray!

  8. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated

    Why? Does each plane need a bespoke broom handle design to have it's wheels whacked? Or has someone with far too little work to do thought up a new rule to occupy themselves?

    "George! You used the wrong stick AGAIN! This is your final warning!"

    1. Winkypop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated

      There was a special on broom handles at the hardware store.

      The *fork handles* weren't available...

      https://youtu.be/CNTM9iM1eVw

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated

        A candle would soon break when you hit something with it - if it hadn't already started to melt in the heat.

    2. batfink Silver badge

      Re: Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated

      Well clearly you wouldn't want to get them mixed up and use the wrong stick for the wrong plane. What are you thinking man?

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated

        Because each need to be FAA and EASA certified and so costs $10,000

        Its use is documented in a 1000 page binder with monthly service notice updates and another document telling you how to apply the first set of updates..

      2. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated

        I presume that it is in case one of the whackers goes 'missing', so that the relevant team cannot just acquire another aircraft's whacker. Not that any Australian or USA employee of an Australian airline would behave in such a dastardly manner, of course.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Each whacker is, however, labelled with the name of the A380 to which it is dedicated

          It's probably as much to keep them uniformly distributed among the planes as anything else. Otherwise a tech would likely grab one from the first plane they passed by, and then leave it at another plane, and soon the whackers would be unevenly distributed and either you'd have five at your plane or none at all.

          Labeling them is an incentive to keep one (or N) at each plane.

          Simple human nature.

  9. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Love the southwest

    Many years ago, my father flew out to southern Arizona for an interview with a mining company. There had recently been a case in the national news of a boy bitten by a brown recluse spider: I think the Air Force may have flown the antivenom from wherever it was to the kid's city. Anyway, poisonous spiders were on my father's mind, and he asked whether this town had problems with brown recluses or black widows. Nah, said the company guy, the scorpions eat them all.

  10. Brian 3

    The real story here is Qantas calling their mechanics engineers - this will come back to bite them in the ass at performance review time when all the mechanics demand engineer pay!

    1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
      Happy

      Engineers

      In one employment I was promoted to the rank of "Principle Engineer", which as I have a PhD in mathematical logic, I rather liked.

      1. the Jim bloke Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Engineers

        Did your duties involve modifying and adjusting principles to achieve the companies objectives?

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Engineers

        "Sure, my title is 'Principle Engineer', but mostly I just maintain existential qualifiers. It's not a bad job if it exists."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An evening BBQ was on a farm in the South African veldt. Needing a pee I walked away from the lit area round the house. Wearing flip-flops I suddenly realised my instep had trodden on something tubular and slightly squashy - phew - a garden hose.

  12. the Jim bloke Silver badge
    FAIL

    Repatriation flights to Australia

    With the bollocking the government is getting every time someone slips through their half arsed quarantine system,

    - the snakes and scorpions would be more welcome than our returning citizens.

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