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<   No. 1121   2006-02-20   >

Comic #1121

1 {scene: Inside the Graf Zeppelin, flying over a wintery vista.}
1 Haken: Now we are safely out of Russia, hand over die orichalcum.
1 Monty: You want it, Haken... {grabs Ginny's suitcase and tosses it out the window}
2 Monty: You go get it!
2 Ginny: Nooo!!
3 Monty: {to Ginny} Nice acting.
3 Ginny: The suitcase had a false bottom! The orichalcum was actually in there!
4 Monty: You lied?!
4 Ginny: I'm a spy!!
4 Prof. Jones: She's got you there, Junior.

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When I wrote this, I was really pleased with it, but wondered how easy it would be to show Monty throwing the suitcase out of the zeppelin. As it turned out, it wasn't as hard as I thought, and I think it works well enough.

And yes, that's a door in the side of the zeppelin. Of course there's a door there - how else do they get in and out when it's on the ground?

2015-06-05 Rerun commentary: Interestingly, the door in the side of the zeppelin opens outwards. Which implies that the cabin isn't pressurised, otherwise it would pop open of its own accord when they reach a certain altitude.

Over the years I've sometimes wondered about the doors on planes. They have that huge lever that anyone could yank on if they wanted to - could some idiot potentially open the door on a commercial flight and cause a dangerous problem for everyone on board??

It turns out that they can't. Even if you could release all the safety latches and so on, modern airliner doors open by pulling them inside the cabin. And since the cabin is pressurised compared to the air outside when flying at any altitude, you have to overcome this air pressure differential to open the door. The strength required to do so is beyond any person.

Unsurprisingly when you think about it, aircraft engineers have actually thought about the safety issues of operating a plane, and designed the things to be as foolproof as possible.

That is, modern real-world aircraft engineers, not fictional Nazi zeppelin engineers.

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Last Modified: Friday, 5 June 2015; 03:11:12 PST.
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