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jetblue777
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Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:50 am

I recently found this article online and it seems pretty interesting. I didn't see anyone posted this yet, if so, mods please feel free to delete.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/0...symbol_n_974955.html?ncid=webmail2
It's a cultural thing.
 
flyorski
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:58 am

Wow! I have never heard this before. Very strange indeed. I hope the feds can get to the bottom of it quickly.
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fxramper
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:59 am

I would change the title of the thread to indicate vandalism of a/c at LAX airport. You might get more feedback.

As far as a/c getting tagged, it happens more often than you think. It did at my company anyways. Probably some bored ramp rat being stupid.
 
N766UA
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:51 am

Ramp agents do this stuff all the time, though typically on the interiors of bins. If you look in the grime and brake dust of a landing gear door, for example, though, you'll certainly see a note or 2 that ramp agents have left for whoever gets the plane next!
 
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TZTriStar500
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:27 am

Quoting N766UA (Reply 3):
Ramp agents do this stuff all the time, though typically on the interiors of bins. If you look in the grime and brake dust of a landing gear door, for example, though, you'll certainly see a note or 2 that ramp agents have left for whoever gets the plane next!

Exactly and anyone that works for an airline and been around many aircraft on the ramp sees this a lot. Airlines generally have policies against it though hard to enforce. I think NW used to have no grafitti placards on their cargo compartment walls. I tend to think this is quite the overreaction.
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mayor
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:05 am

When I was working in SHV in '80-'82, we had a war going with LIT.......all sorts of things written on the bin walls.
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AWACSooner
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:56 am

Hell, I've even seen it on some of the USAF jets as well in the brake dust and accumulated desert sand on the planes.
 
futureatp
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:40 am

Yup. I have seen some rather artistic signatures inside of the fuel panels of all US airlines. Just some examples I can think of: There is a guy in either DTW or MSP that signs inside the fuel panel on Delta aircraft "rud1e" (Rude One I presume). I used to see "McLovin" signed on some United aircraft. On Jetblue aircraft inside the fuel panel i see a lot of people trying to do wing to center tank break fuel downs by writing their math inside the panel.(Stupid btw, just figure 28K for the wings and the rest in the center. B6's policy is to let the automatic mode on the refuel computer do that for you anyway) There is a very proud University of Nebraska fan that has access to United aircraft in OMA as I have seen messages indicating such written in grease on the main gear fairings. I have even busted one of my own sending messages on a NW 757 years ago.

I used to see rather profane stuff written inside the fuel panel on Express Jet aircraft. They got tired of it a few years ago and sent out a memo threatening to press charges if anyone is caught defacing their aircraft. They did a good job cleaning their airplanes up.

It happens all the time but in the Southwest case someone got a little too creative. I read that whatever was used to mark the aircraft doesn't show up until the aircraft is powered up electrically. This individual probably will face charges.
 
usscvr
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:55 am

The story I read was short & sweet: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/21...nes/?test=latestnews#ixzz1YgHgNoQz

It mentions that the aircraft in question were not tagged in the conventional sense, but rather "...etched using a chemical process and is visible only after an auxiliary power unit is turned on."

First, this tells me that the area of the aircraft is not necessarily accessible to the ramp agents during the normal course of business on an average flight. I am not familiar with the internal configuration of the 73X, but aren't the heat generating components of the APU aft of the rear doors?

And secondly, I am not familiar with a heat sensitive etching process. Does anyone know what kind of process this may be?
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UnitedTristar
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:05 pm

Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 4):
I think NW used to have no grafitti placards on their cargo compartment walls. I tend to think this is quite the overreaction.

That was after an employee murdered a supervisor and bin graffitti was part of the problems of what lead to it. Not an overreaction at all!

-m

  
 
bhmdiversion
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:02 pm

Quoting futureatp (Reply 7):

There was a guy in ORD who would tag each aircraft he worked in the bin... pretty artistic stuff. I want to say that each YV 200 had that picture in the bin!
 
nycdave
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:39 pm

Clearly, if this was a heat-sensitive etching process, it goes pretty far beyond "harmless tags and notes to the next ramp crew". As for whether it was in Arabic, well -- that's just a rumor at this point. Let's be honest, also: it could just be meaningless squiggles (say, from some totally unrelated chemical spill, paint mishap, etc), but put anything that's not in the Roman alphabet on a plane, and an American's first thought will probably be "OH MY GOD! ARABIC!"
 
chuchoteur
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:54 pm

Quoting usscvr (Reply 9):
And secondly, I am not familiar with a heat sensitive etching process. Does anyone know what kind of process this may be?

Slightly complicated way to talk about heat-sensitive ink I think...
Quite easy to think/make, cf. links below.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermochromism

http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to-ma...at-sensitive-invisible-ink-174146/

On a 737, the rear APU cone is relatively accessible, particularly on the underside... maybe some tall guy or some such, doesn't necessarily imply high tech or priviledged access aside from airside access.
 
elmothehobo
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:13 pm

Not to get nit-picky, but Arabic is composed of letters not symbols, they just happen to write it from right to left and in, as I call it, "squiggly." The only "symbol" if you will would be the styalized (written in caligraphy) "Allah."

The problem with Arabic script is that to the untrained eye, it looks like "Squiggly", and whether its Punjab, Kazakh, Turkish, Persian, Malay or Arabic, it looks practically the same.

Something tells me that because they are referring to it as "symbols" (as if this were hieroglyphics or kanji) that they haven't actually verified that it's Arabic yet, let alone they they know what it means. There are very, very few Arabic linguists working for the feds (though a Persian or other linguist could easily tell what language it is). It's probably just a guy writing his name.
 
planespotting
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:19 pm

All aircraft in the United States have Arabic symbols on them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numbers
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Plainplane
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:37 pm

What I am curious about, is whether this chemical process the vandal used might result in long term damage to the aircraft, requiring some sort of extensive repair?
 
DUSdude
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 3:40 pm

Sure they have "Arabic symbols". They're called numbers.  
 
bonusonus
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:00 pm

Quoting planespotting (Reply 17):
All aircraft in the United States have Arabic symbols on them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_...mbers

Well said. This obsession with arabic characters being = to a security threat is pretty stupid IMHO.
 
airproxx
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:11 pm

The funiest I've seen so far was a graffiti written on a very very dirty cargo door, saying "I wish my wife was this dirty"...
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jreuschl
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:21 pm

Well, at least they fly free!   
 
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DesertFlyer
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:22 pm

Quoting SZDC10 (Reply 20):
American xenophobia? Please don't make me laugh. You're darn right it's a security threat. You have no clue what is being written on our aircraft, nor do you apparently have a clue which region of the world attacked us 10 years ago. Get over yourself.

Sadly, this is exactly what shufflemoomin is talking about...

What I find weird is that, according to the article, they're not sure if it is Arabic, just that it looks like Arabic. Is it that difficult to find someone who can translate Arabic? For all we know it says "Chris was here." I'm betting the article doesn't have all the information.

[Edited 2011-09-22 09:23:10]
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:32 pm

Writing inside the cargo bins is very common. Most of the time it's harmless, but sometimes it's offensive. It's common to see the same recurring messages, words or symbols as the "artists" responsible try to leave their mark on every aircraft they encounter. I've seen some hilarious things written...

A few years back it became popular to write city codes and trash-talk other city codes in the dirty areas of the plane. That got out of hand and while technically harmless, it looked horrible so the company took action and it stopped.

In this case what was written, where it was written and how it was written is cause for concern. I have seen the markings, but I wont comment on specifics.

Quoting DesertFlyer (Reply 20):
For all we know it says "Chris was here." I'm betting the article doesn't have all the information.

It doesn't. And I promise you it doesn't just say "Chris was here."
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Dazed767
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:34 pm

I remember seeing on some B6 a/c 'LGB' written on the panels. Eventually someone from JFK jumped in and put their spin on it saying LGB sucks _____.
 
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malaysia
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:58 pm

Wish they could show examples or any samples of what was exactly seen?
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nutsaboutplanes
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 7:59 pm

Airlines take bin graffiti very seriously as they should....every airline deals with this. What concerns air carriers is offensive nature of some of the "art" that is displayed. There are stations that have known gang issues (LAX, OAK) and gang symbols...... actual "tagging" has taken place on several occasions.

Most airlines have a "bin graffiti reporting process" for their ground ops department which involves photo documentation and notification to corporate security and the up line city station management.

I have often found some of the graffiti to be funny and got a good laugh out of it but, some of it is way over the top and has no place in a professional work environment.
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0newair0
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:07 pm

Quoting malaysia (Reply 23):
Wish they could show examples or any samples of what was exactly seen?

Apparently the letters/numbers/whatever were etched with a chemical that reacts to heat. When the plane is cold and sitting on the ground the markings are either invisible or at least hard to see. When the aircraft heats up from being in the sun, or the the engines being on, the letters/numbers/whatever get brighter and brighter as the surface temperature increases.
That's not how this works! That's not how any of this works!
 
AA777
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:44 pm

This is only news because the symbols are in "Arabic".... yet to be confirmed... could me a number of languages. This would not show up on the news if it was written in oh, IDK, Japanese or Russian....

It must be a terrorist plot to kill people or something dubious!!!!

     
 
0newair0
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:52 pm

Quoting AA777 (Reply 26):
This would not show up on the news if it was written in oh, IDK, Japanese or Russian....

It must be a terrorist plot to kill people or something dubious!!!!

If Pearl Harbor was attacked 10 years ago I bet you that this would show up in the news if it was written in Japanese.
That's not how this works! That's not how any of this works!
 
contrails15
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:04 pm

Quoting N766UA (Reply 3):
Ramp agents do this stuff all the time, though typically on the interiors of bins. If you look in the grime and brake dust of a landing gear door, for example, though, you'll certainly see a note or 2 that ramp agents have left for whoever gets the plane next!

In the hold and wheel wells for sure but on the aircraft takes some balls. This is why we report everything to cover our ass. If we don't, then the down station can blame us for stuff we didn't do.
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QualityDr
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:05 pm

Quoting usscvr (Reply 8):
And secondly, I am not familiar with a heat sensitive etching process. Does anyone know what kind of process this may be?

Well, for metals, almost any strong acid or base would do the trick, as long as you can immobilize it on the location desired. Many standard drain cleaners, oven cleaners, etc., have either a strong (mineral) acid or base, depending on brand and application. Especially useful would be the gel-style drain cleaners, as they're clear or translucent (thus hard to see in a thin film) and can be painted on with a brush or a rag. They'd stick too, unless hit with rain or other water source first.

I don't know how these would affect paint, but I could envision how it would darken a paint film, or maybe cause it to peel.

Damage to the aircraft? Yes, potentially. Think of it as accelerated surface corrosion. Could lead to micro-cracking and other undesirables...

(See, I just knew that Ph.D. in Chemistry would turn out useful, someday.)
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malioil
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:06 pm

Quoting 0NEWAIR0 (Reply 27):
Quoting AA777 (Reply 26):

My thoughts exactly. I was about to write the same thing when I saw both of your posts.

Agree 100%. It could even be Persian, Urdu, etc.- all which use pretty much the same alphabet as us Arabs, with relativily small deviations that would be hard to spot by someone who cannot speak a language written in the Perso-Arabic script.
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:22 pm

Quoting AA777 (Reply 26):
This is only news because the symbols are in "Arabic".... yet to be confirmed... could me a number of languages.
Quoting malioil (Reply 30):
My thoughts exactly. I was about to write the same thing when I saw both of your posts.

You know generally, when someone writes an offensive message, it's not the individual letters or the language that offends people, it's the MESSAGE that they convey when put together that causes the reaction. Wink wink

[Edited 2011-09-22 16:23:19]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
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TZTriStar500
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:07 am

Quoting UnitedTristar (Reply 9):
That was after an employee murdered a supervisor and bin graffitti was part of the problems of what lead to it. Not an overreaction at all!

I meant that this entire WN grafitti issue was an overreaction, not the placards. I was not aware of the reasoning behind why NW had them. We removed them from some ex-NWA DC-10s so the only reason I remembered they existed.
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combatshadow
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 1:25 am

Quoting mayor (Reply 5):
When I was working in SHV in '80-'82, we had a war going with LIT.......all sorts of things written on the bin walls.

Must be a UPS'er.
Bob
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:05 am

Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 32):
I meant that this entire WN grafitti issue was an overreaction

This isn't your typical ramp cargo bin graffiti issue. I'll repeat what I said above...

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 21):
In this case what was written, where it was written and how it was written is cause for concern.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
gokmengs
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:48 am

I don't kow if anyone posted this already but gawker.com has photos of the so called "arabic signs".
Here is the link:

http://gawker.com/5843021/here-are-p...iti-terrorizing-southwest-airlines
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KU747
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:48 am

Quoting gokmengs (Reply 35):
I don't kow if anyone posted this already but gawker.com has photos of the so called "arabic signs".
Here is the link:

http://gawker.com/5843021/here-are-p...iti-terrorizing-southwest-airlines

They must be kidding!!! What is this???

Quoting 0NEWAIR0 (Reply 27):
If Pearl Harbor was attacked 10 years ago I bet you that this would show up in the news if it was written in Japanese.

Absolutely.
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malaysia
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:53 am

Quoting gokmengs (Reply 35):
http://gawker.com/5843021/here-are-p...iti-terrorizing-southwest-airlines

Its showing on the engine exhaust not the APU
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Schweigend
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:28 am

Quoting 0NEWAIR0 (Reply 27):
If Pearl Harbor was attacked 10 years ago I bet you that this would show up in the news if it was written in Japanese.

Perfect analogy. Thank you.

Quoting chuchoteur (Reply 12):
On a 737, the rear APU cone is relatively accessible, particularly on the underside... maybe some tall guy or some such, doesn't necessarily imply high tech or priviledged access aside from airside access.

The 737 tailcone is too high for even a tall person to reach -- mechanics use hydraulic lifting platforms to access the APU. And besides, the cone is made of fiberglass or composite -- no metal for etching.

Quoting KU747 (Reply 36):
http://gawker.com/5843021/here-are-p...iti-terrorizing-southwest-airlines

They must be kidding!!! What is this???

Thanks for that. The picture tells it all. Finally, we know that it is the underwing engine tailcone that has been "defaced" or "vandalized".


Here is a short quote from the article:

According to our tipster, a Southwest employee who has seen these markings multiple times: "They are on the exhaust pipe of the engines. Usually on the inboard side. And most of them are described as looking like swords. (picture an elongated "S" with a line crossing it toward one end.)"


This brings up something interesting. The tailcone is usually super-hot upon arrival, and planes are turned quickly, no time for it to cool down really, or for someone to mess with it, not even the fueler, who does his work ten feet or so away from it, and goes right into the wheel-well to hook up his grounding cables. This makes me think that the "vandalism" had to have occurred during an RON.
 
D L X
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:47 pm

Quoting gokmengs (Reply 35):
http://gawker.com/5843021/here-are-p...iti-terrorizing-southwest-airlines

So, it IS written in Japanese!

(Or at least, that ain't Arabic.)
 
YYZatcboy
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:10 pm

It looks like the symbol from Heroes a bit...
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TZTriStar500
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Sat Sep 24, 2011 2:08 am

Quoting Silver1SWA (Reply 34):
This isn't your typical ramp cargo bin graffiti issue. I'll repeat what I said above...

Based on this......

Quoting gokmengs (Reply 35):
I don't kow if anyone posted this already but gawker.com has photos of the so called "arabic signs".
Here is the link:

http://gawker.com/5843021/here-are-p...lines

I'll repeat what I said earlier....this is nonsense.
35 years of American Trans Air/ATA Airlines, 1973-2008. A great little airline that will not be soon forgotten.
 
UnitedTristar
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:12 am

Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 32):
I was not aware of the reasoning behind why NW had them.

its a very sad story

http://www.unsolved.com/ajaxfiles/mur_su_taraskiewicz.htm

-m

  
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Sun Sep 25, 2011 3:38 pm

Quoting TZTriStar500 (Reply 41):
I'll repeat what I said earlier....this is nonsense.

Keep in mind this was an internal matter that somehow leaked to the media, who of course ran with it without all the details.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
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b727fa
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RE: Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols

Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:27 pm

"Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Arabic Symbols "
And if the graffiti were in English people would get to say, "Southwest Airlines Planes May Have Latin Symbols!"

I hope the Fed's get to the bottom of this!
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