Snakes, scorpions, and Qantas planes

Courtesy Qantas

Like a lot of airlines, Qantas is storing planes in the Mojave Desert while it waits for travel to return to pre-COVID levels.

The dry heat and low humidity of the desert make the California desert a good place to store the airline’s A380 aircraft. But engineers tasked with maintaining the planes have created their own special tool to deal with rattlesnakes and scorpions that like to hang out in and around the airplane wheel well and tires.

Qantas Manager for Engineering in Los Angeles, Tim Heywood, explains in a Qantas “Roo Tale,” that engineers make regular trips from LA to Victorville, CA to do aircraft inspections and that “encounters of the slithering and rattling kind are all part of the job.”

“Every aircraft has its own designated ‘wheel whacker’ – a repurposed broom handle- as part of the engineering kit, complete with each aircraft’s registration written on it,” said Heywood. “The first thing we do before we unwrap and start any ground inspections of the landing gear, in particular, is to walk around the aircraft stomping our feet and tapping the wheels with a wheel whacker to wake up and scare off the snakes. That’s about making sure no harm comes to our engineers or the snakes.”

Souvenir Sunday: scorpion pop from Tucson Int’l Airport

It’s Souvenir Sunday – the day when takes a moment to celebrate the fun, inexpensive and local souvenirs for sale at airports.

This week’s souvenir comes to us courtesy of David Parker Brown, of, who recently visited Tucson International Airport. 

The airport’s holiday entertainment line-up includes performances by bands and orchestras from local middle and high schools and you’ll find some great art pieces scattered around.

And, if you stop to do a bit of shopping, you’ll come across these lollipops with scorpions inside.

Thanks, David, for snapping this photo for Souvenir Sunday.

Souvenir Sunday needs you: if you find something for sale at an airport that’s fun, inexpensive, “of” the city or region and a bit offbeat, please snap a photo and send it along. If your souvenir is featured on Souvenir Sunday, I’ll send you a travel-related thank-you gift.