The landing gear, or undercarriage, of a big airliner is a massive and powerful system. In modern times stowaways, have frequently attempted to hide within the undercarriage wheel-wells of airliners. The chances of surviving such an ordeal are remote in the extreme as the hazards are many. If someone attempting such a dangerous journey isn’t crushed by the movement of the gear as it stows or fall to their death when the undercarriage doors open to raise or lower the gear, then the environment will present an almost insurmountable hazard. Some, however, still survive!

The landing gear of a B747


The forces that the undercarriage assembly is subjected to are considerable


The landing gear assembly and doors of a B747


FAA guidance on times of useful consciousness


Stranded near Newfoundland in the ice


A Douglas DC8


The DC10


Japanese troops in Timor


A 1950’s airport similar to Kupang


A Netherlands Air Force C47


Darwin Hospital


Images under Creative Commons licence with thanks to Adrian Pingstone, Faisal Akram, Alf van Beem, Australian War Memorial, Fotoafdrukken Koninklijke Luchtmacht and kenhodge13.