A 34-stone ‘hacker’ claims he gained control over an aircraft, by simply swapping seats in the cabin.
Barry Whale works as an IT consultant in a phone shop in Dunstable: his expertise is ‘hacking’ SIM cards so they can fit in an iPhone.
“It’s a job that involves moving from the front desk to the ‘customer service cabin’, so I know a fair bit about moving between seats”, said Whale.
When the tech geek got up to use the rear lavatory, he noticed that the plane noticeably pitched up.
“By sitting on the toilet with my stretch pants round my ankles, I was able to command the aircraft to gain altitude”, Whale explained.
“Similarly, by reaching for an emergency pie in my overhead locker, I could adjust our course to the left”, he went on. “Then it was a simple matter of going to ask a hostess for a napkin, and very soon we’d descended 1200 feet.”
Whale demonstrated that he had control over other systems on the plane: he performed a ‘star jump’, and all the oxygen masks came down.
The airline has since improved procedures to prevent future attacks. A security chief explained, “we now put anyone over 20-stone in the luggage hold.”