Any airline pros who saw "Catch Me if You Can"

Okay, last night the family and I watched Spielberg’s Catch Me if You Can . Over all, we really enjoyed the movie. Some of Frank’s escapades seem a bit far-fetched, but it’s a movie. It was fun.

One question though: On a 707 (I think it was), how could a person go from the lavatory to the landing gear? In the story, Frank goes to the lav to throw up. He is distraught at the sudden loss of his father and he casts about the compartment looking for a way out. When he doesn’t answer the door, Carl suspects Frank has somehow escaped. They bust down the door and discover an empty room. Carl discovers that the lid to the commode has been unfastened. He immediately lifts the lid and dives in (yuck!). Meanwhile, the plane has landed and is taxiing. The camera cuts to outside the aircraft and we see Frank climb out of the port side wheelwell. How are these two areas possibly connected? Is the lavatory an exit (besides the waste dump)?

Not a pro but IIRC the lavatories are at the extreme ends of the passenger section while the wing is mounted in the middle and that’s where the landing gear are. IN any event the lavatory is inside the pressurized cabin while the wheel wells are outside in the wings.

You have to look close but Carl did not climb down the toilet bowl but next to it once he lifted the seat.

The movie leads us to believe that Frank somehow squeezed between the toilet fixture and the wall and wiggled down into the landing gear, which I am guessing is probably not possible.

In any event, that part didn’t happen in real life.

According to Frank Abagnale’s autobiography, it did happen in real life, on a VC-10:

After touchdown, he crawled down through the hole, lowered himself through the access hatch, and dropped ten feet to the tarmac as the pilot taxied to the gate.

Actually, the movie seriously underplays the teenaged Frank Abagnale’s real-life exploits. Although the game-show appearance bit at the beginning refers to the scope of his “paper-hanging” (in all fifty states and 24 foreign nations), the film depicts very little of this, suggesting instead (perhaps somewhat exaggeratedly) that Frank was trying to establish roots while living on the run.

And one of Frank’s major exploits wasn’t referred to in the film at all: his one-year stint as a sociology professor at, IIRC, BYU. [Hee-hee, apparently it wasn’t all that difficult to B.S. one’s way past a Sociology Dept. hiring committee…] He claims that he was an extremely popular lecturer. How did he manage it? He claims it was mostly just by keeping one chapter ahead of his students!