Man Fined $17,000 After Throwing 'Good Luck' Coins Into Plane's Engine

Unless it happened when you were a baby, you can probably remember the first time you ever got on a plane.

Other than public speaking, it's hard to pinpoint something that inspires so much excitement and nervousness at the same time. And that probably goes a long way to explain why they're both fairly common fears.

But while plane trips could get pretty boring in the days before we could all choose our own entertainment, it's hard to imagine them that way when you're taking your first steps into the cabin.

Unfortunately, as one would-be passenger discovered, there are better ways of dealing with that nervousness than others.

In February of 2019, 28-year-old Lu Chao boarded a Lucky Air flight at China's Anqing Tianzhushan Airport.

As the BBC reported, this would mark Lu's first time on a plane and it seemed he was wishing for some good luck before he entered the cabin.

Unfortunately, the way he chose to do this was more potentially destructive than he realized.

According to Popular Mechanics, he gathered a few one-yuan coins and tossed them at the plane.

However, this decision would bring him anything but good luck once airport employees found a couple of the coins near one of the plane's engines.

Since there was a possibility that one of the coins became lodged in the engine, the flight was cancelled.

As the BBC reported, this left passengers stranded while the airline scrambled to find replacement flights for them.

However, Lu wouldn't be joining them as he was detained by police for 10 days and charged with disturbing public order.

Yet this wasn't the end of his troubles as Lu would find himself in civil court by July of that year.

Although Popular Mechanics reported that he argued the airline was inflating the cost of the damage from his coin toss and that passengers should have been warned not to throw coins at planes, he was nonetheless ordered to pay the equivalent of $17,000.

A coin in a plane's engine may not sound like a big deal but it can have some serious consequences.

As Javid Bayandor from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University at Buffalo told *Popular Mechanics*, a coin becomes akin to a bullet when it's launched out of a jet engine.

Although this would be a rare occurrence, that doesn't make the far more likely outcome of the coin damaging the engine while it's rolling around inside it any better.

Bayandor said that plane engines are designed to handle very specific hazards like birds or hail stones, but throwing a foreign object into them is like throwing a coin into a baking mixer. You can be sure it's going to wreck it.

He also wasn't as shocked by the fine Lu had to pay as he said that opening and repairing a jet engine is an incredibly involved process that can take weeks or even months.

In Bayandor's words, "Throwing any kind of debris, especially something like a coin, is foolish and so dangerous. It jeopardizes the aircraft and the people on board."

h/t: BBC, Popular Mechanics

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