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Old Jan 10, 2006, 12:11 PM
John Erickson
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n/a Posts
Re: Best sailplane airline case?

Mark,

The Sport Tube is a good system. It is a crap shoot whether or not you will
get charged for oversized luggage. When I flew out to Denver this last
summer, no charge, but two years ago I did get dinged.

Denver was easy; an airport with a conveyor belt designed for Sport Tubes
due to all the skiers.

JE
--
Erickson Architects
John R. Erickson, AIA


> From: "Mark Howard" <mhoward@akimeka.com>
> Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 19:33:15 -1000
> To: <soaring@airage.com>
> Subject: [RCSE] Best sailplane airline case?
>
> What's the best bang for the buck for traveling by air these days?
> Anybody using snowboard cases? What about X-cess fees?
>
> TIA!
> Mark
> RCSE-List facilities provided by Model Airplane News. Send "subscribe" and
> "unsubscribe" requests to soaring-request@airage.com. Please note that
> subscribe and unsubscribe messages must be sent in text only format with MIME
> turned off. Email sent from web based email such as Hotmail and AOL are
> generally NOT in text format


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Old Jan 10, 2006, 04:11 PM
Jim Laurel
Guest
n/a Posts
Re: Best sailplane airline case?

Just make sure you put something inside to keep the TSA goons from
smashing your rudder/tail when they close it back up. I put some
wooden sticks in mine, cut to the right length and taped in with duct
tape, but that's not the best way, as I learned...

Coming back from Visalia, I requested to be present when they
inspected the SASS stuff. One guys was ripping my wing panels in and
out of the tube sox, and the flaps/ailerons were catching on the
material. Solution: Push harder until the delicate corners rip.
One guy was trying to remove my wooden sticks (with 2 planes still in
there!!) He was was yanking them back and forth, up and down,
complaining "these things are taped in here real hard". "Yeah,
that's so you guys don't destroy $3,000 worth of delicate
sailplanes", I said. He was pretty unhappy about this, but
eventually gave up and closed the Sportube and as he did it, I
noticed that one of my stabs had moved and was now going to get
smashed against the top of the tube. When I moved to stop this, I
thought the TSA guys were going to go for their guns! Apparently, we
are not allowed to touch anything during these inspections.
Obviously, I backed off pretty quickly. Anyway, the guy proceeded to
push the tube closed and as he did it, I heard the sickening crackle
of fiberglass and carbon breaking.

When I got home, sure enough, I had a smashed stab on one of my Pikes.

What to do with Sportubes:
--Make up some of those aluminum brackets, as described in RCSD, and
RIVET them to the sportube. These are to prevent the Sportube from
closing past a certain point. These are less suspicious, and cannot
be removed. The sticks seem suspicious.
--Pack your sportube so that things won't move around.
--Tape your ailerons and flaps to the wing panel with blue masking
tape to keep them from catching on your tube sox or other packing
material. Tape the corners as well to keep them from catching.
--Don't rely on your tape job to keep everything together. In fact,
if you tape things too hard, they may damage your plane just
unpacking them. They remove tape forcefully.
--Probably the best idea is what I saw Sherman Knight do, which is to
place a complete JT models plane pack in the sport tube. Of Course,
this means only one plane per sport tube, though. I am going to talk
to Jimmy Prouty about some custom bags with stiffeners built into the
bag that will prevent the sportube from smashing the plane inside
when closed.

Lessons learned:
0) Pack as if a bunch of apes are going to inspect your stuff
1) The TSA don't give a Sh%&t about your property
2) They don't read or care about any signs on your container reading
"Fragile", "Do not close beyond this point", etc.
3) They will actually try to remove protections you have put in place
to keep your property undamaged
4) We have become a very fearful and paranoid people

Good luck,
--Jim Laurel

On Jan 10, 2006, at 8:56 AM, John Erickson wrote:

> Mark,
>
> The Sport Tube is a good system. It is a crap shoot whether or not
> you will
> get charged for oversized luggage. When I flew out to Denver this
> last
> summer, no charge, but two years ago I did get dinged.
>
> Denver was easy; an airport with a conveyor belt designed for Sport
> Tubes
> due to all the skiers.
>
> JE
> --
> Erickson Architects
> John R. Erickson, AIA
>
>
>> From: "Mark Howard" <mhoward@akimeka.com>
>> Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2006 19:33:15 -1000
>> To: <soaring@airage.com>
>> Subject: [RCSE] Best sailplane airline case?
>>
>> What's the best bang for the buck for traveling by air these days?
>> Anybody using snowboard cases? What about X-cess fees?
>>
>> TIA!
>> Mark
>> RCSE-List facilities provided by Model Airplane News. Send
>> "subscribe" and
>> "unsubscribe" requests to soaring-request@airage.com. Please note
>> that
>> subscribe and unsubscribe messages must be sent in text only
>> format with MIME
>> turned off. Email sent from web based email such as Hotmail and
>> AOL are
>> generally NOT in text format

>
> RCSE-List facilities provided by Model Airplane News. Send
> "subscribe" and "unsubscribe" requests to soaring-
> request@airage.com. Please note that subscribe and unsubscribe
> messages must be sent in text only format with MIME turned off.
> Email sent from web based email such as Hotmail and AOL are
> generally NOT in text format


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Old Jan 10, 2006, 06:11 PM
Barry Andersen
Guest
n/a Posts
Re: Best sailplane airline case?

I have recently checked into this company: http://
www.casetechnology.com/lightweightATA/

Their instant online calculator gave a price of $406 for a case with
an id of 13x13x65 with 1.5 inch foam liner, casters, and a
retractable handle. Ought to hold two or three TD ships.

Looks sturdy enough. I got a quick response from them asking for
more info. I haven't ordered one and can't speak to the quality of
the build.

I agree with Jim below... I think if you pack your plane in a JimBag
or equivalent and some padding you are probably safe with one
airplane in a SportTube. I shipped two once and got a small split in
an LE for my trouble.

I tried hard to get a straight answer about excess baggage charges by
phone with Delta. No luck, not a no, but not a yes either. Check
out the website of your airline, most have a section about "sporting
gear" in the luggage info section. They say they will allow skis,
snowboards, golf clubs, other such toys. One could certainly argue
that a SportTube fits in, and also that sailplanes are sporting
toys. If your airport will allow curbside check-in, a nice tip to
the check-in guys is often all that's needed.

That still leaves the TSA problem. I generally put a big sign on my
SportTube that says "Sporting Goods" then another sticker or two
with instructions for TSA stating that the contents are fragile model
airplanes and asking to be paged for inspection. I was never paged
and don't think I had mine torn apart. Jim's advice about making it
fool proof is important to heed.

Barry Andersen

On Jan 10, 2006, at 3:58 PM, Jim Laurel wrote:

> Just make sure you put something inside to keep the TSA goons from
> smashing your rudder/tail when they close it back up. I put some
> wooden sticks in mine, cut to the right length and taped in with
> duct tape, but that's not the best way, as I learned...
>

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Old Jan 10, 2006, 06:11 PM
Phil Barnes
Guest
n/a Posts
Re: Best sailplane airline case?

I tend to take the simplest approach whenever possible. If I were a TSA
employee and had to inspect a bunch of luggage I might especially appreciate
having odd luggage packed in such a way that it was easy to inspect. If I
were a low paid TSA employee with a bad attitude I might take my
frustrations out on luggage containers that were hard to inspect and
involved a great deal of care to repack.

Perhaps the above explains why I have never been a fan of the sport tube as
a sailplane carrier. Of course, the other reason is that I always have a
ready supply of shipping boxes that are just the right size for packing
model sailplanes. All I do is take one of my double wall shipping boxes that
measure 12" x 12" x 69" and cut it down to a convenient size. For traveling
to Poway with DLG models the box ends up being about 64" x 12" x 9". I then
reinforce the box with 1/4" plywood on the inside. This is really simple
too. I just cut the plywood to size and stick it to the inside of the box
with 3M77 (my favorite tool, by the way). I only line the sides, not the top
and bottom. The main function of the plywood is to prevent the box from
being crushed or especially from being broken in half on conveyors. I then
use a couple luggage straps around the outside of the box for a handle and
as a closure system. I tape the box closed with packing tape also for
airline travel. If TSA does want to look inside they can cut the tape and
retape it easily. But they usually don't since the box is essentially
transparent to the Xray machine.

I can pack six DLG models in that box. I just put each wing in a sleeve made
from clear bubble wrap. For an actual airline flight I might wrap some
bubble wrap around each fuselage. I then just drop the airplane parts in the
box, the stabs go in loose with no extra padding. If the box isn't quite
full I'll add a few layers of bubble wrap to keep stuff from banging around
inside the box. I get a warm cozy feeling about my box. I know that even the
most lazy or hurried or annoyed TSA employee will have no trouble repacking
my box and will have no trouble seeing what is inside the box. I also know
that this style of box is strong enough to take any concievable abuse and I
can make almost any size box I want very quickly.

I put all heavy things and things that would look suspicious on an Xray in
my other checked bag. Only the models go in the model box. I'm not sure my
model box has ever been inspected, at least I've never found one of those
little TSA notes inside. I find those notes in my other checked bag all the
time because that bag has transmitters, batteries, voltmeters, lead ballast,
etc in it.

Only clothes and non threatening touristy sorts of things go in my carry on
bag so I don't have hassles there either.

Phil


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Old Jan 10, 2006, 08:11 PM
Michael Lachowski
Guest
n/a Posts
Re: Best sailplane airline case?


If you don't want to deal with TSA, you can spend a little extra and
ship things 2-day or 3-day Fedex. Have it sent to hold at the Fedex
office that is probably located at the office. Pick it up when you get
there.

At least you know it won't be "repackaged".
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