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Carrying models onto Airplanes


ClareWentzel
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The Phoenix Nats will be the first one that I have not driven to. I would like to bring a couple of models to enter but I am concerned about how to get them there. I am sure that people here have some experience. How do you get a model onto an airliner?

 

Can they be in a box and stored under the seat?

 

Can a box be shipped as luggage?

 

Any suggestions are welcome.

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The Phoenix Nats will be the first one that I have not driven to. I would like to bring a couple of models to enter but I am concerned about how to get them there. I am sure that people here have some experience. How do you get a model onto an airliner?

 

Can they be in a box and stored under the seat?

 

Can a box be shipped as luggage?

 

Any suggestions are welcome.

 

The answer is very carefully! ;) Actually the best thing to do is to get the carry on luggage maximum dimensions from your carrier and build a box to at least 1" smaller in all dimensions and then plan on putting it under the seat. Sending it through as baggage will result in you having an all night rebuild session. I have seen the way Tamiya ships completed models and they hold them in place with 3/4" wide ribbon over the top to hold them down. I have copied their techniques with great success. Here is a box I completed to carry a model which will be transported a lot. It is 1/2" birch plywood and the bottom is lined with foam tool cabinet liner that I get at Sears. Very dense and stable. I made cutouts so the model is not resting on the wheels. The body sits flush on the foam. This way the model has a good stable surface to sit on. Hope this helps.

Box1.jpg

Box2.jpg

Edited by PeteJ
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The Phoenix Nats will be the first one that I have not driven to. I would like to bring a couple of models to enter but I am concerned about how to get them there. I am sure that people here have some experience. How do you get a model onto an airliner?

 

Can they be in a box and stored under the seat?

 

Can a box be shipped as luggage?

 

Any suggestions are welcome.

 

 

As a veteran airline employee, above all else...DO NOT I repreat DO NOT CHECK YOUR MODEL AS BAGGAGE!!!

 

I agree with Pete about getting the max carry-on dimensions and shrink it an inch in each dimension. Have the package assembled so that it can be easily opened and inspected by security, even proactively approach them before you put it on the x-ray belt and tell them what you have. When you get to the gate, beg, plead, bribe the gate agent to let you on ahead of the dreaded "Zone 4" herd, or you'll likely not find any avaialable overhead space for your package.

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When you get to the gate, beg, plead, bribe the gate agent to let you on ahead of the dreaded "Zone 4" herd, or you'll likely not find any avaialable overhead space for your package.

 

If you're flying Southwest into Phoenix (I think PHX is one of their hubs, and I've always had good service from them), they'll let you pay $10 extra to guarantee you a spot in the first group onto the plane - still behind those paying business fare, put ahead of about 80% of everyone on the plane. If you're cheap like me, you can check-in online exactly 24 hours before your flight and be close to the front of the line, but the $10 extra seems worthwhile if you want to be sure to get an overhead bin for your model case.

 

Don

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I have had pretty good luck flying with models, and the two most important things I have learned is not to let the model move, and not to let any part contact the container. Prop up the model with scrap foam rubber to keep the wheels up, and a don't forget a corresponding piece on top of the model to keep it from rattling around. Cut foam scraps to shim the wings, nose, tail, etc while avoiding areas with antennas, pitot tubes and such. Tape the foam pieces in place if necessary. I use carboard boxes and paper towels to complete my high tech packaging. This works well for smaller models, but I would be at a loss for suggestions if you were packing a 1/48 bomber.

 

Hope that helped.

 

Neal

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I know the box I showed is a bit more complex, but the advantage is that it is very versatile and being build of wood, it is quite durable. If you transport models frequently by air or car, it can be reconfigured very easily. I have a couple which I use for local transport. I use different pieces of foam to reconfigure the interior to handle several different models. Might be worth it in the long run, but only you would know that.

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My experiences have taught me a few different lessons: (1) Do not put models in overhead storage! While you may pay more to get it on early, the jamoke trying to fit his too large piece of luggage in the last too small space in the overhead- right next to your model- will pound his bag like Rocky working a side of beef! All that shock will be transmitted to your model. (2) Use clear plastic boxes with clear plastic wrap padding, if padding is called for. Anything that makes it easier for the TSA to see the contents of your box-Xray notwithstanding- will make it less likely they will want you to open it and take out the contents. (3) Plan to store your models on the floor of the seat in front of you. You have complete control of this space! This will limit the size of the box and therefore the size of your entries. So think and build small for the "fly to" Nationals. Remember, the space under the seats varies in size from airliner to airliner ( 757's are great, 737's o.k., Canadair RJ's tiny). The space under the seat next to the window is usually smallest. Do not forget that if you choose to sit in the front row, there is no seat in front of you under which to store models. (4) You will likely have to tip the box to get it between the edge of your seat and the space in the seat ahead of you. You will therefore HAVE to fix the model to the bottom of your box. I glue all traveling models to bases. I use clear velcro to hold the bases securely, but removeably, to the bottom of the clear box or boxes. Good luck! Nick Filippone

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I flew from Atlanta to LA for the OC nats in 2007. I managed to get 7 models in a clear plastic storage container that fit under the seat in front of me. All the aircraft were supported off their gear with foam blocks cut to fit, and additional foam blocks were cut to fit so they rested on top of the models someway. I could rotate the box in any direction, and the models were secure, and reasonably secure from shocks. I figured the clear plastic container would afford enough of a view that I could avoid having to open it for any of the TSA goofs. All went well, all models made it there and back with no damage.

 

The camera that I made the mistake of packing in my checked baggage? Gone. The airline's response. Too bad. Oh well, it was time for a new camera anyway!

 

Mike Moore

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My experiences have taught me a few different lessons: (1) Do not put models in overhead storage! While you may pay more to get it on early, the jamoke trying to fit his too large piece of luggage in the last too small space in the overhead- right next to your model- will pound his bag like Rocky working a side of beef! All that shock will be transmitted to your model. Nick Filippone

 

Jamoke...I like that one!!! :smiley20:

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Just to amplify what's already been said: be proactive with security. If you ask them to be extra-gentle, and explain to them what's in your carry-on and where you're going, you'll be very surprised at how accomodating they'll be (and how interested, too - I almost missed a flight once because the TSA folks all had to see what wa in my bag). Don't make things adversarial, and generally things are easier.

 

For the record, I've flown to 14 of the 15 nationals I've attended. Building 1:72 means I can get four or even five models in a medium-sized athletic bag (purchased in the UK 16 years ago to lug back extra purchases!) which fits in the overhead - where I've had few issues, mainly because I again speak up and try to enlist the flight attendants and my fellow passengers in my battle against breakage. :) This year, I'm sending my models down with friends who are driving, since I'll be coming directly from New York and a business trip. Perhaps I should have been working on larger subjects for the 2010 event... Oh, well.

 

I've had few broken models on the way to the nationals - only the one I successfully got across the country, only to drop while entering the display room at the 1996 Virginia Beach nationals. I could not find a way to blame the airlines for that no matter how hard I tried.

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Thanks guys, I appreciate all of the comments. I have a fairly successful way that I transport models to contests that I am going to have to modify to get to the Nats. Here is what I do now; My Model Box

 

I will check out under-seat space and find the correct size of box. I know that I can not use pins to hold the supports in place so I will glue them in place and use rubber bands to hold the top pieces. I feel better about the project now. Thanks again.

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I have only flown with models once, to Phoenix in 2004. I used a clear Rubbermaid box that fit under the seat and foam cushioning to protect the kits. I also approached the TSA guy with a notice of what I was taking and it seemed he was aware of the show (other modelers passing through perhaps). I had two figure kits and a Sci fi vehicle, all attached to their bases and had no problems there or back.

 

Here is another alternative. While not necessarily based on flying, some of it looks helpful.

http://www.aircraftresourcecenter.com/tnt1...levy/tnt078.htm

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