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taking a telescope on an airplane

Started by benkokes, 01/30/2005 04:54PM
Posted 01/30/2005 04:54PM Opening Post
Sounds strange, but has anyone ever done this one?
I believe that I would have to break it down into many parts or something to get in under the size and weight constrictions(for OTA and tripod). It seems that standard allowances are about 62 linear inches and 50lbs per bag. And I can check 2.

Pelican cases, are they light?
I have a fairly large green military shipping case that is 68 linear inches ( but weighs a ton).

I would prefer the size of the OTA case to be 31 no longer than 31 inches...
any ideas at all?
Posted 01/30/2005 07:14PM #1
I have taken a Televue Pronto and also an ETX90 OTA on airplanes. Just check the OTA in a small case (ETX had modified plastic toolbox with foam in it, Pronto had a softcase carrybag) as your carry on luggage. I put the tripods as normal luggage.

Both scopes were fine and I really enjoyed having the ETX in Arizona!! The Pronto went to Maine a few years ago, but I got clouded out that entire week.
Posted 01/30/2005 07:15PM #2

It is done all the time. Especially on the big groups going to view eclipses. It is important to pack everything well.

Remember, they take surfboards, and skis and golf bags on airplanes. So it isn't size you are worried about, generally.

And, I don't know where you are going, what kind of scope you will need, etc.....But-think out well whether you will need all that stuff.

Posted 02/03/2005 02:07AM #3
I've done this once with a old dobsonian, where I built a wooden crate for it and check it in as baggage. This worked okay back then, but I wouldn't do it again. I once carried a short focus refractor with a solar filter in a small case, which worked fine (I didn't get any questions when the security person couldn't see light through it though!) Since then I've gotten a short refractor and a padded bag for it, so it'll be easy to bring it along as a carry-on. With things as valuable and fragile as optics, I would only carry the OTA on the plane myself. If you want to bring something larger than a small telescope, there have been a few articles in S&T about making truss-tube dobsonians airline portable.

Mike Connelley