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URGENT: Traveling with rocket stuff?!

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eugenefl

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Tomorrow morning (12/19) I leave for Hawaii. While in Hawaii I will have the honors of flying the Tour de Deuce! Woohoo!

Alright, now that there is homeland paranoia in full effect, would it be safe to travel with my Estes Command Control w/ batteries? I am also planning on packing a small Porta Pad II in my luggage (no rod...duh.) Will any of this be considered contraband or raise any red flags? Consider that some of this gear has BP residue on it. Do you think I'm gonna get yanked from the plane by some FAA, ATF, or FBI agent? (I told you - Homeland Paranoia Act!)

Any and all suggestions are welcome. I have a brand new Estes Electron Beam that I'll never use and I will gladly modify it. I could buy some lantern batteries in HI. I just don't want to blow this, ya know?

Some speedy replies will assist me in getting this together quickly. Motors will be purchased over there.
 

rbeckey

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Eugene, if it were me, I would not have anything in my luggage with BP, AP or any kind of residue on it. I'll bet dollars to donuts you get pulled from the flight, and miss it while they do a cavity probe and tear your bags apart. Not cool. I have read about new detectors in some airports that are picking up residue off the persons of folks who have recently been to a shooting range!
 

n3tjm

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Go to Hawaii with out any rocket related stuff.... once at Hawaii, pick up your DW from where ever you ship it to... either borrow a pad and launcher froms someone, or go to radioshack, buy some speaker wire, some clips, and a switch.... and use your car battery. For the launch pad.... copper rods are cheap... and you can mount them in the ground, if you need a blast deflector... use some stones, bricks, or anything non, flammable you can find... even a phone book would work :). (That was one of the saftey tests the airforce did, launching rockets off of phone books... non of the pages caught on fire ;))
 

Steward

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Why don't you go and buy a new "STARTER KIT" and pack it "unopened"...that way you'll have most everything, and can modify whatever you need after you get there... stuff can get pretty pricey over there...
 

powderburner

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Don't take along a new starter special, they include motors!

I'll bet if you take your old launcher, with or without batteries, they will not even recognize it if you pack it with your personal kit or anything besides rocket stuff.

Batteries will always raise suspicions. If you can get batteries there, why bother? You are going to have to stop somewhere to buy a launch rod anyway.

I agree with rbeckey, try hard to avoid anything with residue on it. Or, plan on going to the airport four hours early to clear the boarding inspection in time for your flight.
 

sandman

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Buy a starter set in Hawaii.

$20 at Wal-Mart.

$20 is cheaper than a cavity search!

Give it away before ya leave...concider it part of the price of the trip.

sandman
 

Steward

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I wasn't thinking...sorry...

In my attempt to be smart...I got stupid instead....
 

jflis

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Motor residue or not, a launch controller in your bag will cause it to be opened and searched. They will see a box with wires and switches in the x-ray and pull it aside to check.

It's not a *problem* as they will see that it is harmless and let it past. you would NEVER be allowed to bring it as carry-on, but in your luggage it isn't really an issue as you can't access your luggage from the passenger compartment.

When you arrive, you will see a note in your luggage telling you that your bag was opened and inspected and the bag will be sealed with a tie-wrap. ;My was, both ways when I went to Florida because of the tools and one model rocket I had in my checked luggage.

jim
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by sandman
Buy a starter set in Hawaii.

$20 at Wal-Mart.

$20 is cheaper than a cavity search!

Give it away before ya leave...concider it part of the price of the trip.

sandman
To play it safe, I may end up going this route. Now all I need to know now is how to modify the Estes Electron Beam to work with more voltage. I will end up buying 2 6V lantern batteries and wire them inline. (Those are cheap.) I know there is either a thread dedicated to this modification and I vaguely recall reading an article in Sport Rocketry about it.

I suppose having the bag searched is not such a bad thing, but to have a piece of luggage lost or something broken is another.

The Estes Command Control looks pretty menacing so I don't want to bother with being questioned. As of yet, I haven't heard any breaking news of close calls at the airports yet. The words "ARM" and "LAUNCH", blinking lights, the red/yellow stripes, and the safety key slot all look like items found on a Hollywood prop detonation device. Besides, in this day and age I bet there are a few geeks out there that want recognition for "thwarting" a possible airplane disaster during the holidays. "Suspected terrorist turns out to be model rocket enthusiast and is released after questioning" is something I don't want to be famous for. ;)

I was laughing at some of the recommendations. "Cavity searches"...LOL, you guys crack me up! :D

Let's just all cross our fingers model rocketry is alive and well in Hawaii. I sent an Email to my girlfriend, who is already there, to have a look in her neighborhood WalMart to see if they carry starter sets. Worst come last, I bite the big one and have someone from the mainland overnight express me a starter set.

Thanks for all the input. See you all from Hawaii!
 

Mike

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Ermm Eugene, are you planning to launch a cluster with the electron beam in the starter set?
 

SwingWing

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Skip the lantern batteries and use the rental car battery instead. Mod the electron beam with battery clips hooked to the input or skip it and wire direct to the car batt with a knife switch (arm) and a pushbutton switch (fire) inline in one wire.
 

eugenefl

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Originally posted by Mike
Ermm Eugene, are you planning to launch a cluster with the electron beam in the starter set?
A modified Electron Beam. All I need is the circuit with safety key. The Electron Beam would be modified to route power from another source.

As for modifying a rental car battery, we won't be traveling in a rental car. The other concern is that we might be in an area where the car battery is accessible. I don't think my girlfriend's mom would appreciate me taking the battery out of her new CRV. :(
 

eugenefl

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Ok folks...here's the plan. First off, thanks for all the replies to this thread. A few days ago I went to the local hobby shop and picked up an Estes Tidal Wave RTF starter set (ICK!) :mad: and two packs of C6-7s. (They didn't have any C6-5s! :eek: ) I paid $29 for the Tidal Wave set...think that's pricey? Get this - it was on SALE! :eek: Regular price is $35.99. The next cheapest RTF starter set was $41.99. Wow...talk about "island" life prices. The C6-7s were $6.99.

For ignition purposes, I plan on wiring a 6V lantern battery inline with the 4 AAs for a total of 12V. I figure I'm only planning on 3 flights - The Tidal Wave on a C6-7 for wind checking and the 2 TDD rockets. I am positive this will suffice. (BTW, in my younger rocketry days we did this as kids and successfully flew 2 and 3 engine clusters.) So, in a nutshell, longevity of the batteries is not an issue.

Last but not least, anyone interested in an OOP Estes Python can drop me a PM on the side. This hobby shop has about 5 of them on the shelves. Sale price is $18.99. I'm not certain as to whether they do mail order or not, but I imagine if they do, plan on slapping another $12+ for shipping. Hey, I know I'd buy one if I was desperate enough.
 

eugenefl

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BTW, I forgot to mention but Walmart in Hawaii does not carry Estes rocketry items. :( They do however, carry the air powered stuff.
 

Steward

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You were talking about prices over there...
I was lucky enough to go over there a few years ago, and it absolutely blew me away...Imagine my surprise when I ordered a Miller beer and paid almost double...found out it was an import...LOL...BTW Isn't it crazy feeling to be spending Christmas over there in the sun and surf...I was there during the holidays as well...talk about weird...Christmas music on the beach...Christmas trees and shorts!!! Gotta love it....LOL
Have fun...!!!
 

matt_taylor

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Steward
try coming to New Zealand, i don't think i have ever had a Christmas that was under 70F
so i don't know what a white Christmas is:D

matt
 

Juerg

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Allmost every year I am standing in front of US imigration with a big box containing a rocket, last time together with friends and the huge Ariane that was launched in Texas.
A few hints from my experience:
- No pyrotechnics (Motors, BP, igniters etc.), these have to be bought on site
- No batteries installed. Electronics w.o. battery is not dangerous, this is easily understandable for the safety officers. I also remove any electronics from the rocket and put it in its own box.
- Carry a rocketry mag with you, prossibly also have one included in every piece of luggage (this is self-explaining ;) )
- Don't lock your luggage, it WILL be searched ;)

I did never have big problems, just don't try to hide anything but explain.

Juerg
(Switzerland)
 

rabidsheeep

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i wouldn't... living in new york, ya know... the umm... orange alert city? OH GOD ITS ORANGE!!! NOT ORANGE!!! i also have a muslim last name so if they find a nailclipper and a plastic spoon they'll pull me and my whole family over and search us...
 
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