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10-25-2012 02:04 PM  5 years agoPost 1
Rob43

rrKey Veteran

Midland, MI USA

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Who here has shipped a completed scale helicopter? I've been negotiating a sale on my bird, and am very apprehensive about the shipping, in particular, the packaging. I will need to consider a transport from Michigan, USA to a US military base in Germany. My basic concept is to build a wooden box with the model bolted down to the floor of the box by the skids. Some supports under the boom. The entire bird in plastic bag to protect paint. The mechanics removed and wrapped separately in the box and tied down. The balance of space filled with packing peanuts.

Am I on the right track? What are the chances it can arrive without damage to the fuselage?

Thanks for any advice.

Rob

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10-25-2012 02:12 PM  5 years agoPost 2
wrongler

rrProfessor

Brewerton, New York

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If you can make it safe enough to survive a drop of 3 feet, You should be in good shape! I read somewhere that was a safe rule of thumb!

Bill Whittaker

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10-25-2012 02:58 PM  5 years agoPost 3
Mojave

rrElite Veteran

Palos Verdes, Ca. USA

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IMHO, you don't have to remove the mechs for shipping. The bird flys with mechs in it, so it should survive shipping with no issues. Removing the rotor head will allow you to make the box shorter and keep the dimensions and weight down for lower shipping cost. I made a crate to ship 1 of my helis to Florida and I used "P" clamps (adell clamps) to hold the skids down to the floor of the box. They're cheap and strong, you can get them at an electrical supply store.
Barry

All helis and planes have an expiration date stamped on them...you only find it after you crash!!

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10-25-2012 03:05 PM  5 years agoPost 4
Dirt Biter

rrApprentice

Naas, Co. Kildare, ROI.

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Sounds ok but remember not to ship the batteries by air!

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10-25-2012 03:17 PM  5 years agoPost 5
Rob43

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Midland, MI USA

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Thanks. Mechanics are out for other reasons. In this case, the buyer will be installing his preferred FBL controller, so he needs it out to do that anyway. No advantage to reinstall it just to need to rewmove it.

I do have one battery I intended to include thoroughly wrapped and packed.

Do I take it none of you have created a shipment of a 500 or larger scale model capable of a drop of three feet? I find it unlikely it can survive it without damage, no matter how well I pack it. A 500 fuse is paper thin. As I think about it, I can imagine if the "floor" to which the heli is anchored is resting on foam, perhaps it could absorb the shock. My worst fear is the box is standing and falls over. Fairly likely scenario as well.

Rob

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10-25-2012 03:18 PM  5 years agoPost 6
doorman

rrProfessor

Sherwood, Arkansas

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Shipping Crates
It sounds to me that you are in the right direction...I have shipped several scale heli's, the largest being a completely built INDY HELI APACHE.. that was a big model and about 7' long... my wife kept giving me weird looks when I told her that it was only a box for a heli...but it did sort of look a LOT like a coffin!!!!
I like to use a thin luan type paneling (3/16 to 1/4" for the exterior... I take 2x3 and split them for the frame work... I also take 2x4's on the bottom so that the crate is up off the floor in case they are going to use a forklift to move it.. and then I will space (with pieces of 2x4) a handle near the top on each end... and once built stencil the box top and bottom and Fragile...
The frame work inside, I like to use an X along all sides and just straight cross pieces on the bottom and top to tie it all together... sounds a little complicated, but it is not...
As far as the actual packing of the heli, I would leave the mechanics in the fuse and mounted as they would be when flyable.. I then do as you suggest and tie the landing gear to the bottom and even add a reinforcing piece on the outside bottom just in case you need a little more strenght...I use bubble wrap on the fuselage, with the larger type bubbles (U-Haul)and do a double wrap on it... then I fit a piece of wood on the top of the box that would reach down and just touch the head of the heli, this keeps it from adding extra stress on the landing gear IF the box should fall...any other gear that you need to include can be bubble wrapped and strapped into the box... I do not use the peanuts on this type of shipment.. just to messy and if they do destroy a crate of this type the peanuts would not serve any purpase at all... Hope this will help give you some added ideas and good luck with your shippment... Stan

AMA 2918-Team Spin Blades,,Castle Creations, Unique Aircraft

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10-25-2012 08:13 PM  5 years agoPost 7
Rob43

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Midland, MI USA

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I keeping with the idea of the haed support, I believe I could also place a "pole" with a base tacked to the plywood floor inside the fuselage, and have it padded on top to rest against the top of the box when it's secured down. As you said, it will provide relief to the skids if the box is dropped. I'd have never thought of the p-clamps. I have some rubber sheet which I could wrap around the skids where the clamps go. I need to protect the skids as well, since they have the non-skid coating on them (made it from striping tape, which I sprayed with Krylon "Make It Suede" textured paint, then coated flat black - worked excellently).

Thanks for everyone's help. I am shipping to a service man who's now stationed in Germany, so he doesn't have the opportunity to do the build and paint. Hope he's pleased with it. I know I am really happy with how it turned out, now that I am shipping it! LOL!

Rob

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10-25-2012 08:32 PM  5 years agoPost 8
wingtip

rrApprentice

Indiana

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if your heli has shock absorbing gear and has weapon pods as our apaches did, i'd suggest putting some foam blocks under the fuse to keep it from compressing the gear and bringing the weapon pods into contact with the floor of the crate...
I found this out the hard way one year driving to ircha when crossing a set of railroad tracks close to muncie that cross the dam highway... needless to say it was not a smooth transition and i had no time to slow down and my trailer bounced bad.... upon arriving to ircha and opening the door my weapons pods were all kinds of fudged up broke because the model had compressed... i was so pissed..

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10-25-2012 10:32 PM  5 years agoPost 9
SSMKN2

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Greensboro NC

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PM'd ya...

Joel
MD 500D
Bell 206

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10-26-2012 03:04 AM  5 years agoPost 10
Rob43

rrKey Veteran

Midland, MI USA

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My model is an Align 500 AH-1W Super Cobra. Skid landing gear. I think I am on the right track to leave the mechanics out. Easy to wrap, and restrain that part, and it keeps the mass out of the fuselage. Before I get carried away with the wooden crate concept, I will price out some carboard sheets. I could fabricate the carboard boxing just as I could a wooden crate. I didn't consider possible ramifications of shipping wooden containers overseas. Not sure it would be an issue shipping Military Post either way. One thing is a wood box could be a permanent container for the new owner to get it home safely when he returns.

I just finished completely repainting it to spec all over again to due to some scuffs that needed to be repaired. It's even better the second time, as I was able to fill in and smooth out some defects in the mold. However, I must say, the Align/HeliArtist fuse is pretty dang good for the money. And the model flies incredibly. It's just a lot of work to maintain it, and haul it to the field. 3D birds are super easy, right? Bolt on new parts, no primer, paint, insignia, clear coat, detailing...LOL! I guess that was what I really enjoyed more so than flying it.

Thank you to everyone who made all the great suggestions. I learned some really good ideas from you all!

Rob

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10-26-2012 03:23 AM  5 years agoPost 11
JR Guy

rrApprentice

Waikawa Beach New Zealand

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Be Careful with your wooden box, its OK sending items internally in the US however I had a box made in the UK to be sent to New Zealand containing a large Vario Skycrane.
Our agricultural Department here in NZ told me the box had to be made by a registered box maker licenced to send to NZ. I downloaded a list of countries that have the same rules Just go on the web and enter shipping container manufacturers and check out the rules for Germany. A home built wooden box would not be accepted here in NZ.
I also had to forward the licence paperwork to the shipping airline.
Its all to do with Bio security.

JR Guy

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10-26-2012 04:31 AM  5 years agoPost 12
heliVoY

rrVeteran

NJ

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I have shipped jets and helis internationally and domestic. You will need to use a crate that is set up for a fork lift. Use a freight forwarder like Forward air, ... UPS-Freight will also do.

The model needs to be secured firmly inside the crate, with adequate padding and wrapping for no loose parts. If the model is of value, I suggest insuring it.

I had a big 50+ lbs bell 412 shipped to me from the UK recently. Coming into NJ USA, it cost several hundred $$ . Coast to coast shipping on a crate that's around 50 - 70 lbs will be around $ 300 - 450 or so ..

typically the crate will need to be dropped off, and subsequently dropped off at the shipper. Door to door delivery will add another $100 - 200

~V~

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10-26-2012 02:38 PM  5 years agoPost 13
coptercptn

rrElite Veteran

Mesa AZ. USA

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Good advice from all above... I too have shipped my turbine CH-53 across country, Built a "coffin" as Stan did and added reinforced 1x2/2x2 bracing to attach the heli at intervals. All "loose" parts were secured the same way..
End result; It got there safely and weighed in @ 90lbs. Cost: $235

(and yes the neighbors asked if my wife was home as I was loading the "Crate" into my Acadia)

Home of the "Sea Cobra".....

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