I am thinking about selling a plane on Ebay. It is a plane with a 72 inch
wing span. Any idea how to ship something like that? Can packing places pack
it reasonablly? Has anyone ever done this?
They'll charge you an arm and a leg. What you want to do is pack it
yourself in a homemade box and ship it via UPS. UPS measures boxes by
girth plus length. If it is over a certain threshold, it goes into the
'oversize' category. I think it's around 108 inches. If it's over 128
inches, it's too big. (You should double check those numbers.)
Here's how I used to build crates for shipping airplanes. Go to the
lumber yard and buy 1X2 white wood furring strips. These are usually
well under a dollar apiece. Cut out 12 pieces to make a frame for a
crate that is as small as possible to accomodate the airplane sitting
inside it and a little bit of padding around it. Screw the pieces
together at the corners with drywall screws. You can get the job done
by putting two boards together with one screw. Any more than that and
your boards will split to pieces. Get a bunch of big cardboard boxes
and a heavy duty staple gun. Staple cardboard onto all but one side of
the box, then pack the airplane inside with styrofoam peanut material,
and then add the last side of cardboard. Remember, you're just building
a crate, so don't get too worried about your craftsmanship. You're not
building an airplane.
Note that if you make a six sided box out of boards joined with screws,
two of the sides will have the cardboard stapled from the inside on the
two edges and from the outside on top and bottom. I make sure that the
two ends of the box are the odd ones, rather than the big sides.
Obviously you can't staple a side from inside and out last. The last
open side has to be one that has cardboard applied on the outside only.
When I was shipping a lot of planes this way in 1994 and 95 the UPS
charge was usually around $15. When you get into the oversize category
they start charging for what they call dimensional weight, which means
that no matter how much it weighs they just charge you for 50 pounds.
This means that you can put as much packing material in there that you
want without it costing you extra.
Also note that if your plane is too big it will not fit into one box and
be under the 128 inch limit. Big planes have big tails which add girth
to the package. But they also have long wings which add to the length.
You may have to have a long skinny wing box and a short fat fuselage box
which are each under the length plus girth limit. Or you may have to
remove the tail.
I wouldn't even consider shipping a fully built airplane in a cardboard
box without wood in the corners.
Don't do it if there is any chance of selling it local. I've sold two planes
and swore I'd never do it again.
As per other messages a wood supported box is a must. Most likely the crate
will be oversize for UPS or USPS or Fedex. That leaves Greyhound. Yes, the bus
people. Expect to pay U$40 at least, to ship it anywhere because the crate will
be adding weight and will be oversized for them too. My last crate with two
large planes weight 65 lbs and cost U$80 to get 1/2 way across the US on the
space A bus.
Unless it's a multi 1000 $ scale bird it's not worth the hassle.
'Fritz the Cat' Blackburn
VP-94 Techrep NAS New Orleans
I agree, I've never shipped one but have bought a couple and had them shipped
in. The first one, they crunched the wing length wise (Cardboard box). The
second shipment was two planes (70" and 56" span) and came Greyhound in a big
card board box OK. Cost $47 to get a $96 worth of planes 200 miles. I'll not do
Sell your engine and radios on the net, but the plane locally or within driving
Dan Thompson (AMA 32873, EAA 60974, WB4GUK, GROL)
remove POST in address for email
On 10/13/2003 10:58 PM Ted shuffled out of his cave and grunted these
great (and sometimes not so great) words of knowledge:
Try to sell it locally. If you HAVE to ship it, make your own crates
and ship it by Greyhound Bus - it is SUBSTANTIALLY cheaper than UPS or
Packing places can't pack ANYTHING reasonably. They charge you a small
fortune for the packing, then double the shipping charge.
I won't ship anything with a wingspan, or single wing panel, longer
than 48 inches. 48" wings are expensive enough to ship.
UPS and Fedex consider girth to be two times the sum of the two
shortest dimensions of the box, plus the length. 108 inches is the
maximum girth they will ship without oversize box charges. That means
12 x 18 x 48.
It may be less expensive to modify the wing to be two-piece for easier
shipping. There was an article in one of the magazines in the last six
months that detailed modifying wings to be two-piece.
I sold a Byron F-86 to a guy in New York City, shipped from Washington
State. Took it to a professional mailing service for packaging. They did a
good job, but the actual charge for packing was considerably higher than the
estimate they gave me. Lesson 1: Get a price quote in writing. Since it was
so big, we had to ship it by Greyhound. Very expensive. All in all, it
wasn't worth the hassle.
One guy in our group sells a lot of planes on line. He goes to one of the
moving services and buys some clothing wardrobe boxes. Packs his planes
using balloons for padding. Says he has never had on broken. It's a crap
shoot at best.