The Banjo Glossary Project 2019  
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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Flight Case  noun \ˈflīt ˈkās\  Change text size for readability...  Print This Page
02:44As the name implies, a "Flight Case" is designed to offer maximum physical protection for a musical instrument or music equipment. Flight Cases are the heaviest and strongest travel case you can obtain, are often custom-made, and are always expensive. Flight cases may cost as much as five times more than a standard hardshell case, but are cheap insurance for the traveling professional.

Flight Cases are currently made by many manufacturers and are available in a variety of designs and configurations. Case shells are made from a wide range of sturdy materials including hand-layered reinforced fiberglass, carbon-fiber, injected thermoplastic, and plywood.

First-generation flight cases are made of high-grade plywood, are square or rectangular boxes with reinforced corners and recessed hardware. These types of cases have come to be known generically as "Anvil" type cases, so called because one well-known company, Anvil Cases, has been in the case business so long (since 1952) its name is synonymous with these types of boxy, bulky but highly protective and reliable flight cases. Anvil-type cases are made by a wide variety of manufacturers world-wide, including Anvil Cases which is still in business.

Many of these Anvil-type cases conform to ATA-specifications, which means that they are reusable shipping containers that have been approved for air transport by the Air Transport Association of America. These cases will usually be promoted as "ATA Flight Cases."

As newer materials have become available, a new generation of cases emerged, with shells made of fiberglass, carbon fiber and other synthetic but lightweight and extremely durable materials. These cases usually feature interior fits that can often be customized for a specific instrument, as well as choices in interior and exterior colors. In addition to sturdier case shells in general, Flight Cases also offer much better protection for headstocks, better padding around the instrument body, and better overall neck support.

Some of these newer generation cases offer a level of luxury that other cases simply can't match. Next-generation Flight Cases are frequently hand-made to order and can be an expensive but worthwhile investment.

Even with the added protection offered by Flight Cases, the reality is, any instrument can be damaged inside any case if handled roughly enough or if the case is a poor fit for the instrument. Flight Cases offer a higher level of protection against these risks.

Also See: Gig Bag ~ Hardshell Case
LAST UPDATED 05-11-2016 15:15