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Flying With Fountain Pens


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I won't fly with an inked pen unless that pen has a shutoff valve, so that limits me to japanese eyedroppers, my VAC700R, my VAC mini, and my Visconti Homo Sapiens in that regard.


Otherwise, just keep an ink sample vial for travel or a visconti traveling inkwell or a TWSBI traveling inkwell. Or get a noodlers ahab and some 308 refillable cartridges that can be removed and re-capped and left in the barrel before flight.


Just be careful if opening the shutoff valve mid-flight. The only time I had a leak while flying was when I forgot about pressure and opened the value of a Pilot 823. Aside from that moment of stupidity, I've never had a problem but always made sure to keep my pens nib up.

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At cruising altitude, the pressure can go as low as 11psi. Any air in your pen will expand in volume about 33%. Thus full pens are best - there is less air to expand. Keep them nib up, because no matter how air is in there, the most ink you can leak is what is in the feed. No matter what. If you want to use your pen, and I do, use caution when taking the cap off. And allow a minute just be sure all the leaking has occurred. Then go at it. I dont worry how much ink is in there as long as I keep them nib up. Never had a problem.

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I don't have problems with pens that have screw on caps, except Kaweco Sport.


For my Lamy dialog3 this summer, I got a cheap plastic sealable pen box, $2.50 at Muji:




Don't open pens in flight.

"If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live."

– Lin Yu-T'ang

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