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Flying With The Parker 51 Vac


Bristol24
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I will be on a long trip coming up soon and want to take along a couple of fountain pens. Generally for a flight, I only have one pen inked and the others packed away empty. In the past, I have flown with either a Hero 616 (no big deal if it gets lost) or a Parker 21 Special. This trip, I would like to take one of my Parker 51s, specifically a 1945 '51 vacumatic. With my Hero 616 and the Parker 21 Special, all I did was make certain the pen was nib-up for the climb to altitude and again for the descent (and not in my pocket). I had no problems but both pens are aerometric fillers. I am a bit concerned that the vacumatic '51 might behave differently. Has anyone flown with a '51 Vac?

“The only thing most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.”  John Adams

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I haven't taken a vacumatic on a plane before, but have done that with a number of button and lever fillers. I dont really bother with keeping the nib up etc with my old doufolds. i usually just pack them with my laptop but in a sealed zip-lock bag. just keep a paper towel handy in the worst case if few drops of ink comes out. only exception to this is Casein pens like old conway stewarts. they need to be kept dry and empty. Aircrafts are pressurised. in the worst case only few drops of ink will come out. zip-lock bag should take care of that case. if you are worried then just double pack it with 2 bags. and dont keep it with your cloths :P

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I got some leakage when I flew with a 51 Vac, but I was not paying attention. Just put then in a small leather pen-case in my briefcase, and stuffed my briefcase on its side under the seat in front. The pens must have bounced around, plus nib-sideways and even nib down. No big deal, although a surprise.

 

I've carried a 51 aero in my shirt pocket with no problems.

Washington Nationals 2019: the fight for .500; "stay in the fight"; WON the fight

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How do the TSA baggage screeners respond to what might look mighty strange on that X-Ray machine?

 

Pens don't really cause issues, however sometimes ink bottles do :(. They may open it up and ask you what its for.

Edited by shalitha33
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  • 3 weeks later...

An update: In the end, because the trip was international with 6 flights that crossed international borders, and because of comments made earier in this thread, I decided to leave my daily-carry Parker 51 at home and I'm glad I did.

 

After five times going through security in the US, UK, and the Netherlands, it became totally obvious to me as I watched my wallet, pens, and watch trundle off in a tray, that they were all subject to the whim of whoever happened to be on duty at the time. As it was, I ended up taking a fully inked Parker 21 Super and a fully inked customized Hero 616 together with an empty 1930s celluloid combo with a flex nib. The two inked pens traveled nib up in my shirt pocket. On the first flight one of them burped slightly...the Parker 21. There was no mess, just a small blob of ink on the hood at the tip...not enough to foul the inside of the cap. I attribute this to the fact that I had not used the pen at all before flying and that there was still an excess of ink in the feed from filling. I had used the 616 for several short lines of writing so it was fine. Both pens were refilled at least once in Europe but made the flights home less than full, nib up in my shirt pocket with no leaking whatsoever.

 

But back to the whimsical unpredictability of security personnel. My three small sample sized ink viles drew minor attention only once as did my contact lens rewetting solution which was separate from the rest of my liquids. My Skagen watch got inspected and both my wife and I each had one of our carry on bags diverted and opened more than once for who knows why at Heathrow and in the US. In sailing we have an adage that is sage advice: never approach a dock at a speed greater than which you are willing to hit it." The same concept could be applied to valued personal items by asking, "am I willing to forfeit this item for the sake of making my next flight?"

Edited by Bristol24

“The only thing most people do better than anyone else is read their own handwriting.”  John Adams

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