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What Are the Different Types of Amplifier Flight Cases?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 21 November 2016
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There are several different types of amplifier flight cases manufactured to protect musical instruments from the bumps and banging associated with airline travel. Two of the more popular styles of amplifier flight cases are the aluminum flight cases and the plywood and plastic laminate covered cases. All of the different amplifier flight cases are lined with protective foam and offer both protection against crushing as well as shock from extreme knocks, drops and bumps.

Some amplifier flight case designs incorporate wheel-equipped bases that allow an amplifier to be rolled onto and off of an airplane, stage or truck with ease. This type of case also commonly incorporates a removable cover that can be taken off for performances and replaced when the show is completed. These types of amplifier flight cases are typically some of the most expensive and actually mount the amplifier to the rollerized bottom section of the case for ease of operation. These cases are also stackable and allow several cases to be interlocked together to create a wall of amplifiers for a large show.

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Many of the best amplifier flight cases are manufactured from aluminum and offer both crush protection and protection from the elements. Many aircraft do not have heat in the cargo areas. This can subject the instruments housed within the hold of the plane to severe weather changes between hot and cold as the aircraft attains altitude and descends. The protective cases permit the contents to remain at a stable temperature for much longer than typical cases thanks, in part, to the superior insulation inside of the case. There are flight cases designed for small, single-speaker amplifiers, half-stack amplifiers with four speakers and full-stack type amplifiers with eight speakers.

Full-stack amplifier cases commonly require three separate amplifier cases, one for each of the speaker cabinets and one for the power head. On some designs, the cases simply open to reveal an amplifier mounted inside. This allows the crew to set up and tear down stage sets very quickly as the cases need only be closed and secured in order to place them on the truck or into the airplane. It is not uncommon for amplifier flight cases to have the name of the band as well as a designation number stenciled onto the outside of the case. The designation number allows the crew to identify where in the stage design the particular amplifier is supposed to be positioned.

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