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Postby Jon on Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:51 am

On a recent flight I was unloading pups from the carriers I use to transfer the pups to the receiving rescue. It had never happened previously, but as I picked up the carrier and was taking it from the plane to put on the ground the top half separated from the bottom.

The pup was not hurt and the gal receiving the pups, the pup and I were all surprised.

I have concluded that in the future I am not going to use carriers that have a plastic snap to secure the two halves of the carrier, but will use carriers with screw type fasteners to keep the top and bottom joined.

An airport ramp is not the place to be trying to catch a loose pup. Just thought I would pass this along.

Re: Carriers

Postby Jon on Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:33 am

These are a variety of carriers, but the one in the left rear has plastic clips and that is the one that separated. The light bronw carrier uses screw type fasteners to join the halves and it is secure.
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Re: Carriers

Postby Debi on Thu Nov 13, 2008 1:42 pm


Glad you are sharing this information and I am surprised because the rep at Petmate indicated to me that these crates would be perfect for air travel. I do think that it is important to be aware that any crate, even the ones with the screws, can come apart--maybe not as easily but still possible.

When loading and unloading, it may be wise to have the party who is meeting you assist with loading and removing the crate with support underneath? The carrier handles could just as easily snap so my advice would be use caution and keep support underneath or grap the sides, front or back where the two pieces meet. 40 pounds in a plastic crate is heavy when you expect to carry by the handle only....The term the manufacturer uses for these crates is kennels, not carriers, and they may have a good point!

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Re: Carriers

Postby rylan01 on Sat Nov 22, 2008 7:21 am

Jon and Debi,

This is a great forum for we goofy pilots to yap, but it is also a good place to exchange "handy travel with pet" tips.

Kennels can be the biggest pain when trying to get into/out of small places like general aviation airplane back seats! One thought is for shippers/pilots to carry and use the plastic locking ties, but there also has to be wire cutters or strong sissors to cut those ties....these will keep the kennel top and bottom together with no chance of coming apart.

From the commercial flight perspective, these have been used many times as a theft prevention device...often times the crate door is locked with these and I even secure each of the four corners of the crate with one tie so the crate cannot be taken apart without cutting the tie. The scary part is that if someone needs to get the pup out quickly, it may not be possible without a means to cut these ties....

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Re: Carriers

Postby Jon on Sun Dec 28, 2008 5:08 pm

This may not be of help to all, but here are a few things I have learned.

The carriers that have a series of locking tabs instead of screw type fasteners definitely need nylon ties to secure the top and bottom halves. I have done that to two of the carriers that I have with that type of fastener. The bad news is that I have been able in the past to fill the cabin with various size crates and also store some extra crates split in half and nested in the trunk so I can juggle to get the best combination of carriers. Now those that I use Nylon ties to hold the two halves together those will not get used as much because I cannot break them down so easily.

I have also learned that a few inches in size of crates makes a huge difference in how I can load the cabin. I now have two large crates suitable for pups up to about 120+ pounds. On is shorter than the other by 1.5" and that small difference enables the one to be placed on the rear seat. The other one can now go where my center row of seats used to be so I can carry two very large pups, each in its own carrier.

I suggest pilots get careful measurements of the seating and storage areas and either visit catalogs or stores and find the best combination of sizes to fit the spaces on your planes. As an alternative there is always the strap that can be used to secure a pup to the seat belts.

Re: Carriers

Postby vkniebes on Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:35 pm

Great topic.

I have had good and not so good experience with soft side kennels/carriers as well. They are easy to load in a small GA aircraft and as the collapse into a flat pack essentially. Couple things I've learned with them.
1. Make certain the door is zipped completely shut. I tranported a Jack Russell Terrier from DesMoines, IA to Denver and it was smart enough to figure out how to open the zipper and climb into my lap mid flight.

2. Be sure that you use a hard carrier if the dog has a tendency to chew. If they want out of the carrier, they will chew their way out eventually. Some chew toys may help here as well.

3. Bring plenty of towels or a blanket for the base of the carrier. The floor of the softsided carrier is typically fabric and if there are rails, or seatbelts attached to the floor of your airplane, it will make for some uncomfortable bumps on the floor of the carrier. The blanket pads that nicely.
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Re: Carriers

Postby Jon on Mon Jan 05, 2009 8:49 am

Like vkniebes I prefer to use the hard surface carriers. I have only had one pup clawing at the soft side carrier, but the potential is there to have problems. However.........I cannot speak about other planes, but in the case of my plane the soft side carriers are my only option for large dogs like Dobies. I cannot get a large hard sided carrier through the door and in place with out front seat removal, but I can insert a collapsed soft side carrier into the rear and then set it up and load the pup. Without that ability I would be removing seats which would be a real pain.

However, for those trying to decide which carriers work best, here are some observations. Soft side carriers as mentioned simplify loading the carriers, but if the animal relieves himself or vomits they are not as easy to clean. I use a pressure washer at home to clean the carrier if there is a need. Any attempt to secure a soft side carrier is an illusion. It can be strapped in place but under any loads at all the carrier will collapse and the securing straps will go slack. Recognize that risk. In my case I only use large carriers and they are placed on the cabin floor directly behind the two front seats.

Hard side carriers are easily cleaned. If there is an accident I hose them off. They also can be nested by breaking them down and putting the two halves nested together. If I cannot clean them, at least I can put them in the baggage area which is separate from the cabin. That feature also allows me to carry more carriers than I need so I can juggle various sizes to fit all pups. Hard side carriers are easily secured and I feel confident they will not go flying around. I run my straps over the top, through the handles and then cinch them down with cargo straps secured to the seat anchors.

I have no experience with the straps that go around the pup and then attach to the seat belt, but I watched a fellow PNP pilot load and secure a large dog in his rear seat using the strap and he said the pup rode well and it appeard the pup was secured.

Whatever you choose is likely based on the plane and the animals being carried, but one thing is for sure. No animals should be loose in the cabin. That is a recipe for trouble.

Re: Carriers

Postby pharris on Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:01 am

Where is the best place to find carriers? I just heard out about PNP and would like to jump right in and begin transporting, but I don't have a carrier. I agree with the eariler statement that a loose (and unknown) animal in a small airplane is not a good situation. Do all of you just stop by PetCo and make the investment? We are in the process of asking friends if anyone has a carrier they no longer need, but are there other options someone could suggest?
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Re: Carriers

Postby Jon on Mon Jan 05, 2009 11:36 am


At one time Debi had some carriers if pilots needed them. Of course now with as many as we have that might not be practical since what funds we do have already have been spent. If she has any left she might be able to send them.

But more important is for you to select sizes appropriate for your plane. Beleive it or not after one year I am still learning new combinations of sizes for my plane and ways to get more crates and thus more puppies in the plane. Take good measurements and either look up size information on line, or visit the local pet supply stores. Don't be shy about mentioning the purpose and asking for a discount. You may get one. We have had a lot of support, from every direction. I have had FBOs offer fuel discounts and I have had one pet products provider, Smart Pak provide a lot of food and other miscellaneous items because they support what we are doing.

Just avoid the cheap carriers with the plastic over center clips. They will get lost and fail.

A final way is to ask shelters or rescues to provide them. I have often received pups for transport and been left with the crates by the sending shelter. I return them when the next load of pups is brought to the airport.


Re: Carriers

Postby spacer on Thu Jun 18, 2009 11:40 am

I can see the charm in carriers which are quicker to break down, and my first thought was to use zip-ties to better secure them, but then the
convenience goes out the window. Then, I wondered about maybe using clecos (I have gobs of 'em), but they kinda stick out a bit and require
cleco pliers or the like to insert/remove.
I had a keyring that used a small pincer-type mechanism to securely hold it to a belt loop or the like... something like that could be closed through
a hole drilled in the case halves, will hold in case the main clips fail (even if the case halves may separate by a few millimeters), and would be pretty easy to remove.
Also, a quick-release leash attachment could be secured to the container so that, in the event of a total case rupture, the pup's attempt at taking over the airport would be hindered by his attachment to the case.
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