Flightcase - Flightcase

Flightcases are sturdy boxes or suitcases for the safe transport of devices and equipment.


  • Music, film / video and photo industries
  • Event technology (VA technology)
  • Messebau
  • Medical technology
  • Maschinenbau
  • Racing
  • mobiles Catering

design type

Flight cases are mainly made of coated multiplex wood with riveted edges made of aluminum profiles and steel ball corners. The lids are usually held in place by several so-called butterfly locks (stable pulling and rotating mechanism). Butterflys and folding handles are mounted in built-in trays to protect against damage and do not protrude. Often larger flight cases have fixed castors that make transport easier. Generally, blue 100 mm swivel castors with a soft tread are used. In the event industry, these are called Bluewheels . However, there are also more resilient castors, for example 125 mm Greenwheelsof the same design or heavy duty castors with aluminum wheel centers and hard plastic treads. Unbraked swivel castors are generally used, but in recent years two castors with a fully braked design (brake blocks wheel and steering) have often been installed. In some cases, these rollers carry up to 3 tons and are very resilient thanks to the steel ball bearings. Flight cases are often optimized for the content to be transported and made to measure. Pre-produced cases are also available for widely used devices (e.g. certain mixing consoles , keyboards , (guitar) combos , PAR spotlights , moving head spotlights , plasma, LED and TFT screens, loudspeaker boxes).


For special cases, instead of wooden panels, other panel materials known from the building industry can also be used. For example, metal can be used for better passive cooling of the casein content, plastic can reduce the weight, or any type of sandwich panel opens up further custom-made applications.

Flightcase-like designs

Lately there have also been an increasing number of lighter-weight versions made of preformed plastic with aluminum edges or soft cases made of padded fabric.

Another variant is the construction of cases without aluminum profiles. Although this type of construction is cheaper and easier to manufacture, since the expensive aluminum parts are omitted, it has decisive disadvantages. In order to achieve a high level of stability, plywood from a thickness of 15 mm is used, which can be covered with a felt carpet if necessary. These have a very high dead weight. In addition, such a case is not as stable as a "real" flight case.


Chest case

A case with a high base and flat lid is called a chest case. Chests often have partitions that can also be flexible by being inserted into grooves. A briefcase design also basically corresponds to a small chest. Chests are available with an openable ( hinge ) lid or with a removable lid.

Hood case

A case with a flat bottom and a high lid is called a hood case. This design is always suitable when the goods to be transported would be too heavy or too bulky for removal from a (deep) chest. In this way, for example, a transported device can remain in the flat bottom shell during use.

Otherwise, the chest and hood are similar in terms of equipment.

Cabinets (colloquially mostly racks )

Small racks (flight cases) for individual devices. 3 U and 4 U (U = height unit)

Cabinets are usually built as 19 ″ racks, but they are also available in the form of drawer cabinets or simply with shelves. Given the great flexibility of the products, there are of course combinations of the various sub-types.

Flight cases are usually used for storing and transporting devices in the standardized rack format in mobile use. These flight case racks are available with one or two removable lids (front and rear) that allow cables to be run through. They are called single-door or double-door racks .

Such racks have the advantage that the 19 ″ (see inch ) wide devices ( standard size ) that are usually screwed in do not have to be packed and unpacked for mobile use, but can remain in the case. In most cases, the built-in devices are already wired on the back in a larger network, which saves material (short cables) and time compared to individually installed devices. One example is the assembly of several pre-wired effect devices in the sound equipment in a rack that can be installed quickly, connected and in operation (eg. As the so-called Siderack that on the side of the mixer has its place).

The height of a rack is measured in height units (U). One height unit corresponds to 1¾ inch = 44.45 mm.


The so-called L or angle rack could be called a special case . Two or three sides connected at a 90 ° angle are removed from the flight case so that the top and front can be operated (e.g. mixer above , effects units in front).


This is, so to speak, a special case of the L-Rack special case . Mostly used when there is a need to access three sides of the rack. Example. Devices in front, connection panels at the back and a patchbay above. An inexpensive alternative here is often a hood case, in which the required side walls are built into a base shell.


The shape of a common trolley, only built as a stable flight case; however, the load-bearing capacity is usually limited.


Flightcases are mainly manufactured by smaller companies. The market is developing rapidly as customers from the industrial sector in particular are increasingly interested in cases for transporting their products.

Notable developments with a high standard

  • 60 cm loading dimension: Cases are often manufactured with an outside width of 60 cm, as four cases next to each other make up the inside width of truck cases. However, the height and length of the cases are usually adapted to the case content. Nevertheless, this gives the event industry the advantage of being able to load faster.
  • 19 ″ rack modules: 19 ″ racks for stacking. Outer cases that offer increased device protection are usually required for transport. Rack modules can be fitted in chests as well as in hooded cases with vibration-damped floors and in double-door cabinets.
  • Chests are also available with flexible partitions.
  • Drawer system: flexible cabinets with rows of holes (as in furniture construction) for interior fittings with shelves, drawers, 19 ″ rails and their combinations are possible.
  • Packcase chests in grid dimensions (suitable for truck transport), which can also be stacked in various combinations on (half) EURO pallet format. Only the height of the cases is not designed for a standard grid.

International requirements and import regulations

Since flight cases are often used for flight transport and the transport cases are also flown in to other countries, special guidelines must be observed. Within the EU, the import of goods in wooden boxes is not a problem. When exporting or importing goods in wooden transport boxes between the EU and a non-EU country, the wood used must comply with the relevant guidelines. In this case, the requirements are the so-called IPPC standard.

IPPC-Standard ISPM Nr. 15

The IPPC standard, more precisely the ISPM (International Standard Phytosanitary Measures) No. 15, regulates the provisions for wooden packaging materials. This regulation serves to avoid the importation of harmful organisms into wood materials and is therefore mainly a phytosanitary monitoring measure to prevent the spread of all pests. These directives do not apply within the EU or are not absolutely necessary.

Exception in ISPM No. 15

In ISPM No. 15, however, there is also an exception rule which exempts certain woods / materials from these requirements. For the construction of flight cases, the following exceptions listed there are possible:

  • plywood
  • Compressed wood
  • Wooden packaging made exclusively from wood with a thickness of less than 6 mm.

Pressboard is usually not used in professional flight case construction because it does not have sufficient dimensional stability in the long term and the transport case could warp. Nevertheless, these materials are often used for self-construction (private use) of flight cases due to their low purchase price. These flight cases can also be used for transport to a non-EU country without any problems.

In the professional sector, the transport cases are mostly made of multiplex panels, a special type of plywood. Transport cases, which were obtained from a professional flight case manufacturer, can therefore also be used for international transport without additional certificates.


  • R. Beckmann: Handbook of PA technology. Basic component practice. 2nd edition, Elektor-Verlag, Aachen, 1990, ISBN 3-921608-66-X .