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What Is A.T.A. Spec 300

First let's get a bit of a history lesson. ATA (Air Transport Association) was founded in 1936 by a group of 14 airlines. It is the only trade organization for the principle U.S. airlines. ATA's purpose is to support and assist its members by promoting the air transportation industry. Included in this area of responsibility are safety, costs, technological improvements, government relations, industry regulations and to standardize practices of the airlines.

Now, let's look at how the ATA relates to flight, shipping, road cases, whatever you want to call them. ATA has a number of categories under which cases could fall based upon materials used to construct them. Road cases should be built to "AT A Spec 300 Category I. This requires that the cases are made of metal, plastic or fiberglass. There are many other requirements including method of opening and closing, thickness of foam that can be used, ability to repair a case, the type of handles and catches that are to be used as well as the position of them.

Lot's of requirements.
Many pertain to and are important to the way a case manufacturer designs and manufactures a case. Other specs are of little or no importance to the typical "ATA" case. One such spec is the color of a case. In order to meet ATA Spec 300 Category I a container must be white. A case makers life would certainly be a lot easier if he only had to stock one color. There are also many test requirements that a case must pass in order to achieve its rating as an ATA case.

Procedures such as drop tests, water spray, vibration and preservation packaging are the most obvious relating to our product. Within each of these tests are multiple procedures which must be adhered to if the case is to be accurately tested. It must be made clear that The ATA does not, I repeat, DOES NOT certify or approve shipping containers or designs as being in compliance with their specifications. What respectable case manufacturers try to do is build a case that meets or exceeds the specifications called out for by the association.

The only way a case manufacturer can prove he meets these specs is by having their product tested by an independent lab to the specifications cited. This certificate of testing has been abolished about 12 years ago, when SKB Cases started to take over many government contacts from Anvil. Since SKB cases did not meet the ATA requirements the certificate program was gone.

Due to this fact most all case companies do not have an actual certificate of "ATA approved", yet still make their cases to exceed the standards that was set up. So don't be fooled by other case manufacturers who say they are certified. If the program was still around we would all be certified as well! You can go on-line for more information about ATA at their web site www.air-transport.org..