Photographer Has Blower Confiscated by TSA Because it ‘Could Fly Like a Missile’


It’s common knowledge that the Giottos Rocket Blowers and the TSA don’t get along. In the past we’ve told you to just leave it at home unless you want it confiscated with no more reason than “it looks like a bomb.” But the reason photographer and Canon Rumors forum user Surapon got was a whole lot more entertaining than that.

Surapon shared his experience on the CR forums, where he told the comical story of how 10 years of altercation-free TSA experiences with his blower in tow ended abruptly in 2012.

On his way back from a trip to Greece — one of the most beautiful and dusty locations, according to Surapon — he was transferring terminals in New York when security asked him to open his bags. They, of course, asked about the blower, an inquiry Surapon answered courteously enough, even spraying some air in his own face to demonstrate how it worked.

That’s when the TSA officer dropped this line: pointing to the fins he asked, “can it fly like a rocket?”


Surapon was, understandably, dumbstruck. When he didn’t answer, the officer walked over to his supervisor, had a brief conversation, and then told Surapon that his blower needed to be thrown away because, “if someone put gun powder inside this Rocket Blower, it can fly like a missile.”

Of course, when airport security tells you to do something, you do it — so the $10 doohickey went into the trash and that was that.

From then on, Surapon made a simple alteration that has kept him from getting in trouble with airport security since: he cut off the fins. Since then, no TSA agents have suggested that he could fashion a rocket out of his Giottos blower. That’s not to say they won’t… it just hasn’t happened again yet.

(via Canon Rumors via Reddit)

Image credit: Air Blower by [martin]

  • Charlie

    Will it blend?

  • Jack Conner

    Hey! Stop knocking TSA workers!!! You know you are all haters because they are all “rocket scientists” and therefore, able to recognize a rocket when they see one! LOL!

    Funny thing, I just flew back from L.A., Vegas and Sedona this past week… I usually travel with 3 camera bodies and 8 lenses and this little device usually goes in my main luggage.

    In Vegas however, they let us keep our shoes, belts and electronic devices in our bags like the old days and use the metal detector, saying, “We’re running an express line here today… keep moving folks”.

    Their ineptitude is indicitive of SO many things wrong these days, it’d truly be comical if it wasn’t such an unnecessary procedure for the “sheople” to have the illusion of feeling safe.

  • jmco

    Just because a thing looks like a rocket (out of a comic book!) does not mean it can be a rocket!
    But there is no arguing with the dense TSA agents that one encounters rather randomly. Beware Hartford-Springfield Airport! My yogurt and one extra shampoo bottle (tiny size) not in the plastic pouch – had to go.
    Often you will see scissors, knives, and maybe stuff like toy rockets for sale at the gate shops. It all makes zero sense why they take it/toss it to keep it away from the gates and planes but simultaneously SELL it at the gates.

  • Jeb Springfield

    Good thing they know all about rocketry at the TSA. I suppose if you put gun powder inside of your lens it could be a bomb as well. No more cameras!

  • Jared Skye

    Some people just love to be slaves. They fight for the privilege.

  • markmelendez

    I don’t get the part about the blower simply being taken away and thrown in the trash. Years ago I was on a SCUBA diving trip and had brought my dive bag through as carry on. The thing is that I forgot that there was a dive knife in the bag as I would usually leave them at home. The person at the xray scanner saw the knife and removed it from the bag. Then they just put it in a cardboard box and sent it with the checked baggage.

    An agent can simply deem something dangerous and seize it? For all we know the agent took the blower home.

  • Chung Dha

    I had my camera rig disassembled inside my bag and they almost threw it away saying I could take out the rods and hit someone with it, I had to show I can build up a rig with it. Quite annoying. I doubt short pieces of rods can do much damage to anyone.

  • epickett

    Middle Easterners, probably…

  • Josh Belcher

    It’s sad and pathetic that Americans allow the TSA to continue treating us like terrorists. Planes crash into the twin towers, and all of a sudden we become the terrorists? It seems that the real terrorists have won, they’re the only ones who aren’t terrified.

    R.I.P The United States of America 1776 – 2001
    Tis well America

  • Toby Madrigal

    I can believe this. Here in Blighty, a few years ago a photographer was arrested on suspicion that he was a terrorist, simply because he took a photograph (film camera) of a fish and chip shop called ‘Mick’s Plaice’! The police kept up the line that the officer behaved correctly because of her ‘concerns’ notwithstanding the ludicrous nature of it all. Later, a Barrister engaged by the police stated that the arrest was unlawful. Those who are arrested and kept in cells for a while are later able to claim many thousands of pounds in damages. Often it is necessary to issue a civil claim before the damages are agreed. Me? I can’t wait to be arrested for publicly brandishing my Leica model 111 (1935 made). With my damages I’m going to buy a Leica Monochrom? Keep pressing that shutter button my friends.

  • no

    No, they do not always back up the TSA. The TSA are morons and the real police generally despise the TSA.

  • no

    You recently went to a fictitious party and make up imaginary friends? Obvious BS is obvious.

  • no

    History has shown that the people like you who refuse to stand up to tyranny are the ones who ruin the empire. Go bleat some where else

  • daveh

    The fine TSA folks in Albany, NY were completely stumped by a manual camera.
    They threatened to consficate my Canon AE-1 (circa 1972) because they couldn’t turn it on to verify that it worked!!!

  • Carl King

    They watch too many training videos.