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]

  • Renato Murakami

    I kinda have a hard time believing in all the TSA stupidity that comes on the news sometimes… of course, there are ones that could be plain stupidity, but for lots of cases I end up thinking that confiscated stuff is ending up at some of those TSA agents houses and auction sites. I mean, I’m no conspiracy theorist to think this is happening in a large scale fashion, but you know, sometimes “stupidity” is a very convenient excuse to hide more serious problems.

  • Rob S

    I know grenades. I have thrown grenades. That is no grenade.

  • Rob S

    I had a leatherman confiscated. It had a blade on it. Stupid me right? Right after they took the leatherman I boarded the plane….carrying an M9 Pistol and an M4 rifle. I was flying back from Afghanistan with my unit. We ALL had both a rifle and a pistol. Both fully functional. So I am getting on a plane full of guys I have just spent the last year with. We are all armed to the teeth. For that matter we were all well trained in “combatives” – MMA style martial arts. Its a charter flight – just us. QUite possibly the safest 757 in history. But my leatherman with a 2 inch blade had to go.

  • uaio

    Sometimes like today, I feel that with the exception of photographers the whole world is becoming totally stupid.

  • Jared Skye

    “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.”

    Incorrect. You say no, record it, and post the video along with his name. The only way you’re going to stop stuff like this from happening is if you make them scared of being humiliated and harassed by nameless people on the Internet.

  • SaveTheWorldGetTheGirl

    “if someone put gun powder inside this Rocket Blower…”

    I’m fairly sure the issue here would be THE GUN POWDER.

  • Ahmed

    Strange! I went through Heathrow like a dozen time, and I had the Rocket Blower and a bottle of ECLIPSE cleaning solution. They never stopped me or confiscated anything other than a bottle of water… that’s and I’m a Middle Eastern :D

  • RoTe

    Probably more like: “prove it or go to jail” ;)

  • dreambookTV


  • LongLiveHHDL

    “can it core a apple?”

  • Jason Wright

    Must be the same TSA guys who stopped us carrying bottles of baby milk through (that is dangerous stuff you know) but didn’t notice the open packet of razor blades in a jacket pocket (after pat down, xray and metal detector).

  • Jason Wright

    Following that line of logic they need to stop all these pesky passengers they keep letting slip through. No people on board? No problem! No way anybody could hijack a flight if they were not on it. Problem sorted….

    Good luck getting the logic through to a TSA agent though.

  • no

    I disagree with the notion that you do what they tell you.

  • no

    They cant send you to jail, sorry

  • Drontil

    “Of course, when airport security tells you to do something, you do it…”

    Please don’t assume that attitude. Don’t become a sheep. TSA tries to tell passengers all the time that they must do something when, in fact, they don’t have to do it. For instance, “state your name” after you have shown your BP and ID. You don’t have to state your name.

    Start defying this damned agency.

  • Richard Ford

    Sigh. Yes it’s annoying. Have a whine – get over it. One day they may actually thwart an attack that you were destined to be caught up in. Stop whinging already. it makes us as a society look weak to those that want to harm us. Show some testicular fortitude and a sense of humour and get over it.

  • Guest

    And if I had an enema of gunpowder, I could fly like a rocket too!

  • Daisiemae

    Oh, yes, these rocket scientists at the TSA checkpoint could definitely thwart an attack.

  • Daisiemae

    The extensive theft committed by TSA personnel has been well documented. Just search TSA theft and you will get numerous hits.

  • Daisiemae

    What school? TSA screeners are not even required to have a GED. Check out the job requirements on their website.

  • Daisiemae

    Along with disrespecting disabled people, elderly people, children, attractive young women, mothers, women, men, and veterans. Is there anybody who the TSA does NOT disrespect?

  • Daisiemae

    Well, the item is certain to be confiscated now. We all know the fascination TSA has for all things related to butts and genitals. Some TSA screener will take that thing home for sure.

  • Daisiemae

    Surely additional training can turn these witless wonders into crack security agents? Oh, I know how to fix it…give them a gun! That will instantly transform them into Rhodes scholars and demolition experts.

  • Daisiemae

    And the bar of soap does not have the power to sexually assault anybody.

  • Daisiemae

    Technically, TSA cannot arrest anybody. But they can call the cops who almost always back up TSA.

    So yes they can send you to jail.

  • Jimmy Fartpants

    In all seriousness, they tend to look for low IQ, low experience people to fill these types of jobs. The type of person who doesn’t question why they are doing something or following a specific procedure.

  • Jimmy Fartpants

    Yeah, well you could get Salmonella or something if you leave that stuff out too long.

  • Nem01

    …and as soon as you start recording your video they arrest you. Doesn’t seem a good option.

  • Keith Schiffner

    The proper response to that TSA goon…was “Are you being an idiot because you can or were you born that stupid?”

  • faloc

    “can it fly like a rocket?” I should ask the TSA back: “If I kick you in the balls, would you fly like a rocket?”

  • Jared Skye

    Actually, police hate the TSA because even the worst police officer had to go through at least some form of actual work and training to get to where he is. Whereas TSA workers just called the number on the top of their Domino’s pizza box.

  • Lisa Simeone

    The TSA is staffed by morons and molesters, starting with the one at the top, John Pistole.

  • Lisa Simeone

    You’re the one who needs to “show some testicular fortitude.”

    If you’re so afraid A Terrorist Is Hiding Around Every Corner, do us all a favor and stay home. The rest of us have lives to lead.

  • Lisa Simeone

    Daz, that’s CBP — Customs and Border Protection — questioning you, not the TSA. Though CBP is just as bad — no, worse. Because unlike the TSA, they are actually law enforcement, and they can do whatever they want with you.

  • Fernando Trujillo

    I had nail clippers confiscated once, yet when I walked into the terminal they were being sold in the newspaper/book store. some of this stuff doesn’t make sense.

  • Rhetorikol

    Airport police are usually bored, so you never know who’s side they’ll be on.

  • random dude

    they’re not that good at their job, my girlfriend forgot her taser was in her purse and she got it onto the plane….. it even went through the X-ray machine and everything nobody said word.

  • 3ric15

    This comment almost made the food I was chewing come out of my mouth LOL

  • he_who_scoffs_at_danger

    Not only that,but if someone had two of them, filled each with gunpowder and strapped them to a pair of roller-skates, they could jump the canyon and catch that pesky roadrunner.

  • Derricklytle

    The TSA is such a joke. Last week they felt me up and made me empty my camera bag because “it was packed too well”.

  • Derricklytle

    Good thing she didn’t bring more than 3 ounces of a liquid on board. That would have been deadly.

  • Rabi Abonour

    While I do agree the design of the Giottos is silly and unnecessary, that doesn’t really justify the TSA. The thing is, upon inspection, pretty clearly harmless.

  • Tim Nguyen

    My plan foiled already! Well, this is gonna feel pretty weird…

    Aaaaand now i know what a balloon feels like.

  • Bob

    Your picture looks like Kristin Kreuk. I think I could make a DIY blower from a Fleet Enema.

  • Daisiemae

    You would think that, wouldn’t you? You would think that actual law enforcement officers would have total contempt for these bozos.

    However, numerous people have been arrested simply because TSA said so. Some examples: Geoffrey McGann, who was arrested for wearing a steam punk watch (even though a bomb squad pronounced it was NOT a bomb). Andrea Fornello Abbott, who was arrested for trying to prevent TSA from fondling her teenage daughter. Claire Hirschkind, a rape survivor who didn’t want TSA to fondle her breasts. Jayve Montgomery, who was arrested because TSA pantsed him and then blamed him for it.

    The list goes on, but it is too numerous to repeat them all. If TSA tells the cops to arrest someone, they usually do it and let the DA and lawyers sort it out later.

    Oh, and I recently met a detective at a party, and I asked him what he thought of TSA and their searches. He had no problem with it. I even asked him what he would think of them doing that to his wife, and he said that it needs to be done. Go figure!

  • Daisiemae

    Easter eggs, like cupcakes, are fair game for TSA critters. They have to eat, you know.

  • Lee Calkins

    This is crazy….even if you did fill it with gunpowder it would just melt….not fly across the room. Well these are the guys that are protecting us…oh I feel soooooo safe.

  • Scott

    Personally as a Canadian I’d be insulted with them insinuating that I’d try to sneak into their country to live illegally.

    Why the hell would I do that when I live in Canada :D

  • David McConnell

    I had a $2.00 mini hot glue gun confiscated once.
    “I know exactly what it is and that it’s safe, but it’s gun shaped and can be heated so I must take it – Sorry.”
    I guess they thought I would stick up the plane.

  • Stephen Benson

    I assume everyone’s pretending not to know that security theatre is never anything to do with security…

    (For anyone who insists: the answer is fear & intimidation, to engender reflexive obedience).