Can a Sennheiser MKH 416 Bring Down a Plane?

Sennheiser 416That’s what the TSA at the little airport in Roswell, New Mexico wanted to know.  I guess it looked like a pipe bomb to them.

I was returning from few wonderful days in the nearby mountain village of Ruidoso, having met up with the wife’s family, and had brought along the traveling voice-over rig.  The Sennheiser 416 was in the carry-on bag.  It went through the X-ray machine and caused a bit of a stir.  I was pulled aside and asked to explain.  Fearing this might happen, I had it in the original case with the windscreen and paperwork which included a photo of it with cable attached.

“It’s a microphone,” I told Miss TSA lady. “See, there’s a picture of it.”

“’s a microphone,” she shouted down the table to her fellow inspectors.

“Ahh, a microphone,” they grunted. “We didn’t know what it was…OK.”

Funny thing is when we flew out of DFW, the TSA didn’t bat an eye.  Either they had seen shotgun mics before, or they didn’t care.

And yes, it’s THAT Roswell. Alien crash landing  museums, Big Bob’s Flying Saucer Burgers and all that.  Maybe I should paint the 416 green. Nah.

6 thoughts on “Can a Sennheiser MKH 416 Bring Down a Plane?

  1. Dave Courvoisier

    Bill, I often fly Allegiant Airlines. They specialize in flying to and from Las Vegas to all sorts of mid-size markets. The TSA in those towns LOVE lording over you when you enter their little one room waiting areas/one-belt security checkpoints. They’ve got the metal detectors screwed on so tight it once picked up a staple in a piece of paper I had in my pockets. I was afraid they were going to call out the SWAT team!
    Thanks for the warning on the MKH!


  2. Bill Post author

    Dave, a friend of mine in Ruidoso once had to cut open a pack of hand made artisan cheese to show the Roswell TSA folks that it wasn’t plastic explosives! How funny is that? Better safe than sorry, though.
    I suppose the lesson with the 416 is to keep paperwork with it if you are flying.

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  6. Greg Houser

    Jeez… I travel with much more sinister looking stuff than that and I’ve yet to be bothered. On the flip side, it’s hard to mistake the microphone since it’s packed with the computer, USB interface, etc.

    You must look shady =-P

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