Topic for discussion is what's the best/largest travel scope that will fit in a 22" by 14" by 9" carry on bag? I am posting this in equipment because it compares an SCT with a refractor so it doesn't fit too well in either the Cat/Cass or Refractor forums.
I have narrowed it down to the C6 and a 4" f/7 doublet. For discussion purposes, am going with the AT102ED for the 4" doublet, although there are other brands that would be similar. Either the C6 or the AT102ED should ride fine on a Twilight 1 or similar small Alta-Azimuth mount, which would easily fit in a checked bag.
Here's what I have got for pros and cons for each scope:
The C6 is the largest aperture scope that will legally fit in a carry on. I have heard of people carrying a bigger scope like a C8 but they are taking a risk of not making it through since a C8 is slightly larger than what is legally allowed so it is somewhat risky trying to get on a plane with one -- you may end up having to check it or leave it behind. Too much risk in that.
So the biggest advantage of the C6 would be significantly more aperture and half the price of an AT102ED. But the C6 would have slower cool down than an AT102ED but the C6 should still cool down in a reasonable amount of time.
The AT102ED (and other similar 4" refractors) should fit in a carry on if you remove the focuser, which isn't too much trouble compared to the hassles of air travel.
Seems like the biggest advantage of the AT102ED would be the wider field, which would be helpful when navigating unfamiliar skies on a manual anti-azimuth mount. The AT102ED should have better contrast due to lack of central obstruction and quicker cool down time. But, at twice the cost of the C6.
What would your preference be? Any other advantages/disadvantages between these two scopes?
Any other recommendations for the largest/best visual telescope that will legitimately fit into a carry on bag? Obviously, the "Stowaway 92" springs to mind but those are not available and the wait list is closed and they are about ten times more expensive than a C6. There might be other 4" triplets that would fit into a carry on bag, but I am not sure the increased cost of a triplet would be worth it for a visual only scope used for air travel where it might get damaged. Plus, if you spent a bunch of money on a triplet for travel, you would always be wishing it were a Stowaway.