Orders to factories for "big ticket" durable goods dropped 4.1 percent in September, pulled down by sharp declines in the volatile defense and transportation sectors, the government said Tuesday. The Commerce Department said total orders fell $5.0 billion to a seasonally adjusted $117.7 billion last month. The steep decline follows a big 5.7 percent increase in August and a 7.4 percent drop in July, the worst monthly decline in four years. The durable goods total, which includes manufactured goods ranging from household appliances to huge airliners, has been buffeted up and down in recent months by wide swings in orders for aircraft, ships and tanks, affecting both the transportation and military sectors.