Traveling with Iris +

Looking at the 3dr case for the Iris to travel to Texas.  Any thoughts on that case plus how to travel with batteries?

I have researching on the FAA site about lipo batteries, but still no clear if I pack them in my case or bring them on carry on in the lipo guard bag, with the terminals covered with electrical tape.

Also looking for feedback on if your traveled with your Iris,+, your experiences.



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  • I've flown between Denmark and Australia via multiple international stops without an issue.

    Do your research based on your carrier and route, print a summary page with list of inventory, tape up the terminals, put batteries in LiPo safe bags, label each battery (voltage and capacity of each battery - e.g. 3S 11.1V, # Watts per Hour) and above all declare them to security before they go through the scanner. Hell, if you get the right staff (I realise flying domestic in the US is a little different) but they might push you to a priority queue/or the front just so security staff can have a curious peek instead of putting you in the general queues.

    Happy flying, and remember the secret when flying with our gear; in airports they're model aircraft not drones! :P

  • Hi Matt,

    I flew to Texas with my Iris+ via Southwest in December of last year, from Los Angeles to Dallas and back. TSA here in LA are often some of the grouchiest though I think Denver has them topped. I had no issues whatsoever using most of the advice from this site: though I disagree with his idea of declaring it at check in, though his practice of referring to it as a "radio controlled toy helicopter" is solid. I also think Reudi's advice given above is pretty good.

    Personally, I would tape the battery terminals, put each in a separate LiPo bag and take it as carry on. As I read it, each should have it's own bag. Make sure each battery had clear factory markings (3DR batteries do) and print a relevant page from both the TSA and Airlines which both have the regulations for transportation of LiPo batteries. That way you are ready to show them their own regs, just in case. You might also consider taking them through carry on in a small Pelican case with some other common electronics such as cameras. I figure a large supply of electronics draws less attention than a case of plastic bricks with wires coming out. I swear, LiPo batteries look just like the "C4 packs" in the movies. Thanks Hollywood! :-P I gave myself about 30 min more through security both ways, but didn't need it either time.

    Also, have you considered buying this case? ( It's priced at $115 vs 3DR's Iris case priced at $280 (and which at the moment is out of stock.) You will have to cut/pull the foam. This operation took me about 3 hours, but I was trying to make it look at least somewhat tidy. My main complaint is the lack of wheels for wheeling it around the airport, but I've been considering some ways to give it removable wheels. Also, I think the individual side clasps can get snagged much more easily than a Pelican case, which if enough of the 6 of them got opened, the case could spill. Though a clasp has never been accidentally opened once, with two flights, in and out of cars in the field, I still felt better grabbing a couple cheap cargo straps from Harbor Freight and tightening them around the box for airline travel. 

    I can post some pics of my case setup if there's interest when I get home.

    • Thanks for the link to the Condition 101024, I'm considering purchasing it very soon.

      I would love to see some photos of everything packed in there, like the transmitter, do you need to take the props off, and how about the gimbal?


  • Hi Matt-

    The Iris case is sturdy and great for travel. It is bigger than allowed for carry-ons.

    The TSA has the information about the guidelines, and they get their information from the DOT: Traveling With Lithium Batteries

    The key term is "Equivalent Lithium Content" which you can calculate with this worksheet from FedEx (.pdf): Calculating Equivalent Lithium Content

    For the standard IRIS+ 5100 mAh battery, the ELC is 4.59g. This means that you can install a battery in the IRIS and check the case, but any spare batteries would need to be carried on. Best practice is to tape the terminals and place the batteries in a LiPo bag, and give yourself a bit more time through security.

    I'm hazmat shipping (air+ground) qualified, which is renewed every 2 years, and Lithium battery rules are always changing. It is a good idea to call the airline you're using to see if they have any stricter guidelines to be safe.

    • I flew with eight batteries using the Iris+ case, i put them in the cutouts provided and put the extra under the nose with bubble wrap on it. Make sure the case is nice and tiddy, don't give them a mess to sort through. I would confirm that they are above the threshold allowed because I used to check bags with 95ah lithiums and i stopped because they were just above the limit. The batteries are not dangerous, they won't catch on fire if pierced or shorted (havent tested this) the danger lies in the chance of a small fire in the cargo area, they will burn and cannot be extinguished with the systems on the plane... I was prepared to pull them from my check bag and carry them if they asked but they did not. Where are you flying out of, that makes a difference also? I always have trouble in Kansas...
    • Flying out of Chicago Midway to Corpus Christi.

      My plan is the use the Iris case and bring 4 batteries.  I think I will bring them on the carry on in the lipo bag with covered terminals. 

    • I have never had any trouble flying out of Chicago but the safest route would be to carry them. Safe Travels!

    • Thanks for all the posts.  Very helpful.

  • My understanding is that you need to bring the lipo's with you as a carry on.
    I would check the TSA website. I would also check the web site for the airline you are traveling with.

    LiPos are not dangerous when they are not in use and especially if they are discharged.
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