LiPO Fire onboard Fijian Airlines B737

3689614928?profile=originalThe Australian Transportation Safety Bureau published its report in relation to a cargo hold smoke event involving a Boeing 737.

The smoke was detected by the airline Captain during the external inspection on the tarmac during preflights.  The source of the smoke was later identified as being some LiPO batteries for a UAV.  The passenger failed to declared the LiPOs when asked at check in.  The ATSB revealed that the passenger was an Australian certified UAV operator.

Australian civil aviation safety regulations permit LiPO batteries to be transported as CARRY ON as long as they are <100WH and are packaged to prevent short circuits.

I frequently travel on aircraft with LiPO batteries, and before I travel all the terminals and balance leads are taped with electrical tape.  They are stored in LiPO safe bags, and then transported in a pelican case as carry on.

It makes sense to take every precaution because I'd rather not be on a plane that crashes because of a LiPO fire.

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  • Moderator

    @BTE Like in any industry, there's always the good, bad and the ugly LoL.  And as more competition enter the market place, prices undoubtedly go down, and with that operators have to reduce costs somehow. 

  • @TJC
    I log hours for blades, motors, everything.
    Each component has a set retirement age whether showing signs of damage or not, an inspection and maintenance cycle, all flight logs stored, pilot hours recorded etc etc.
    Items that are still performing at retirement age get pushed to testing where we can use them to add greater value to our risk assessments and reassess the retirement / maintenance cycles.
    At the least, if something were to go wrong I could stand up in front of a coroner and show the care we took to make sure we were operating at the best of our ability.
    cycles.At - Diese Domain steht zum Verkauf!
  • Admin


    If I was a professional sUAS operator and had an expensive DSLR mounted on my multicopter, I would invest in the most reliable LiPos I could buy to help mitigate that potential, unexpected fall from the sky.

    I would also keep track of the charge/discharge cycles for each battery and retire them immediately when their performance begins to degrade and not try to push a marginal battery.



  • Everything I post is off topic ;)
  • Moderator

    @TCIII  - We normally keep our batteries in LiPO bags, and then inside steel cabinets in our office discharged, unless we're planning on using them in the next 2-3 days.  This is more for keeping the batteries in good condition than anything else. 

    I'm not sure what difference it would make whether the battery is full at 16V or whether it's partially charged at 14V.  I'm not aware of any guidelines from IATA, ICAO, FAA or CASA in relation to the recommended battery state.

    Has anyone done any tests or is aware of any published research which might indicate whether the battery state would affect the likelihood or consequence of a LiPO fire?

    Thankfully I've never personally experienced a LiPO fire, I'd hope a LiPO safe bag will minimise any damage, but maybe it's time for to conduct some testing and see what the deal might be.

  • They've been performing well for me. Sorry if too off topic.
  • In my experience Zippy batteries are fine really, maybe not the longest life span but hey, for all I know they may well use the exact same cells as other branded batteries and my experiences are just that, mine. It just made me giggle that as a legitimate business that must have risk assessments etc in place they nominate to use parts sourced from hobbyking. Plants images of a commercial copter with multistar motors and plastic blades. Again nothing wrong with that in a domestic craft, but commercially it makes me raise an eyebrow. I am of course ignoring the fact that a CASA certified operator failed to correctly pack and carry the batteries for airplane flights. Kind of shows that it doesn't matter what safety management system you have on paper for your company if you don't have the brain to follow it....
  • Could you explain what you mean about the zippy batteries? I realize they are not professional grade but is there a reason I should be avoiding them? Just for recreational.
  • I do, TJC.

    Am I the only one childish enough to find it amusing that this certified UAV operator uses Zippy batteries?


  • Admin


    Do you discharge the batteries to the storage state prior to insulating the terminals?



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