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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  • what about carry on? even its in LIPO bag. is it ok to take them on 

    Contact the airline you plan to fly with, they will be more than happy to tell you what is and isn't allowed on their planes. I haven't seen one yet that allows lipos in the cargo hold, its generally all carry on. 

    Don't just listen to advice off a forum and turn up at the airport with a bag full of gear, quick way to lose a few hundred dollars worth of batteries.

  • interesting that the video on their home back is gone... 3701827953?profile=original

  • According to the damaged branding it would appear the idiot in question is High Alpha Media - Has anyone read the "Team" description on their website? I'm amazed that these guys claim to be professionals. More like an accident waiting to happen.

  • what about carry on? even its in LIPO bag. is it ok to take them on , even if its slightly bloated.

  • Discussing choice of batteries is like debating politics, religion or choice of operating system. Pointless.

  • I've had a couple of in-flight (RC not full scale) cell failures in the last 5-6 years but nothing exciting. I have wondered about the balance connectors and the fraction of a mm between wires. Some have the metal terminal almost outside the plastic body. IMO not a suitable connector for any LiPo over about 1000mAh.

  • With expensive batteries, there is far more testing and quality control to ensure that every battery goes out the door with the specs stated and is up to scratch. With expensive batteries, you are also paying for the ones they have to throw out.

    You have two choices, you can buy cheap batteries knowing that at some point you will probably get a dud with a short life but in most cases it will probably be just as good as the expensive brand OR you can always buy expensive batteries knowing that every single one will be perfect.

    Sorry, I don't buy any of this.  There was a case where somebody had purchased some very expensive batteries, I forget which brand, but I think they were the most expensive on the market.  The user had problems with them, seems like he was discharging them too fast, even though they were "rated" at 60C and his flight time was like 5-10 minutes.  Upon discussion with the manufacturer, they  stated that their "C rating" was actually the "will blow up at this point" rating, not the "continuous discharge rating".   They stated that their "60C" batteries were only good for 5C continuous discharge.

    That was it for me.  Until I see any testing, I'll just stick to cheap batteries.

  • @Swift, unfortunately, it's cheaper to buy batteries in Colorado and throw them out before heading back, than it is to ground ship UPS two ways from Canada to the US and back.  Sad but true.  That's actually what I did this past year.  I purchased back-up batteries in the US and had them delivered to Colorado.  Just in case.  But since I no problem on my way there, now I had even more batteries on the way back.  You just never know.

    Amazingly, while in Colorado, I purchased a scale heli fuselage. It was a rather large box.  I went to the Fedex shipment place to mail it to myself in Canada rather than taking it on the plane.  I figured it would be cheaper.  Shipping was $120, and then I knew I'd have to pay taxes and duties on the other end.  I said screw it, and headed to the airport.  The oversize baggage fee was $50, and then it was tax exempt when I went through customs in Canada.

    At least between US and Canada, the shipping companies have us over a barrel.

  • high alpha? busted......

  • If you are having problems at airports give this a try. Just label your batteries with the information that TSA needs as most agents don't know the regulations. Carry a copy of the regulations as well. Then put on the label that the batteries that the battery is 'approved' and they will be happy. This worked great for me both internationally and in the US. 


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