Probably the most frequently asked questions is how specifically to transport a drone safely and without strain by airplane.

In general it really is said: There are only a few guidelines that drone pilots need to follow. Even so you could make life easier if you follow some guidance increasing safety on board and showing the secureness personnel that you know what you are doing.

This guide has no legal force – it is an independent advice predicated on publications, rules, personal experience and the regulations of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), an American authority with powers to modify all areas of civil aviation.

Regulations about the transport of lithium-ion battery packs on aircrafts

  • For uninstalled lithium-ion battery packs with < 100Wh:
    The battery has to be kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin. It always should be stowed safely, as described below. A permission of the Airline is normally not necessary.
  • For uninstalled lithium-ion battery packs with > 100Wh:
    The battery should be kept with the passenger in the aircraft cabin. It always needs to be stowed safely, as referred to below. A permission of the airline is essential always.
  • Sharp or pointed items such as the Carbon Fibers Propellers cannot be transported in the hands luggage since they could possibly be used as weapons on board.

“Have my batteries more or less than 100Wh (Watt Hours)?”
The formula is quite easy: Volt x Amp hours = Wh
You will see all information on your own batteries.
Example: 12V x 8Ah = 96Wh

How to ready your Drone and Batteries
Because of increased fire risk, the battery packs should neither get fully charged not fully discharged given that they will get damaged easily. The ideal battery level is about 35 – 50%.

With adhesive strips or films, the terminals of the batteries must be protected from short circuit.

The batteries ought to be packed in so-called LiPo safe and sound bags.
These favourable but fireproof bags are not necessarily needed but I can recommend them because you should have less problems at the security check if you stow your batteries professionally and safely.

Suitcase vs Backpack vs Hard Case
Bigger drones, like the incredible DJI Inspire 2, are actually too large for the hands luggage so they need to be transported as checked luggage (without the battery packs of course).
It is suggested to tag the suitcase with a good label stating the chance of breakage.

Regarding palm luggage in the cabin there is actually no difference when you have a backpack or perhaps a suitcase, even so, a backpack is more comfortable in most cases.

At the Security Check

  • Put all batteries into a separate box.
    Laptop, smartphone and tablet must also be put into a separate box.
  • Inform the security employees about your drone (they’ll be much friendlier in the event that you display them that you are cooperative).
  • Luggage made up of batteries and camera equipment is often analyzed for explosives. But that’s nothing special and you don’t have to worry. And whether or not the test is great, you shouldn’t worry: many medicines, for instance asthma inhalers, are also positive in those checks for explosives.

The personnel knows that probably they’ll check your backpack or your suitcase once again and a file should be signed, but the security check is finished.

Up to speed of the plane
You must follow the guidelines of the board employees since they are in charge of your safety.
Finally: when you are friendly and cooperative, you will have less trouble.
Have a safe trip!

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