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Old September 10th, 2014, 02:11 AM   #1
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Drone battery fire on plane

Undeclared lithium-ion batteries for powering a drone began igniting in the hold of an aircraft in Australia.

Undeclared drone batteries sparked plane fire at Melbourne airport: report - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
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Old September 10th, 2014, 10:18 AM   #2
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

"The passenger who had checked in the case was located and was asked whether any batteries were in it, to which the passenger responded there were none," the final report stated.

"The ARFF and Australian Federal Police inspected all four of the bags checked in by the passenger and found 19 batteries intact and [an] additional 6-8 batteries that had been destroyed by fire."

Jail time is MORE than appropriate here. A LOT of jail time.

If you refuse to regulate yourself, expect someone to decide to do it for you. Air travel is NOT a game.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 01:32 PM   #3
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

Whilst the chances of any single Lithium battery catching fire or exploding may be very low, there are now so many of them that stories of fires etc are becoming quite common. I've tended to think it's only the larger sizes that are any real hazard, but it's worth looking at this story - Samsung Galaxy S3 explodes, turns young woman into 'burnt pig' ? The Register .

Perhaps fortunate she wasn't on an aircraft when that happened? But at least it would have been a smallish battery, and better dealt with in the cabin. I think when airlines first started to ban Lithium camera batteries from the hold there was a bit of an "over reaction" feeling - their fears have obviously now been proved justified.

We can only be thankful this incident happened before takeoff, and (as he lied about it) this individual may be looking at some time in jail.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 02:30 PM   #4
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

But what is the answer? Carry them in "carry on" bags? Some sort of insulation?

I usually travel with three Sony "EX3" size batts, one in carry on, two checked, and latterly four Panasonic "GH3/4" size batteries, two carry on, two checked.


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Old September 13th, 2014, 02:32 PM   #5
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

And a supplemental question. If the batteries are fully discharged do they still pose a fire hazard?



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Old September 13th, 2014, 02:55 PM   #6
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

In the US at least, it's very simple: all lithium batteries need to be in a carry-on bag. There is a rule that a battery may be checked if it is "installed" in a device, but the interpretation of this can vary a bit. TSA knows what batteries look like (drone LiPos included) and they know that you're allowed to have them in your cabin baggage. I've never had any issues traveling with batteries beyond a very heavy laptop bag...
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Old September 13th, 2014, 04:58 PM   #7
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Heath View Post
Whilst the chances of any single Lithium battery catching fire or exploding may be very low, there are now so many of them that stories of fires etc are becoming quite common. I've tended to think it's only the larger sizes that are any real hazard, but it's worth looking at this story - Samsung Galaxy S3 explodes, turns young woman into 'burnt pig' ? The Register .

Perhaps fortunate she wasn't on an aircraft when that happened? But at least it would have been a smallish battery, and better dealt with in the cabin. I think when airlines first started to ban Lithium camera batteries from the hold there was a bit of an "over reaction" feeling - their fears have obviously now been proved justified.

We can only be thankful this incident happened before takeoff, and (as he lied about it) this individual may be looking at some time in jail.
My S3 tends to ridiculously overheat where it's not comfortable to touch.

It only happens if i'm running graphic heavy gaming apps or accidently leave too many apps running the background.

Everyone on Android should install CLEAN MASTER, it's free, it's a one touch app to empty/clean all running apps (frees up ram).
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Old September 13th, 2014, 06:06 PM   #8
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Jackson View Post
And a supplemental question. If the batteries are fully discharged do they still pose a fire hazard?
As I understand it, yes, though probably less so. The risks are two fold, partly through normal battery risks - a short circuit will cause heating - but with lithium batteries the material it's made from is inflammable in it's own right. So in the event of a short, a different type of battery might just get hot and melt - a lithium battery will get hot and burn violently or explode.

So if you had four batteries in a case, but only one charged, then if that caught fire it could easily spread to the others, quadrupling the risk.

Practically, I suspect the airlines want to keep the regulations as straightforward as possible - it's easier to just say a given type of battery can or can not be carried, and can or can not be in the hold.

British Airways regulations on the subject are at - http://www.britishairways.com/cms/gl...um_battery.pdf and I suspect most carriers are similar. Camera batteries of reliable make should be OK and unlikely to internally short, and likely to be fused in case of external shorts. It may be in smaller batteries (such as laptops) that you'll get cheap unbranded makes and these may be more prone to failure.

The real point is that if in the cabin and an incident does occur (which is far from theoretical - see BBC News - Batteries on planes pose 'increased fire risk' ) it can hopefully be dealt with. If it's in the hold, it obviously can't be. Hence the regulations.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 06:15 PM   #9
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

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Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
In the US at least, it's very simple: all lithium batteries need to be in a carry-on bag. ......... TSA knows what batteries look like (drone LiPos included) and they know that you're allowed to have them in your cabin baggage. I've never had any issues traveling with batteries beyond a very heavy laptop bag...
The British Airways regulations say that you're allowed a maximum of 4 per person in cabin baggage if they are "with watt hours LESS than 100wh". Strangely, many pro camera batteries seem to be 98wh ( :-) ), but note that the 4 figure applies to ALL lithium batteries in your possession.

So if you have a mobile phone and laptop, then to stay within the regulations you are really only allowed a maximum of 2 camera batteries. Hence it may be necessary to share them out between members of a team on an aircraft if nobody can bear to leave their phone etc behind!

I suspect the rules are going to be increasingly tightly enforced, especially after this latest incident.
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Old September 13th, 2014, 11:43 PM   #10
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't shorting or puncture the main concern (I could also see overcharging malfunctions, but that shouldn't apply while on an aircraft?). If that is the case, then proper storage should be all that is "required" to eliminate the "threat"...

I suppose there is some risk connected to badly manufactured batteries that internally short, and IIRC that can be traced to many of the fires, but there's really no way to see INTERNAL faults, you can only establish a pattern and do a recall after a few go up in smoke...

Otherwise it would seem that prevention of shorts and any sort of possible physical damage should be at the top of the "risk prevention" checklist... that and not letting "dangerous" idiots on planes, but not sure how one regulates THAT...
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Old September 14th, 2014, 02:26 AM   #11
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

PAG, the manufacturer of batteries, provide this information:

https://www.paguk.com/content/air-tr...on-batteries-0

I guess all you can do is buy batteries from a known source, made by a reputable manufacturer or at least brand. Going off piste on eBay for cheap batteries may introduce a greater possibly of lower quality control in batteries from an unknown source.
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Old September 14th, 2014, 09:02 AM   #12
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Re: Drone battery fire on plane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't shorting or puncture the main concern ...... If that is the case, then proper storage should be all that is "required" to eliminate the "threat"...
I think you're correct in principle, but there's still a risk that a battery may get a knock in loading (case dropped by baggage handlers, say) which could cause internal damage. Pro camera batteries should be internally fused, so external shorts shouldn't be the problem they are in phone batteries.
Quote:
I suppose there is some risk connected to badly manufactured batteries that internally short, and IIRC that can be traced to many of the fires, but there's really no way to see INTERNAL faults, you can only establish a pattern and do a recall after a few go up in smoke...
True - though recall is not much good after the plane has caught fire..... :-)
Quote:
Otherwise it would seem that prevention of shorts and any sort of possible physical damage should be at the top of the "risk prevention" checklist... that and not letting "dangerous" idiots on planes, but not sure how one regulates THAT...
Top of the risk prevention checklist is banning them from checked baggage, and that's very sensible for two reasons.

Firstly, it means they don't get subjected to the knocks of normal baggage handling so less likely to sustain pre flight damage. Secondly, if an incident does happen, it can be dealt with far more effectively and quickly in the cabin than if in the hold.
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