Up to Speed: flying with batteries

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SPECIFIC GUIDELINES
Air New Zealand
Virgin Australia
American Airlines
Qantas

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Dangerous Goods in Air Transportation Awareness

From the time Sony first released the Lithium battery in 1991, they have become so widely adopted and ubiquitous that little thought is now given to their correct handling.

Complicating matters, and giving the Li-Ion batteries a bad name so to speak, is the ‘low cost’ lithium-Ion battery market. Mass produced, and not affiliated with the top tier producers such as Samsung, Panasonic, LG and Sony, they dodge the stringent international manufacturing, testing and transport process. In one such case, the buyer of a poorly performing Li-Ion battery opened it up to discover that the lower cost manufacture had added iron-bars to cheat the weight.

The real reason for concern though is that several incidents purportedly involving lithium batteries have actually set fire to cargo planes. Authorities believe that at least three cargo planes have crashed due to their Lithium Ion cargo. Even with passenger planes, it’s not uncommon to have tens of thousands of Li-Ion batteries in the belly of the plane.

On 1 January 2008 a line was drawn.

American Airlines said no to carrying lithium batteries in any kind of checked baggage. Other airlines soon followed including Air NZ, Qantas and Virgin Australia.

Fast forward to 2016, following closely behind the news that both Boeing and Airbus formally stated that continuing to accept Lithium Ion battery shipments was “an unacceptable risk”, a UN panel is recommending a complete ban on shipments of Lithium-Ion batteries on passenger planes until packaging is developed that meets an acceptable level of safety.

In late February the UN prohibited cargo shipments of lithium-ion batteries on passenger aircraft from 1 April. The ban will continue until until a new fire-resistant packaging standard is implemented, currently expected to be in 2018. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries can still be transported on cargo planes.

THE 100/160 WATT HOUR RULE
Up to 100Wh: take as many on board as your weight limit allows. Put in correct casing.
Up to 160Wh: take only TWO on board, individually wrapped.
Over 160Wh: must be sent as freight
YOU CANNOT PUT LOOSE LITHIUM ION BATTERIES IN CHECKED-IN LUGGAGE.
However you can if they are attached to the equipment they power (and the off/on switch is secure).
Wh = Watt Hour
If you can’t see Wh on your battery then multiple Volts by Amps
e.g. 10.8V x 8800mAh (which is to 8.8 Amp Hours) = 95Wh

 

BlueBar1000
Written by Ande Schurr

Ande has been location sound recording for a decade. He is passionate about growth and writes articles for freelancers.
schurrsound.com
BlueBar1000

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