One of the most frequently asked questions when one is to travel by airplane, is how to transport a drone safely and without stress by airplane.
There are some rules established by airlines which drone operators must follow in order to facilitate their voyage and increase safety during the flight.
But what could pose danger in a drone?
The answer is its battery.
Lithium-ion batteries are used in a huge range of unmanned models. They can store great amounts of energy and are very light, since lithium is the lighter metal.
Yes, these batteries are dangerous, and the reason is because their active chemical components are kept separate by an insulating material, which, if ruptured, will cause the chemicals to come into contact and create a violent reaction, producing a large amount of gases, reaching a very high temperature. It is this combination that renders them dangerous, since the violent release will cause an explosion.
According to European regulations, drone batteries cannot be transferred in checked luggage, but only in carry-ons to be stored in the storage spaces overhead, or under the front seat in the cabin.
Charging your batteries on the aircraft is now allowed, and you should take precautions in order to avoid the device’s inadvertent activation.
Passengers may carry only 2 extra batteries or batteries not attached to the device and only in a carry-on bag. Ion-lithium batteries should be up to 100Wh.
How to prepare your drone and batteries
Due to increased fire risk, the batteries should be fully discharged, since they can get damaged easily. This can be done by using your aircraft until the battery is depleted. Only discharge the battery in a fireproof location.
Batteries should be protected and kept separately, either in their original packaging, or if we lag the terminals. With adhesive strips or film on the terminals of the batteries, or by placing each battery in a different plastic or protective bag, the risk of short circuit is effectively reduced.
At the Security check
Place all the batteries in a separate plastic box.
Your laptop, smartphone and tablet devices should also be placed into a separate box.
Inform the security personnel about your drone (they will be much friendlier if you show them that you are cooperative and informed).
Luggage containing batteries and camera equipment is often tested for explosives.
But that is nothing special and there is no need to worry.
The personnel know that it is possible that your drone gets checked again at a subsequent part of your voyage and you may be given a safety document to sign.
On board the plane
When you board the plane, you must follow the rules of the board personnel, since they are responsible for your safety, as well as of the people traveling with you.
If you show that you are responsible and cooperative, you will save valuable time facilitating the whole process and you will be able to better enjoy your flight.
Enjoy your trip!