Flying with Batteries in Australia

When Flying with Drone Batteries in Australia or anywhere is important to know the laws for your country and airline as they can vary for the batteries for your Drone

Lithium batteries are classed as dangerous goods as they can short circuit and cause a fire or explode, where possible airlines prefer that you have them as carry on luggage. (Up to 160Wh)

CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) categorises Batteries according to their power measured in Watt Hours (Wh) for reference your LI-PO or Lithium – ion (polymer) Drone batteries are:

Dji Mavic Pro Battery is 43.662Wh
Dji Phantom 4 Battery is 81.32Wh

Calculate your battery’s watt-hour rating, you multiply the voltage (V) by the amp hour (Ah).

For example, a 12 volt battery with a 5 amp hour rating will be 60 watt-hours. V x Ah = Wh. If the battery is rated in milli-amp hours (mAh), divide your final answer by 1000 to arrive at the watt-hours. V x mAh / 1000 = Wh. For example, a 6 volt; 2500 mah battery will be 6 x 2500/1000 = 15 Wh.

It’s always a good idea to double check with your Airline for their current policy as they can change (Samsung Galaxy Note 7 anyone)

Batteries under 100Wh rating

The batteries that power your Drone, phone, laptop and camera etc  are usually under the 100 watt-hour (Wh) rating.

If you’re carrying a spare battery that’s not in one of these devices, it must be in your carry-on baggage only.

Spare batteries, regardless of their size are not to be carried in checked luggage.

Lithium Ion batteries 100-160Wh rating

These are more powerful batteries, and can be found in industrial equipment such as power tools and mobility aids between 100 and 160Wh.

You must have approval from your airline before flying.

If the battery is installed in a device, it can be carried in either checked or carry-on baggage.

If the battery is a spare – that is, the battery is by itself and not contained in equipment – it must be in your carry-on baggage only.

Spare batteries, regardless of their size are not to be carried in checked luggage.

There is a limit of two spare batteries per person. These batteries must only be packed in carry-on luggage and should have their terminals individually protected to minimise the risk of contact other metal objects in your luggage.

Lithium Ion batteries 160Wh rating and above

You can’t carry lithium batteries above 160Wh unless they are for wheelchairs and other mobility aids.

These batteries must be transported as declared dangerous goods cargo.

Short-circuiting batteries have been responsible for numerous on-board fires, so it’s important that all spare batteries have their terminals protected properly.

You can do this by:

Keeping batteries in original retail packaging or Insulating the battery terminals by taping over exposed terminals or Placing each battery in a separate plastic bag or protective pouch.

Watch this video from CASA for more information.

Visit the below resources for up to date information.

https://www.casa.gov.au/safety-management/landing-page/dangerous-goods
https://www.casa.gov.au/standard-page/travelling-safely-batteries
https://www.virginaustralia.com/eu/en/plan/baggage/batteries/
http://www.qantas.com/travel/airlines/dangerous-goods/global/en#electronic-devices-powered-by-batteries

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