Home / Electronics / New LiPo Shipping Regulations

New LiPo Shipping Regulations

FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2006 file photo, firefighters battle a blaze onboard a UPS cargo plane at Philadelphia International Airport in Philadelphia. The risk of fire is prompting federal officials to back a proposed ban on rechargeable lithium battery shipments as cargo on passenger airlines. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek, File)

On April 1st, 2016 there are going to be several key changes regarding how Lithium Polymer batteries may be shipped via air:

  1. All international shipments of lithium batteries not in or with equipment (batteries by themselves) are prohibited as cargo on passenger aircraft. This means that many countries will not be able to receive batteries from long distance and we could see the price of batteries increase significantly.
  2.  A 30% state of charge limit will be placed on batteries that will be traveling via air. We believe this is not only unsafe as the battery is not stable at 30% charge, but long periods at this charge dramatically increases the chance that a cell will go bad.

The people who have implemented these new regulation are the IATA (International Air Transport Association), after many in the Airline industry started to voice their concerns at the transport of volatile batteries

 

The safety concerns are not restricted to baggage and cargo. Mail is carried extensively onboard passenger aircraft, both internationally and on relatively short domestic flights. Lithium batteries, whether on their own or packed with equipment, are not permitted in airmail. Nevertheless, numerous web sites advertise lithium batteries for sale with delivery by airmail as an option. Couple this with the fact that a number of such batteries may not comply with the regulatory requirements, it is not surprising that there have been a number of incidents involving lithium batteries in airmail.
.
dodgy battery
A non-compliant laptop battery ordered online and sent by airmail, which caught fire shortly after being unloaded from a passenger aircraft at London Heathrow Airport
There remain however, a number of systemic problems with lithium batteries. Their ubiquitous nature means that people who are completely unaware of the dangerous goods regulations and the requirements for lithium batteries are shipping them as cargo and in mail. Worse still, unscrupulous individuals are prepared to flout the requirements and put passengers and crew at risk. Many passengers are similarly oblivious to the potential hazards of lithium batteries. The result is that there are safety risks from lithium batteries in baggage, cargo and mail. This guide has been produced to assist operators in deter mining their strategies for mitigating these risks.
 …..
So you can see why they are keen to tighten up regulations but it will definitely have in impact on the RC community and your batteries will definitely increase in price!!!

We at Drone Insider Support this change in regulation, we didnt even realise that they were on commercial aircraft until we read the report and wrote this article. We Love RC but even we would be a little worried if were sitting above some dodgy Hobby king LIHV batteries at 30,000ft.

After Lockerbie, they designed a bomb proof cargo box/holder, which is in use on almost all commercial airlines,  And UPS are developing something similar for Cargo planes:

UPS said it has already developed fire-containment covers for cargo, adopted full-face oxygen masks that are easy to put on and enhanced emergency training. The company said it has ordered 1,821 fiber-reinforced plastic shipping containers to withstand intense fires

It is a much bigger problem then people think, there was the UPS plane we pictured on the article: a UPS cargo plane at Philadelphia International Airport in 2006 which caught fire on the runway, most likely caused by a battery fire. As well as UPS Flight 6 which had 2 fatalities when flying back from Dubai in 2010. Even back in 1987 there was South African airways flight 295, there was a battery fire on a half cargo, half passenger plane. All 159 passengers and crew were lost. There are at least 3 other cargo fires we know of in the past 5 years, most of them probably caused by Lithium batteries, not to mention all the issues the 787 Dreamliner had with onborad lithium battieres.

If you read the report for the 2010 UPS cargo plane it makes for pretty grim reading:
The crew in Dubai reported a fire about 22 minutes into the flight and tried to return to the airport to land. But smoke obscured the pilot’s view of flight-control instruments and radios. The captain’s oxygen supply stopped working five minutes after the initial fire warning, at about 21,000 feet in the air, leaving him incapacitated for the rest of the flight.

“I got no oxygen I can’t breathe,” the captain said, according to a transcript of the cockpit-voice recorder. “You fly.”

With the first officer unable to see outside the cockpit or the controls within it, the plane flew past the airport and crashed while trying to circle the airport.

Its pretty dire stuff so I can see why they have implemented it, and in all honesty it probably should have been done earlier!

Please tell use your thoughts in the comments below.

Check Also

AKK X1 25/200/600mw Video Transmitter – Review

Click here to purchase this video transmitter A great, good value Video Transmitter!!! As you …

3 comments

  1. Makers of lipo batteries should be held responsible for all damages that their batteries cause. They have known about the safety problems with these batteries for a very long time and refuse to build safety features into these batteries. Too many incidents of fires and tradgedies have happened because of the lipo batteries. Build them right or find a new safer battery technology.

  2. I recall one accident which had nothing to do with cargo, it was the plane’s own battery back up system which used a large Lithium cell system which caused the problem. I’m sure that in this day and age someone can come up with a safer alternative to Lithium or at least some type of safety device fitted to all packs. The manufacturers and retailers are making a small fortune from the sale of these batteries, why can’t they invest some of that capital back into battery research ? At the moment it’ll be the end user paying for for it, as usual. Perhaps if there were tighter controls on manufacturing, these incidents wouldn’t be occurring.

  3. Aluminum Graphite battery are the Answer………………

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *