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Flying With Spark (as in, on a PLANE)
23227 33 2017-9-23
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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Hey Sparkies,

A serious question: how do you travel with your Spark, when flying in a plane? Will airlines allow your batteries in the hold? Will airport security allow you to carry a flyable object airside? Simply, what is the safe (in terms of not getting your kit confiscated) way of travelling with a small DJI drone?

Brian
2017-9-23
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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By "hold", of course I mean, checked baggage ...
2017-9-23
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Charles Adams
Second Officer
Flight distance : 294528 ft
United States
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Your airline should have guidelines available on their policies and what they will enforce.  I've read one case of a drone owner running into issues, and many cases where drone owners have had no difficulties.  I think the policies vary from airline to airline.
2017-9-23
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daveddo
lvl.2
Flight distance : 158009 ft
United States
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I have a photography backpack that the entire Fly More Combo (inside the bag) fits into. Batteries inside as well. I carry this on as my “Personal Item” and I haven’t had any trouble.
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2017-9-23
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fans61699a75
Captain
Flight distance : 14969639 ft
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Netherlands
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No problems on most airlines, as long as the lipo batteries are under 100 wh. You have to take them in your handbaggage . Not checked in hold of airplane. Check the particular airlines website , chapter baggage , dangerous goods or what and what no to carry on aircraft.
2017-9-23
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fans61699a75
Captain
Flight distance : 14969639 ft
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Netherlands
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The only concerns are the rules and laws of countries.
2017-9-23
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Nemroig
lvl.3
Flight distance : 192930 ft
Turkey
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Hi Brian,

Hope this links can help:

https://www.iata.org/whatwedo/ca ... lithium-battery.pdf
https://drone-traveller.com

Regarding to batteries and IATA rules it always depend on how lucky you are with the security control (the security agent). Many times they don't know the rules, for example I've been told that I must bring the spark batteries with my checked baggage, and that is precisely the opposite: it is forbidden to carry them in checked baggage.

Cheers.
2017-9-23
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Fr.alvarez
lvl.1
United States
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I’m a flight attendant and yes you can take it. You don’t even have to take it out of you’re bag
2017-9-23
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djiuser_Kf4iPA3
First Officer
Flight distance : 276293 ft
Israel
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I just flew my Spark from the US to Israel in my carryon luggage with no issues.
2017-9-24
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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djiuser_Kf4iPA3 Posted at 2017-9-24 01:52
I just flew my Spark from the US to Israel in my carryon luggage with no issues.

Thanks - still think I'd better check with my (UK) airline, but seems the obvious way ...

Brian
2017-9-25
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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Nemroig Posted at 2017-9-23 23:46
Hi Brian,

Hope this links can help:

Thanks for those links. Very much what I need to read and understand!

One thought though: the Spark batteries are actually "in-equipment", inasmuch as each one contains its own computer, battery management system, etc. The batteries even take firmware updates! So they should not, really, be classed as "batteries" at all, but as computing devices! I wonder how that works out with the current regs ...

Brian
2017-9-25
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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Fr.alvarez Posted at 2017-9-23 23:55
I’m a flight attendant and yes you can take it. You don’t even have to take it out of you’re bag

Thanks for that. Trouble is, it only takes one "jobsworth" along the way to ruin the simplest of plans!

Brian
2017-9-25
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Freakuk
lvl.2
Flight distance : 26699 ft
United Kingdom
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I've just returned from the US with my spark, I had similar concerns before my travels. I had zero issues taking mine here's what I did to be safe.

Bought a lipo bag for my batteries
Ran the batteries down to less than 50% and put them in the bag
Put drone, batteries, RC, charger etc in hand luggage and put them all through security separately

Returning from the US I was instructed to leave everything in the bag including my laptop, again no issues.
2017-9-25
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Nemroig
lvl.3
Flight distance : 192930 ft
Spain
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Freakuk Posted at 2017-9-25 20:12
I've just returned from the US with my spark, I had similar concerns before my travels. I had zero issues taking mine here's what I did to be safe.

Bought a lipo bag for my batteries

Becareful, I've just returned form Egypt two days ago (Sharm el Sheikh) and it was a luck I put the drone with checked baggage: In the safe control they saw the batteries and the RC and they had me like 10 minutes asking if that RC was "for a flying thing" (drones are absolutely prohibited in Egypt). I fooled myself saying that it was for "a toy", "a game", "for videogames"... He even asked me to connect it to my laptop and show him that it was for a videogame... crazy.

Finally, he told me that "batteries are forbidden on board and must be carried with checked baggage", which is completely wrong. Luckily I had that IATA rules with me and was able to pass through.

Ultimately, it is a matter of luck depending on who is in the security control. What is clear is that I will not bring the drone back to Egypt, and I do not recommend it to anyone.

cheers
2017-9-25
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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Nemroig, very interesting! And as for, "I fooled myself saying that it was for "a toy", "a game", "for videogames"... He even asked me to connect it to my laptop and show him that it was for a videogame", if ever there was a reason to ask DJI to provide their remotes with a "tethered" mode, when they can behave as a PC games controller when connected via USB, this is it! Yuneec do have a feature that lets you use their controllers with PC simulator software!

Brian
2017-9-28
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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daveddo Posted at 2017-9-23 11:22
I have a photography backpack that the entire Fly More Combo (inside the bag) fits into. Batteries inside as well. I carry this on as my “Personal Item” and I haven’t had any trouble.

Great idea - though my photography bag is already rather full of camera and stuff! AND spare lipos for the camera. I guess i could carry the Spark lipos in that too, as I have never been queried about the contents of that bag. Just goes through X-ray and out the other side.

Just a question - do you carry your entire fly-more combo in the DJI bag? Including the drone? I'm still using the plastic closed-cell-foam shipping case for the drone and lipos, and find that everything else (including prop guards, cables, remote, etc) more or less fills the bag, even without the drone!

Brian
2017-9-28
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Sparky_17
Captain
Flight distance : 62349 ft
Canada
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You should have no problems travelling with your Spark.  So long as batteries are discharge to below 10%, you fly with spark as a carry-on, you have 3 max batteries and the batteries are protected from shorts (terminals are covered; or use the sparks case).

check with your airlines to make sure they follow the same policies.
2017-9-28
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daveddo
lvl.2
Flight distance : 158009 ft
United States
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Biowizard Posted at 2017-9-28 07:32
Great idea - though my photography bag is already rather full of camera and stuff! AND spare lipos for the camera. I guess i could carry the Spark lipos in that too, as I have never been queried about the contents of that bag. Just goes through X-ray and out the other side.

Just a question - do you carry your entire fly-more combo in the DJI bag? Including the drone? I'm still using the plastic closed-cell-foam shipping case for the drone and lipos, and find that everything else (including prop guards, cables, remote, etc) more or less fills the bag, even without the drone!

Cables and charging bay go separately in the top compartment of the backpack with all my other cables. I leave the propeller guards at home. The drone itself with battery installed, and 2 batteries go in the main compartment. One more battery goes in the outside pocket of the Fly More bag. There’s a small compartment in the top flap of the Fly More bag that I use to keep the extra propellers.
2017-9-28
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daveddo
lvl.2
Flight distance : 158009 ft
United States
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There’s no reason for me to keep the charger in the Fly More bag with me when I walk around. The batteries charge too slow for it to be used in the field. I keep a 120AC power inverter so I can charge it all in the car if I have to, but otherwise I’m charging all th stuff in the hotel room.
2017-9-28
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Bing Err
Captain
Flight distance : 8899783 ft
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United States
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I just flew MSP > LAS, SLC > DEN > MSP. Each trip I had 5 batteries in my carry on and the drone in the hard foam shell in my checked bag. No problems.
2017-9-28
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Bing Err
Captain
Flight distance : 8899783 ft
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United States
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daveddo Posted at 2017-9-28 23:06
There’s no reason for me to keep the charger in the Fly More bag with me when I walk around. The batteries charge too slow for it to be used in the field. I keep a 120AC power inverter so I can charge it all in the car if I have to, but otherwise I’m charging all th stuff in the hotel room.

I actually think the batteries charge impressively fast. You probably just need MORE batteries. I have 5 and if I exhaust one battery and stick it on the charger before I start flying with the second it will definitely recharge to 100% before I go through the other 4 batteries.
2017-9-29
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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Bing Err Posted at 2017-9-29 00:10
I actually think the batteries charge impressively fast. You probably just need MORE batteries. I have 5 and if I exhaust one battery and stick it on the charger before I start flying with the second it will definitely recharge to 100% before I go through the other 4 batteries.

I tend to agree! I have just 3 batteries for now (the two that came with fly-more, plus an extra). I find if I plug each one into the 3-way charging bay just as soon as it's cooked, by the time I've exhaused the third, the first is nearly charged up. Probably need just one more battery for effectively continuous flying, with minimal downtime! But three seems enough for now - plus fits in the hard shell case!

Brian
2017-9-29
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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daveddo Posted at 2017-9-28 23:06
There’s no reason for me to keep the charger in the Fly More bag with me when I walk around. The batteries charge too slow for it to be used in the field. I keep a 120AC power inverter so I can charge it all in the car if I have to, but otherwise I’m charging all th stuff in the hotel room.

As I am still new to this, I am currently using the prop guards. But I agree, having a mains inverter (240V in my case) in the car is a godsend!

Brian
2017-9-29
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Alitaptap
Second Officer
Flight distance : 149334 ft
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United States
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My Sparkie travelled to Mexico with United with no issues.
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2017-9-29
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Charles Adams
Second Officer
Flight distance : 294528 ft
United States
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Alitaptap Posted at 2017-9-29 10:06
My Sparkie travelled to Mexico with United with no issues.

Your spark has big dreams!  I envision your spark looking out the window, saying to itself...  "Someday big brother, I'll fly like this too!"
2017-9-29
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 5817516 ft
Thailand
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My experience from the past 2 weeks, 7 airports, 4 of /em capitol Airports in Europe and Asia, lots of scanning:

Handluggage only, Spark in the Hardbox, 3 Batts with me  (one in Spark) , spare prob's, other stuff (RC, ...) in the Spark-Travelbag, plus phone, tab, powerbank,.....

NO check on the Spark or any other Spark related stuff at all.
(Not even on the subway X-Ray checks in Peking/Beijing, when I was the only passenger to check!)
The Powerbank I had to show on 5 of the 7 Airports, for hand/eye check of the capacity
In Beijing on the departure, they asked me to open the handluggage.
I was trying to get the hardbox out: "no, no, you have a umbrella? Please give me the umbrella"
That was it.

The batteries of the spark are not a safety issue in the X-rays I think!
The size may let it be seen as a indoor toy, maybe?

Aside: The registration in china is easy doing.
In case you have a chinese sim card and someone who can read an interpret the chinese form to you ;-)
I think I will post a topic with CAAC-link and how it worked for me, later.



2017-9-29
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SeanGillian
lvl.3
United States
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LAX to Cancun, TSA walk thru with breeze, 3 batteries with drone and RC
2017-9-29
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Biowizard
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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SeanGillian Posted at 2017-9-29 20:27
LAX to Cancun, TSA walk thru with breeze, 3 batteries with drone and RC

Cool stuff! Guess I'm travelling with my Spark after all! :-)

Brian
2017-9-30
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Grubko00
lvl.1

Poland
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First of all i would not recommend to take the drone on plane, as you never know how it will be handled. I saw many fargile items that came out of the plane in pieces.. It would be safer if you will shipp it. It doesn't have to cost a lot, you can reduce the costs of such a shipping to necessary minimum by finding a transport provider using https://clicktrans.com/ . You can list your drone for free, and wait till you gather enough quotes from various transport providers to choose the quote that suits you
2018-3-12
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The Bash's
Second Officer

United States
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I am about to fly down to Florida from Michigan and I just assumed I would pack my Spark in my carry on.  I never thought of shipping it down there and just picking it up.
2018-3-13
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Rustic17
Captain
Flight distance : 1223301 ft
United States
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The Bash's Posted at 2018-3-13 21:18
I am about to fly down to Florida from Michigan and I just assumed I would pack my Spark in my carry on.  I never thought of shipping it down there and just picking it up.

I would recommend you take it with you.  Spark in carry-on or checked...batteries in carry-on.
2018-3-13
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Rustic17
Captain
Flight distance : 1223301 ft
United States
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BTW, this thread started in Sept of 2017 was just added to yesterday for the first time since Sept.  You might want to start a new thread.
2018-3-13
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Md Azhari
lvl.1

Singapore
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I use active track and control my spark from the window
2018-9-11
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ViPatrik
lvl.4
Sweden
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For example on the hungarian airport you can´t check in your drone in your handbag. It has to travel in your in-checked bag. But not your batteries! You have to take your batteries with you on the board.
2018-9-11
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