by Olaf von Voss | 17th November 2016
There are rules everywhere and some of them are quite sensible, of course. At the same time, it’s getting harder and harder to look through all the different interpretations of these rules. I’m talking about traveling with cine batteries here, in particular how to transport them when flying. It can be a confusing topic, but Bebob is here to help with this online battery transport configurator. how to combine these two? The Bebob Battery Transport Configurator Bebob, a German camera battery manufacturer with a solid reputation, has put together a very handy set of online resources regarding traveling with cine batteries. By cargo or passenger plane, by rail or by sea freight, you name it, it’s all in there. All necessary documents are available for download so you can rest assured and stop worrying about these large capacity batteries in your bag. The most delicate thing to do is traveling with cine batteries by plane, of course. That’s why the configurator contains an extensive library of different airlines and their respective interpretation of the new official rules effective since April 1st, 2016 (read all about it here). Example Configurations Just to demonstrate how the regulations differ between airlines, let’s put the configurator to the test. Let’s say we have to travel by passenger plane (nobody wants to pay for cargo) and we have the following in our gear bag: a camera with a Bebob V155RM-CINE battery mounted to it 2 additional V155RM-CINE spare batteries Travelling with Lufthansa would result in the following: It’s not allowed. Due to the restrictions in place since April 1st, Lufthansa won’t let you transport these 155Wh batteries in the cabin – you will have to stick with sub 100Wh batteries or transport them by cargo. Emirates, on the other hand will let you take the exact same batteries with you in the cabin. different regulations for different airlines Confusing, isn’t it? Bebob puts it like this: This summary reflects our current knowledge. There may be up-to-the-minute changes to these variations. Hereto please ask the airline or its handling agent directly”. It’s very complicated as you can see, and I strongly advise you to call your airline prior to boarding the plane with such delicate pices of technology as modern Li-Ion batteries. Traveling with Cine Batteries This online resources database is filled with Bebob brand batteries only, of course. But since it’s all about the Wh (watt hours) of your batteries, you can pick the ones that fit your gear and you’re all set. And if you happen to travel by ship, this battery transport configurator provides you with all the necessary paperwork. Hopefully this can take some of the stress away when it comes to travelling with cine batteries. Thank you very much, Bebob! +++ UPDATE (Nov 21, 2016) +++ As you can see in the comments below, there are quite a few mistakes and inaccuracies buried within the cine battery transport configurator. Some airlines seem to have different policies than the ones mentioned in the Bebob database when handling these types of batteries. I’ve contacted Bebob directly in this matter and I’ve got a swift response from Pierre Boudard, founder and CEO of Bebob trading GmbH. He told me that the database (which was launched in early September) is indeed a bit confusing in its current state, and therefore the team is working hard on an improved version 2.0, which is scheduled to go live by the end of this year. Some of the terms in the current version are a bit confusing, too. You could get the idea that four batteries are allowed as carry-on luggage (One on the camera + three spare ones), for example. Most airlines won’t allow that. One battery clicked on the camera plus two spare batteries are allowed, though, as long as they are rated below 160Wh. Surprisingly, some of the policies mentioned by our reader Michael Wolf, such as the obligation of having a written approval, are actually mentioned by Bebob in their official documentation of the battery in question, the A150 (see their PDF, last page). Mr. Boudard feels bad about this and he has promised that he’ll take care of these flaws. I’ll update this article as to new developments, so stay tuned. If anyone has some well-founded insights, please feel free to contact Bebob directly (email@example.com) and point to this article as a reference. That way, everybody stays in the loop and we can build a reliable source of knowledge when it comes to travelling with these kind of batteries. source: Bebob websiteRead more
by Olaf von Voss | 30th March 2016
LiPo batteries (Lithium Polymer) are delicate. In fact, they can be downright dangerous when handled incorrectly, as they can combust when they’re overcharged, short-circuited, and sometimes even if you just look at them a little funny. This makes them a nightmare when it comes to shipping via aircraft. That’s why the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has just announced updated regulations with regards to shipping LiPo batteries. Checked Baggage vs. Hand Luggage For stunning aerial shots, a helicopter is no longer a necessity. It is now possible (simple even!) to achieve stunning aerial shots with a drone. It also tends to be a whole lot cheaper. So, there are a lot of advantages to shooting with drones—unfortunately, the commonly used LiPo batteries are not included in that list. Next time you’re planning on packing your drone, along with loads of spare LiPo batteries, and jetting off to a beautiful Caribbean beach for a commercial shot, think twice; you may just end up stuck at the airport! The IATA have had several rules and regulations in place for a while when it comes to sending Lithium batteries skywards (including Li-Ion and LiPo batteries): Spare batteries up to 100 Wh (watt hours): hand luggage only, max weight of allowed hand luggage Spare batteries from 100 Wh up to 160Wh (max): hand luggage only, max 2 batteries per passenger Those regulations apply only to personal use. But what is personal use? Well, that’s up to the airline. Whatever their decision, though, transporting each battery in a sealed plastic bag (or dedicated fireproof bag, for LiPo batteries) and having the exposed terminals covered with duct tape is mandatory. Both, Li-Ion and LiPo batteries are prohibited in checked baggage and are not allowed to exceed 160Wh. Lithium metal batteries are not allowed at all. These require special precautionary measures. New Regulations, Increasing Prices of LiPo Batteries The new regulations will become effective by April 1st, 2016 and look to tighten the current rules quite significantly—across a much broader spectrum: All international shipments of lithium batteries are prohibited as cargo on passenger aircraft. This doesn’t apply to batteries in, or as part of, items of equipment. It applies to individual batteries. In other words, it will affect the way that you order spare batteries from your chosen retailer. From here on in, it is prohibited to send these batteries without following a strict procedure (which involves a lot of labelling, and a lot tighter control on how the batteries are packaged). Different labels and a dedicated LiPo fireproof bag Currently, a lot of retailers just pack a battery in a sleeve and ship it. Those parcels will then be handled like any other, being transported by a passenger plane headed towards the desired destination. The new regulations will put an end to this, and it’s reasonable to conclude that the cost of Lithium batteries will increase as a result. After all, shipping by cargo aircraft isn’t cheap—and there’ll be a lot more to the process, too. For reference, check out these UPS international lithium battery regulations. In my mind, these new regulations bring a positive change. These batteries can be fairly dangerous, and knowing that there are no potentially explosive goods below my feet while I am a few thousand feet over the Atlantic Ocean will put my mind at ease! On the other hand, these regulations will cause a slight headache when preparing to shoot abroad; I guess that, as filmmakers, we’ll just have to be prepared so we don’t end up delayed! Do remember that individual airlines have their own rules. Some follow the IATA regulations to the letter while others handle things their own way (ie. more strictly). It is always a good idea to call your airline before your departure, rather than rushing to the airport unprepared and five minutes late… again. Related links: IATA 2016 regulation PDFRead more
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