back to article Lithium ion batteries banned from passenger aircraft holds

The International Civil Aviation Organization has declared that as of 1 April, lithium ion batteries cannot be carried in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft, pending development of "a new fire-resistant packaging standard". Back in October, the US's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it would back such a ban, while …

  1. Gideon 1

    As usual, journos don't check the story before publishing. The rules for air shipping Lithium batteries are a lot more complex than just 'banned'.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      It appears to be a ban on passenger jets carrying them as commercial cargo, not passengers carrying them in their luggage.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Lessons in History

        "It appears to be a ban on passenger jets carrying them as commercial cargo, not passengers carrying them in their luggage."

        As it should be. You guys are not taking this seriously enough. The story quotes:

        "However, an unnamed "dangerous goods expert" told Reuters the lithium ion ban would be unlikely to improve passenger safety, due to "deliberate mislabeling by shippers".

        For those who do not study forensic aviation, this is what happens when potentially dangerous, intentionally mislabeled materials ends up in passenger aircraft cargo holds:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ValuJet_Flight_592

        Horrifically ugly.

        Never again. The FAA is one of the worst when it comes to breaking out of

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tombstone_mentality

        , so any seemingly proactive stance from the FAA is actually due to past history of horrible, ugly deaths. Say a nice "Thank you" to the FAA for actually doing their job for once, and trying to stop looking to stir up trouble when and where you think you can.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Steve Aubrey

    "as of 1 April, lithium ion batteries cannot be carried"

    Shirley they are just fooling us?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.

      1. Haku

        Cigarette?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          >Cigarette?

          It's a small cylinder of finely cut tobacco leaves rolled in thin paper for smoking, but that's not important right now.

          1. Chris Evans

            Is that a quote? Sounds like from the film Airplane but google doesn't confirm.

        2. Mpeler
          Coat

          Cigarette?

          No, Tiparillo...

  3. Haku

    I've bought many small to medium sized lithium batteries over the internet and can't think of any of them that have been mislabeled, except the ones that are included in something (phone,quadcopter etc.) haven't been labeled as having a lithium battery in the package. Apparently putting "Toy" on the customs declaration form covers everything :)

    The one time I ordered 28x 18650 sized li-ion batteries to re-cell an ebike battery the seller had to post them in 5 separate packages due to specific regulations regarding amount of energy per parcel, and plaster them with big warning labels about not opening if damaged. This was within the UK.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge
      Joke

      Perhaps

      ..they should have just shipped them via an eBike. Clearly they are safer when put into one of those than when in a cardboard box.

      To make them even safer, we should coat the batteries in the material that black boxes are made of -they withstand everything ...

      1. LaeMing
        Go

        Re: Perhaps

        I thought that was wrapping them in the material plush toys are made of because nomatter how bad the crash, there will always be a slightly singed but otherwise undamaged children's plush toy in the wreckage.

  4. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    as of 1 April

    What, Li-ion batteries are safe for the next 37 days, but then become dangerous?

    1. Adam 1

      Re: as of 1 April

      Yes. Please take care.

  5. JeffyPoooh
    Pint

    Bad assumption on some of the proposed solutions...

    The nickel-studded mentioned in the item is a solution (like many) that is based on an assumption that the short circuit is outside the cell.

    But some of the more-famous failures (cough Sony cough) have been caused by metal particles causing shorts through the insulating film INSIDE the battery.

    There's next to nothing that can be done about such internal short circuits, except to invent some new-fangled self-limiting or self-extinguishing action within the cell materials.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Bad assumption on some of the proposed solutions...

      "There's next to nothing that can be done about such internal short circuits, except to invent some new-fangled self-limiting or self-extinguishing action within the cell materials."

      How about a powerful disruptive charge to blow out the fire? After all it works on oil rig fires.

      Seriously though, perhaps a coating inside the casing that will in the event of a short and overheating that ruptures the casing, will react to produce a rapid self hardening foam sealant to rob the lithium of oxygen .

      1. JeffyPoooh
        Pint

        Re: Bad assumption on some of the proposed solutions...

        "...rob the lithium of oxygen ."

        A typical 18650 Li-ion cell (super common in laptops) might be something like 3.7 volts and 2000 mA-hour. So it contains within it (when charged) about 7 watt-hours of energy, roughly. If it internally shorts out, due to contamination, damage or random what-not, and that energy is all discharged in, say, one minute of excitement due to an internal short circuit, then that's roughly 400 watts of power, over one-half horsepower, being liberated in that minute. It could be in a hard vacuum, and it would still be very exciting. It wouldn't last a minute. It would vent and/or explode. Might trigger off the neighbouring cells too.

        Random factoid: Lithium primary (non-rechargeable) cells as used in some avionics (INUs, ELTs, etc.) are now often LiMnO2, and they're usually certified very safe. Plus or minus the occasional smoldering ELT in a 787 parked at Heathrow.

        Ref https://www.gov.uk/aaib-reports/aircraft-accident-report-2-2015-boeing-b787-8-et-aop-12-july-2013

  6. eswan
    Flame

    Lithium ion batteries banned from passenger aircraft holds

    Does this mean the 787 is grounded again?

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Lithium ion batteries banned from passenger aircraft holds

      I see what you did there

    2. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: Lithium ion batteries banned from passenger aircraft holds

      You'd be surprised to know that metal fireproof box where Boeing put these batteries is now a standard part designed to contain fire and as such any fire of battery in this box is not considered an incident and does not have to be reported. Only Boeing knows how many batteries caught fire inside that box but rumors are quite a few.

      1. Remy Redert

        Re: Lithium ion batteries banned from passenger aircraft holds

        If those boxes will withstand the worst case failure of those batteries and the plane can fly on without them, then the risk of a battery fire goes from "May down aircraft" to "Occasionally have to replace burnt out battery".

        You can of course take the same approach wrt to shipping lithium batteries. Put them in a container that will safely withstand a worst case failure and the worst thing that can happen is after removing the container from the aircraft, its contents burst into flame when the container is opened.

        Of course the reason Boeing didn't do that in the first place is because such containers are heavy and the same applies to the reason this isn't being done when shipping batteries

  7. NeonTeepee
    Joke

    No liquid, no batteries, no Nazi gold ingots illegally smuggled through Switzerland (Ok I made that one up). Whats next your luggage can have one sock, 1/4 of a pair of trousers and a light brown loafer only on a Wednesday, if and only if you hop on the other foot for the whole flight?

    N.B Yes I know they arent banning batteries - never let the facts get in the way of a good story (or article)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. KABOOM

    Is it just me, or does this have a lot to do with E-cigarettes taking away a lot of the business of Mar*bo*ro, Be*s*n & H*dg*s, etc? Sounds like someone did some lobbying.

    In fact Li-Ion aren't that dangerous if they are made correctly, tried intentionally inducing a failure in a fully charged used 1+ year old 2700mAh s******g 18650 a while back and even under 100% SOC it took five minutes of external heating (with a cooker element) to finally make it vent with flame.

    This is heating it to 140C, which accurately simulates a neighboring cell shorting either internally or externally at full charge, and I had to actually light the venting electrolyte to make it ignite.

    At 40% it would not vent, for that matter the cell just internally shorted and got to something like 92C according to infrared thermometer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Re. KABOOM

      Where do you think the refined nicotine in the vaping e-liquids comes from?

      The tobacco companies do very, very nicely from this (as it isn't taxed to fuck by the nanny statist health Nazis) and would very much like it to continue, according to a mate who works for BAT.....

    2. not.known@this.address Silver badge

      Re: Re. KABOOM

      "Is it just me, or does this have a lot to do with E-cigarettes taking away a lot of the business of Mar*bo*ro, Be*s*n & H*dg*s, etc? Sounds like someone did some lobbying."

      I suspect it has rather more to do with multi-million dollar assets smoking on assorted runways, taxiways and hardstandings around the world's airports than lobbying by tobacco companies.

      Regardless of you being able to replicate it or not, these things can and do burn. This new regulation is intended to reduce the chances of it happening while an airframe full of self-loading cargo is out of reach of emergency support, not to protect the pockets of cigarette manufacturers.

    3. rdhood

      Re: Re. KABOOM

      "Is it just me, or does this have a lot to do with E-cigarettes taking away a lot of the business of Mar*bo*ro, Be*s*n & H*dg*s, etc? Sounds like someone did some lobbying.

      In fact Li-Ion aren't that dangerous if they are made correctly, "

      It's just you. First, there are different kinds of lithium batteries. Go to youtube and look up

      "lipo battery fire" or "lithium battery fire" . What you will see is a LOT of energy being released from some reasonably small batteries. Do you really want this happening in the hold of an airplane in which you are flying? I happen to use various lipos in radio controlled vehicles, and the recommendation is to keep them in a metal box during transport in your auto AND home. One serious crash and you dispose of them even if they look okay. Lithium batteries used in electronics is a lot safer, but they still catch fire with (sometimes) disastrous results. Example, google: "electric car burns down home"

      There is ample evidence that the danger is real, and not merely lobbying scare tactics.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    US Airways / American have prohibited them from carriage in the hold for a couple of years now (thereabouts) if memory serves. I don't use any other carrier but I don't think US Scare would have been alone in this.

  10. AK565

    Got referred here by another article So am late to the party. But wouldn't any enforcement of any policy depend on the battery in question being labelled properly and any enforcement officials being able to read said labelling? Am I the only seeing a problem here?

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