Can You Take RC Cars on a Plane?

Can You Take RC Cars on a Plane?

Can You Take RC Cars on a Plane?

By Joe Rich

Are you a passionate RC car enthusiast looking to take your passion on a plane? If you’ve ever wanted to bring your beloved remote controlled cars on vacation with you, or even just transport them in an aircraft, then this blog post is for you. Can You Take RC Cars on a Plane? Here we answer all of your burning questions about taking RC cars aboard planes and provide tips on how best to transport these miniature editions of our favourite vehicles safely across long distances. Read along to find out everything there is to know about taking RC cars from one destination to the next!

The do’s and don’ts of taking battery powered toys on planes

Fly with ease! Most Aviation Authorities worldwide agree that you can bring your RC car in your carry-on or checked baggage.

These agencies are:

  • TSA, The Transportation Security Association in the USA.
  • CAA, The Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom
  • DFT Department of Transport of the United Kingdom.
  • EASA European Aviation Safety Agency. This agency sets the rules for 32 member states.

Electronics in general, are permitted on board an aircraft; however, it is the accessories such as batteries that are regulated very closely by not only the TSA, but the European Council, The CAA, and other global aviation security associations.

All these organisations can differ on what can and cannot come through the security check.

Where remote controlled cars are concerned in general these are permitted in carry-on luggage, electronic items are searched and reviewed at all security checkpoints, and the general rule is to carefully pack all electronic items and wrap the cords for easy inspection by security staff.

RC car carry bags

Storage bags for RC cars are an essential accessory for any RC car enthusiast. These bags provide a convenient way to transport and store your RC car, as well as its accessories such as batteries, chargers, and tools. They come in various sizes and styles to fit different types of RC cars, from 1/8 off road vehicles to 1/10 buggies. With the help of these bags, you can keep your RC car safe and secure wherever and whenever you go.

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Types of batteries you can take on a plane

There is a difference in battery labels, and where most remote-control cars come equipped to carry batteries, understanding the difference between dry, wet and lithium batteries is important because different airlines and security agencies differ on what types of batteries are permitted.

One of the most common battery types is a lithium battery, which is capable of being charged before being placed in the battery cavity, and according to the TSA, lithium batteries with 100-watt hours or less, are permitted on a plane.

It is important to note that even though the TSA permits lithium batteries onboard aeroplanes, specific airlines may their own rules and prohibit lithium batteries from being taken on the plane, so it is important to check with each individual airline before arriving for a flight.

The next type of battery that is common with the use of a remote-control car would be labelled as a sealed wet battery and also dry batteries.

With dry batteries these are types of batteries that are commonly found around the house, batteries like AA, AAA, C and D sizes.

The TSA doesn’t prohibit the batteries from being carried on a plane, but it does limit how many batteries are permitted to no more than two spare batteries for the device and they cannot exceed 100 watts.

It is also important to note that power cords need to be monitored as well and the TSA requires any cord that comes with a lithium battery to be packed in a clear bag and placed in the carry-on bag so it can be reviewed easily by security staff.

However again it is important to understand that although remote control cars, batteries, and cords are permitted on airplanes, not all security agencies permit the lithium-ion batteries which can make carrying the remote-control cars accessories, difficult.

The European Commission has produced a list which is constantly being updated of materials not to be placed in hold baggage or carry-on luggage, and batteries which are considered wet cell or lithium ion, are not permitted on the plane. This creates conflicting interests when transporting the accessories used in remote control cars.

Can you take LiPo batteries on a plane?

I understand that flying with LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries for your RC car can seem complicated. However, with the right knowledge and preparation, it is possible to take them on board safely and in compliance with international regulations and airline guidelines. This quick guide will help.

1. Check International Regulations and Airline Guidelines

Before traveling, consult the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations, as well as the specific guidelines of the airline you plan to fly with. Since rules may vary between airlines, it’s essential to verify their policies regarding LiPo batteries.

2. Understand LiPo Battery Restrictions

LiPo batteries have capacity and voltage limits that must be adhered to when bringing them on a plane. The general rule is that LiPo batteries under 100 watt-hours (Wh) are allowed in carry-on luggage, but always check with your airline for their specific requirements. To calculate watt-hours, multiply the battery’s voltage (V) by its capacity in ampere-hours (Ah).

3. Carry-On Luggage Only

Due to potential fire hazards, LiPo batteries must be stored in carry-on baggage and not checked baggage. Ensure that the battery is easily accessible during security checks.

4. Protective Cases and Terminal Taping

Store your LiPo batteries in a protective case, such as a fire-resistant LiPo bag, to minimize the risk of damage. Additionally, tape the terminals of the batteries to prevent short circuits and accidental activation.

5. Required Documentation and Special Procedures

Some airlines may require specific documentation or special procedures to be followed when traveling with LiPo batteries. This may include filling out a hazardous materials form or notifying the airline in advance about the batteries. Check with your airline for their exact requirements.

6. Turn Off Your RC Car and Disconnect the Battery

Ensure that your RC car is turned off and the battery is disconnected during transport. This will prevent accidental activation and potential safety hazards.

7. Proper Battery Storage and Charging Procedures

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper storage and charging of your LiPo batteries. Avoid overcharging, puncturing, or exposing the batteries to extreme temperatures, as this can increase the risk of damage or fire hazards.

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8. Be Prepared for Security Checks

During security checks, you may be asked about your LiPo batteries and their purpose. Be prepared to explain that they are for your RC car and that you have followed all necessary precautions and guidelines.

We have a article all about RC car batteries click here to read.

Can you take a Gas powered RC Car on a Plane

As a travel expert, I understand that traveling with a gas-powered RC car can be challenging due to the numerous safety hazards and airline regulations. To help you navigate this process, let’s break down the key considerations when carrying a gas-powered RC car onboard an airplane.

1. Potential Safety Hazards

Gas-powered RC cars use internal combustion engines that run on fuel, which is considered a hazardous material. The fuel, typically nitromethane or gasoline, is highly flammable and poses a significant risk during air transportation.

2. Airline Policy, Rules, and Regulations

Most airlines strictly prohibit the transportation of hazardous materials, including fuels for gas-powered RC cars, in both carry-on and checked baggage. Check with your specific airline for their policies regarding gas-powered RC cars and any associated components.

3. Traveling with Fuel

As mentioned earlier, transporting fuel for gas-powered RC cars is generally not permitted on airplanes. To comply with airline regulations, it’s best to empty the fuel tank and clean the engine thoroughly before packing your RC car. Once you reach your destination, you can purchase the required fuel locally.

4. Size, Weight, and Number of Items Allowed

Each airline has its specific guidelines regarding the size, weight, and number of items allowed as checked or carry-on baggage. Be sure to consult your airline’s policy to ensure your gas-powered RC car and its components meet the requirements. Keep in mind that oversized, overweight, or additional items may incur extra charges.

5. Packing and Transporting Your Gas-Powered RC Car Securely and Safely

Before packing your gas-powered RC car, remove all batteries and disconnect any electronic components. Place the RC car in a sturdy, padded container or case to protect it from damage during transit. If possible, disassemble the car into smaller components to minimize the risk of breakage

Has the model car been modified

The next thing to consider is any modifications to the remote-control cars.

Collectors and enthusiasts might make modifications with things like CO2 cartridges, which can make a remote control car faster, are not permitted by the TSA on board an airplane.

Only empty gas cylinders are permitted on board an aircraft, and that is subjective to each airline and security agency and it must be apparent to the security agent that the cylinder is empty.

Compressed gas cylinders are not permitted on board an airplane either in the checked luggage or a carryon bag.

This rule applies for oxygen cylinders, which can be used in modifying a remote-control car for performance and speed, they are not allowed by security agencies on board a plane unless it is for medical use only.

Although drones aren’t strictly classified as remote-control cars, it is considered a remote-controlled vehicle, and per the TSA, the specific airline determines whether drones are permitted on board an airplane.

Tools and knives

The last part of a remote-controlled car to consider is the equipment that is needed to take care of the car such as tools.

Things like screwdrivers that are larger than 7 inches are not permitted on board an airplane as carryon luggage craft knives and any cutting tools will have to be placed in to check in hold luggage.

If you have nitro car the glow glow plugs and all the batteries to power them and the starting equipment will be ok but nitro fuel will not be permitted, for the obvious reason it is a combustible.

The mechanics and electronics for both electric and nitro powered cars are monitored and each airline and security agencies will have their own local rules. So it would be a good idea to always check with the airline you are traveling with as this will save you a lot of hassle and it is not unknown for any items considered prohibited to be confiscated.

Airlines want to make sure all passengers and aircraft have a safe and pleasant flights and when travelling with your remote-control cars you should be store them safely in your luggage and the cords and accessories packed carefully in the baggage for safe transportation and travel.

With the rules constantly changing and each airline and aviation authority having local rules it is always advisable to check with your airline what is allowed to be carried onboard.

Always be honest and give complete information when informing your airline what you will be travelling with.

If you are not honest and when the bag is scanned you are found to be carrying any prohibited items they will be confiscated and can possibly lead to a prosecution.

The best advice is if in doubt ask contact your airline tell them what you intend to be taking with you and make sure these items are cleared to fly.

Then you will be able to relax and have a stress free trip.

Points of reference

TSA Transportation Security Association

CAA Civil Aviation Authority

DFT Department for Transport

EASA European Aviation Safety Agency

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