Can You Take RC Cars on a Plane?
By Joe Rich
Can You Take Remote Control Cars on a Plane? If you cannot live without your RC car when you go on holiday or you are taking your car to a race meeting The short answer to this question is yes you can and with out to much trouble.
The only difficulty you may encounter is concerning the batteries fitted in the car.
In this article we shall look at ways to make your flight with your RC car as smooth as possible.
The do’s and don’ts of taking battery powered toys on planes
There is a general consensus between the relevant Aviation Authorities of most countries that taking a RC car on aircraft is permitted in both carry-on bags and in checked luggage.
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.
Types of batteries
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.
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. Both lengths of screwdrivers are allowed in checked bags, but tools are regulated across the globe and differ for each security agency.
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.
Who has been on a long flight and can instantly tell when a small child is bored and has nothing to do.
Bringing a toy remote-control car on board is not prohibited but can create a hazard if the child is not monitored when playing with a toy.
Most flight attendants and pilots will not permit a child to race the car up and down the aisle.
The aisles are there for the ease of passengers to move around the plane, and the flight attendants need the aisles cleared to move around and aid the passengers with their needs.
It is also essential to point out that remote-control cars are noisy and can be disruptive to other passengers this will lead to complaints being made to staff.
The cars are charged, and there are rules to having electronic devices turned on during takeoff and landing, and although most electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops can be switched to airplane mode, making them safe so they don’t disrupt the electronic and mechanical function of the aircraft, remote control cars are not equipped with that feature and could be disruptive to the aircraft putting the entire flight in serious danger.
And although it has been mentioned the aisle’s need to be clear for ease of access for the flight attendants and other passengers, children should remain in their seat during a flight.
A child who is sitting or walking up and down the airplane to play with a remote-control car is creating hazardous circumstances for others aboard the plane but could be unknowingly putting themselves in a hazardous circumstance.
The purpose of the airline is to have a safe trip for all passengers and aircraft 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.