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Mode Aviation
Reference No. AR201500072
Date reported 14 August 2015
Concern title Dangerous goods carried inadvertently by flight crews
Concern summary

The concern related to flight crews carrying spare lithium batteries in their flight bags without realising they were dangerous goods.

Industry / Operation affected Aviation: Air transport
Concern subject type Aviation: Flight crew

Reporter's concern

The reporter expressed a safety concern related to the carriage of spare lithium battery packs by flight crew while on flight duty. The packs are usually carried in flight bags on the flight deck.

The reporter advised that many of the lithium battery packs are large capacity with some up to 185 Watt-hour.

The dangerous goods advice on the CASA website is that high powered lithium batteries (more than 160Wh) are not permitted on the aircraft. 

The reporter advised that many pilots are not aware of the dangerous goods legislation relating to lithium battery packs.

Operator's response (Operator 1)

We currently provide our pilot groups with an Electronic Flight Bag for use within flight operations on all [type] aircraft.

We provide our pilots with an iPad device utilising only its internal battery. We do not provide our pilots with external batteries for their company issued iPad.

All pilots are trained in Dangerous Goods and Acceptance training every 2 years, they are also provided access to the operator specific Dangerous Goods Manual for their reference to determine what acceptable limits to the carriage of lithium batteries are. We provide regular guidance to our pilot group on dangerous goods issues and as such will provide further guidance in the acceptable limits of lithium battery packs that are able to be carried by crew.

This guidance will be issued by our flight operations area to crew to remind them of their obligations in complying with dangerous goods legislation.

Regulator's response (Regulator 1)

CASA has reviewed the REPCON and is satisfied with the operator’s response.

ATSB comment

REPCON followed up with the operator to ensure that the guidance for flight crews had been provided as advised. The operator advised that it had and that the operations department were asking crews to submit their spare batteries to be reviewed and approved for use.

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Last update 20 November 2015