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Guide to traveling with a HEX.

RPR

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Case: Lots of confusion in regards to traveling, with a Hex on the plane (H, Plus, 520) that I came across on the web and on here, so I thought I'd share my most recent trips and adventure to help ease some worries and provide some facts from my first hand account. In the beginning of the year, I've traveled to Nashville (paid, so this does not count) twice to Hawaii and brought with me my TH Plus. There were two major things to consider, one being the size of the aircraft and the case it travels in, and two what to do with the lipos. I read a lot of mixed messages from people, so I decided to take the best ideas from everything I've read and figure out what I was comfortable with. (only discus Yuneec craft on this thread)

Container: The craft and the case it comes in is officially too big for carry on. This is a fact. I've seen some guy on YouTube, who modified a suitecase and read on other forum during my research that he was allowed to take it on as carry on, however I would caution everyone that he was merely lucky. It may very well happen that they let you take it on as carry on but that would depend on the airline and how nice the people working are that day. After doing more digging into the subject, I was also concerned about whether the case it comes in would survive the harsh conditions of going through as check luggage at the airport, thus I have to resort to traveling with a hard case pelican, but unfortunately, I only have the pelican 1730 that I travel, with multiple drones, but since my travels to Hawaii is personal, I have to pay for the excess luggage. I turned to common sense for this problem. What most people don't realize is that our HEX comes shipped in its case from the factory and arrives to the dealers in the case that it comes in. The cardboard box around the case when it's shipped from the factory, but that is just to protect the case from cosmetic damage in flight and not to protect the aircraft. Other has shipped their HEX for repairs in the same shelled backpack and box for repairs, so I got the thinking, given that our Hex had already traveled so much by air in the stock case, I felt pretty certain that nothing would happen to my aircraft if I just checked it with the rest of my luggage the same way that it originally shipped to me. Side note, I decided to carry the batteries separately, and reshielded the case around the RC (because I have a 4Hawks antenna) I have briefly shared my thoughts on my other post. 2 tripes to Hawaii, and I'm happy to report that the case and the aircraft survived the flight on separate occasions, with absolutely no damage to either the craft, the case, but I did get little note each time from TSA that they had inspected the inside of the box, and each time, TSA sealed it back together nicely. This option might not me the most handsome way to travel and looking like a pro, but HEY! there are somethings that's all show and no go.

Battery: The regulations reads "The quantity permitted is based on watt-hours (Wh). Wh establishes the lithium content by multiplying voltage with the ampere-hours (Ah). For example, 14.40V x 5Ah battery = 72Wh. this was the official regulation" So, many things to remember. The simplest is, you should always travel with the batteries at 3.7v per cell or about 50% I brought 4 packs with me. The batteries themselves can be a bit alarming to some due to their size, but just as long as you are following the regulations there's no need to worry, but it is just PITA because the battery looks like a TNT. I also learned to never let TSA test the voltage of the battery using their own voltmeter, because during my first encounter with TSA traveling with a YUNTYHP101 5250mAh 4S/15.2V Lithium Polymer Battery, the officer handling the batteries for inspection was not very confident in handling a voltmeter, and my dedicated voltmeter designed for Yuneec batteries was in my HEX backpack, so bring a specified Yuneec battery voltmeter to make things easier. I got mine on eBay. And very importantly, well in my case, I'm used to putting my batteries in Lipo case bag, as well, as taping all the ports, when I travel.


Conclusion: I did pay $20 for checking-in my HEX.. And again, it made the trip to Hawaii twice, unscratched.

Check the regs and policy of the airline that you are traveling with.
Fragile stickers, a most.
Batteries are carry-on (Tape the ports, and put them in a Lipo bag that's an A+ )
Do not pull out your part 107 card, don't be that guy, because your part 107 don't mean Jack!
After arriving to your destination. Do not forget to re-calibrate.


Have a safe flight, and fly it like you stole it..
 

NorWiscPilot

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...
What most people don't realize is that our HEX comes shipped in its case from the factory and arrives to the dealers in the case that it comes in. The cardboard box around the case when it's shipped from the factory, but that is just to protect the case from cosmetic damage in flight and not to protect the aircraft.
...

Good article, RPR. Very informative.

I just have one rebuttal I will present here... Yes, the products ship from the factory, and in the same boxes or cases you describe, but... one big [suspected] difference: the items are handled by the pallet or shipping container, rather than loaded individually into the belly of an airliner by baggage handlers.

The point: Ensure the contents of anything being checked as baggage is protected by a case that can take a beating. As those placards in baggage claim state: "...suitcases are meant to protect the contents. Some wear and tear should be expected."

My plan, should the opportunity arise, is to box my case(s), and ship via my favorite package delivery carrier, rather than as checked baggage. Depends on the duration of said trip, who is on the receiving end, and how the cost breakdown compares. As always, mileage may vary.

Jeff
 
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RPR

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Good article, RPR. Very informative.

I just have one rebuttal I will present here... Yes, the products ship from the factory, and in the same boxes or cases you describe, but... one big [suspected] difference: the items are handled by the pallet or shipping container, rather than loaded individually into the belly of an airliner by baggage handlers.

The point: Ensure the contents of anything being checked as baggage is protected by a case that can take a beating. As those placards in baggage claim state: "...suitcases are meant to protect the contents. Some wear and tear should be expected."

My plan, should the opportunity arise, is to box my case(s), and ship via my favorite package delivery carrier, rather than as checked baggage. Depends on the duration of said trip, who is on the receiving end, and how the cost breakdown compares. As always, mileage may vary.

Jeff

Point taken, however, I purchased mine through Amazon, and others who shipped their containers same as it was received. So, I put my theory to the test, twice and twice it prevailed, and by declaring the item as fragile, gives a bit of hope and wishing for luck, thankfully it was on my side.

Boxing for door to door shipment is a great alternative, with insurance for a peace of mind.
 
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RPR

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On my recent Nashville trip, I flew Delta, my pelican was at 80lbs and it cost me $237+ change to check-in. Coming back, I was not in a hurry, so I shipped 7!days door to door shipping, and it cost me less(er) and I arrived sooner than I expected.

My next getaway will be in Baltimore for work and The Virgin Island for some R&R and I plan to ship the drone this time around.
 

PatR

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I’ve done a lot of traveling with large, bulky, expensive, and sensitive items and a few consistencies have been observed. If it has to travel with you it will be expensive. If it can be shipped ahead as freight it will be cheaper. Never use locks as TSA will usually cut them off.

If an article in a case can move around inside the case it’s subject to damage. The closer the fit and the more solid the case the better off it will be.

TSA almost never puts things back in a case after an inspection with the care they first were put into the case. They will end up disorganized and paced haphazardly in the case unless the items only fit in specific compartments.

There are no free rides for baggage any more. You’re going to pay extra.

European carriers have smaller overhead bins than American carriers. With either, if you plan on taking equipment, clothes, laptops, and other items there’s no way you can get your two allowed carry on’s to fit in the overhead. Something will have to go in the hold or be shipped.

For anything that goes into the hold, the more critical it is for a successful trip the greater the odds it will be lost or transported in a different aircraft arriving sooner or days after you do. If it absolutely, positively has to be there when you get there and you can’t hand carry it, ship it. There’s nothing quite like the feeling you have after flying in to an Indian Ocean port to meet up with a DDG that will be in port for only three days to find your one off specialty tools were lost and arrive a day before the ship departs.

If you want to know how badly shipped articles or baggage is treated, buy some impact load stick ons. They are like accelerometers that trip at various G loads. If you do you’ll find those ancient Samsonite luggage gorilla commercials massively understated the conditions your baggage will experience.

Military carriers are worse than commercial carriers in all aspects.

Murphy’s Law will always prevail. If there’s any one piece of equipment that can fail and scrub the trip, it will. If you don’t have two your rolling the dice.
 
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Phaedrus

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I generally ship my stuff. I'll gladly pay a little extra for knowing TSA mooks aren't going to get a chance to maul my stuff or for the airline to "misplace" it.
 
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RPR

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I don’t think, there’s a way to relocate stuff within the slotted container.

The way airlines handle luggages are the worst, my experience with the TH Plus proved otherwise.
 

Phaedrus

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A few years ago I travelled to a RC glider contest back east. I shipped my stuff. A buddy of mine on the same flight checked his. When we arrived he opened the sport tube the glider were in an found both fuselages broken, the rudders crushed and the servos literally torn out of the wings, which ruined the carbon fiber wings. TSA shrugged their shoulders. $4,000 worth of equipment destroyed. He filed a claim, they denied it, and that was that.
 

DoomMeister

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A few years ago I travelled to a RC glider contest back east. I shipped my stuff. A buddy of mine on the same flight checked his. When we arrived he opened the sport tube the glider were in an found both fuselages broken, the rudders crushed and the servos literally torn out of the wings, which ruined the carbon fiber wings. TSA shrugged their shoulders. $4,000 worth of equipment destroyed. He filed a claim, they denied it, and that was that.

That is utter B/S that they could get away with something like that. I would be head hunting some TSA agents after that.

I guess the best thing is not to fly if you can avoid it, unless all you need to transport is yourself.
 

Phaedrus

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I have several more similar TSA inspection destruction stories. I will not fly with anything that needs to be checked. I've flown with transmitters and flight batteries in carry on with no issues. Everything else gets shipped.
 
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I have several more similar TSA inspection destruction stories. I will not fly with anything that needs to be checked. I've flown with transmitters and flight batteries in carry on with no issues. Everything else gets shipped.
Terrestrial Imaging has a nice hard case on their website.
 
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DoomMeister

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Terrestrial Imaging has a nice hard case on their website.

The point was that the tube for the gliders was opened for TSA inspection and they destroyed the contents during their “search/inspection” then told the guy tough cookies. There is just no excuse for that kind of irresponsible action and someone should have lost their job over such a thing as well as paying restitution to the owner of the gliders.
 
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The point was that the tube for the gliders was opened for TSA inspection and they destroyed the contents during their “search/inspection” then told the guy tough cookies. There is just no excuse for that kind of irresponsible action and someone should have lost their job over such a thing as well as paying restitution to the owner of the gliders.
Right. My post was in response to RPR. I should have commented at the beginning of the conversation.
 

Phaedrus

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The point was that the tube for the gliders was opened for TSA inspection and they destroyed the contents during their “search/inspection” then told the guy tough cookies. There is just no excuse for that kind of irresponsible action and someone should have lost their job over such a thing as well as paying restitution to the owner of the gliders.

Exactly. They crushed the tail and fuselage stuffing them back into the shipping tube. They pulled the wings out and literally tore the servos, which were glued into the wings, out along with the top skin of the singes. Total carnage.

Another recent incident for a friend was he flew to Denver. Everything was undamaged, but the wing joiners and stabilizer halve were gone. These are not parts you can run to Home Depot for.

TSA are poorly trained idiots who could not care less about your things.
 
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PatR

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TSA are poorly trained idiots who could not care less about your things.

They don’t need to be as they are fully aware they are exempt from liability and civil lawsuits.

One of my more amusing encounters had me pulled aside for a more in depth inspection because my boots and carry on back pack triggered an “explosives residue” alarm. It was for a connecting flight after spending 6 months in Iraq.

When asked why my possessions would have explosives residue I informed him that had he ever been outside a civilian airport and spent some time in a war zone his stuff might have it too. He got a little pi$$y until he checked my passport, orders, and saw my GS classification was a 15. His was a 5.
 
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