air traffic

thomasbillman1

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can you hear air traffic on a scanner while you are in flight by just searching the air band?
 

MILCOMM

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can you hear air traffic on a scanner while you are in flight by just searching the air band?
I take it you are referring to a scheduled airline so my response would be not to use a scanner at all.
The rf emitted from your scanner can interfere with the onboard navigation receivers.
As a pilot flying my own plane, I can tell you air comms are challenging a lot of the time.
I can't even have a cell phone turned on because it will interfere with my radios.
Except for other aircraft, the only comms you will hear are from an airport or an en route center and
they are space extremely far apart. The power used in air band transmitters is low so unless you are
very close to an airport or en route centers antenna, you are not going to receive anything.
 
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racingfan360

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A modern airliner acts as a pretty good Faraday cage: so in my experience you'll hear that aircraft's transmissions only. 20 years ago and pre cell phones, you'd find reception from sat inside an aircraft to be quite different, i recall it provided an excellent platform for receiving signals from many miles away.
 

spanky15805

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I thought it was Federally illegal to have a device capable of receiving scheduled commercial flights while onboard a scheduled commercial flight. Couldn't tell you were I read that...
 

whirled-traveller

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I thought it was Federally illegal to have a device capable of receiving scheduled commercial flights while onboard a scheduled commercial flight. Couldn't tell you were I read that...
I remember approx 20 years ago when Delta, United, U.S. Air, Continental, and American in their on-board entertainment consoles had the pilot comms as a listening choice. Instead of music, news, etc. I would listen to that on the flights. I do not know the answer referring back to spanky15805's statement, but my speculation is probably "yes" and I would speculate that this came forth as part of the Patriot Act or some Homeland Security Initiative.

I remember that it was some time after 9-11-01 that pilot comms suddenly disappeared from the entertainment options.
 

PD47JD

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I thought it was Federally illegal to have a device capable of receiving scheduled commercial flights while onboard a scheduled commercial flight. Couldn't tell you were I read that...
No, it is not....but, as to transmitting it is not "illegal" per se, but will more likely than not constitute a violation of that airline's policies and result in your gear being stowed away by the flight attendant(s)/ captain until you are terra firma. To wit; I have had radios that were capable of transmitting, but used for monitoring causing a stir with that particular radio ultimately being locked in the cockpit until landing.
 

andy51edge

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There is nothing illegal about possessing a scanner or two-way radio on or near an airplane. It's just against airline policy to use it in flight. There is no easy way (to an untrained eye) to distinguish between a passive scanner that is harmless and a two-way radio that COULD be used to interfere with aircrafts radio.

If you're caught using a scanner by a flight attendant, you're not going to Patriot Act jail, you're just going to be told to turn it off...if they care at all.
 

MILCOMM

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There is nothing illegal about possessing a scanner or two-way radio on or near an airplane. It's just against airline policy to use it in flight. There is no easy way (to an untrained eye) to distinguish between a passive scanner that is harmless and a two-way radio that COULD be used to interfere with aircrafts radio.

If you're caught using a scanner by a flight attendant, you're not going to Patriot Act jail, you're just going to be told to turn it off...if they care at all.
There is nothing passive about a radio. ALL radios emit rf signals that can interfere with onboard aircraft systems
whether it's a transmitter or receiver. As a pilot and aircraft owner, I will not let anyone onboard my aircraft without
having them turn off their cell phone because it DOES interfere with my communications equipment. And yes,
a cell phone is a two way radio.
 

KevinC

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I’m not Kevin Custer
There is nothing passive about a radio. ALL radios emit rf signals that can interfere with onboard aircraft systems
whether it's a transmitter or receiver. As a pilot and aircraft owner, I will not let anyone onboard my aircraft without
having them turn off their cell phone because it DOES interfere with my communications equipment. And yes,
a cell phone is a two way radio.
I suggest you update your avionics. Anything anywhere near modern is immune to interference from a cell phone.
 

andy51edge

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There is nothing passive about a radio. ALL radios emit rf signals that can interfere with onboard aircraft systems
whether it's a transmitter or receiver. As a pilot and aircraft owner, I will not let anyone onboard my aircraft without
having them turn off their cell phone because it DOES interfere with my communications equipment. And yes,
a cell phone is a two way radio.
If we're that susceptible to RF interference, then airplanes would never ever fly.

Thankfully all modern airline aircraft have good RF shielding in their electronics. So if one guy who forgets to turn off their cell phone, it will not bring down the airplane. If one guy in the back happens to have a scanner running, it will not bring down the airplane.

Source, I am an airline pilot and I have never seen a case of RF interference for myself (ignoring radio altimeter issues caused by gunk on the antenna itself).
 

dlwtrunked

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I remember approx 20 years ago when Delta, United, U.S. Air, Continental, and American in their on-board entertainment consoles had the pilot comms as a listening choice. Instead of music, news, etc. I would listen to that on the flights. I do not know the answer referring back to spanky15805's statement, but my speculation is probably "yes" and I would speculate that this came forth as part of the Patriot Act or some Homeland Security Initiative.

I remember that it was some time after 9-11-01 that pilot comms suddenly disappeared from the entertainment options.
I have flown many times since 9-11 and often (more often than not) had their comms in the entertainment options.
 

dlwtrunked

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There is nothing passive about a radio. ALL radios emit rf signals that can interfere with onboard aircraft systems
whether it's a transmitter or receiver. As a pilot and aircraft owner, I will not let anyone onboard my aircraft without
having them turn off their cell phone because it DOES interfere with my communications equipment. And yes,
a cell phone is a two way radio.
Falts, a simple crystal detector radio does not emit any RF and their have been radios marketed for on aircraft makiing use of that fact.
 

chrismol1

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I was about to ask that very question. What type of avionics equipment would be interrupted by cell phones? Stuff made 30 or 40 years ago?
My brothers Piper is that old, more like 50yrs. With just a few new digital gauges and ipad of course. We fly with our cell phones on, sometimes I try to make it a game to see when the bars go in and out and connect to a cell site. Unfortunately typically as soon as we take off, get a few hundred feet above the trees, the bars drop that fast. That whole thing about cell towers not exactly positioned for inflight service LOL. But sometimes you can be a few thousands in the air and if near a mountain top cell site it will pickup a couple bars again. Its pretty cool. One specific area, you can be like 5,000 feet on the horizon it will pickup what I think is this mountain cell site quite a ways away just at the right spot on the horizon to connect and send a text LOL. Never heard or seen anything weird, no blips thru the headset ya know like when old phones thump tv speakers nor did the magnetos suddenly go haywire lol
 
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vagrant

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can you hear air traffic on a scanner while you are in flight by just searching the air band?
Yes, of the aircraft you are on. To possibly receive other aircraft, or any other type of signal, one would need to place the antenna at a window. Even then reception is not that great due to the metal body of the aircraft blocking signals from other directions. AM/FM broadcast radio to higher frequency GPS signals are greatly reduced based on my testing when flying over the Pacific, Atlantic and U.S.A. as a passenger. ( Holding an electronic device next to a window may freak people out, so keep that in mind )

An iPad, computer, cellular phone, gaming device and or whatever that uses WiFi, Bluetooth, or cellular can transmit significantly more RFI than a scanner will emit.

Some inflight entertainment systems may provide the ability to listen to your aircraft pilot, but you may not hear all of their side of the communication. A scanner, or receiver I had at the time provided much more information than what was conveyed by the pilots over the entertainment system.

I have used back of the headrest phones built into the aircraft to make calls while in flight. The aircraft did not plunge into the sea. I have used radios transmitting five watts in smaller single prop aircraft with zero problems while using them for APRS to voice communications…simultaneously. I once spoke with a buddy on 10 meters who was flying from northern to southern California. He was the pilot. I have spoken with various pilots on amateur radio assigned frequencies while they were flying various aircraft from private to commercial, but mostly private.
 
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sflmonitor

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There is nothing passive about a radio. ALL radios emit rf signals that can interfere with onboard aircraft systems
whether it's a transmitter or receiver. As a pilot and aircraft owner, I will not let anyone onboard my aircraft without
having them turn off their cell phone because it DOES interfere with my communications equipment. And yes,
a cell phone is a two way radio.
You may want to let the EU know
 

dave3825

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can you hear air traffic on a scanner while you are in flight by just searching the air band?
Simple answer, yes, you can hear other planes. Planes pass each other on common flight paths but because each plane is going in opposite directions at high speeds, your not going to follow any kind of conversation. You can however pick up stuff from the ground. I was hearing some fire dept activity when I flew over North Carolina a few years ago and that was with an antenna in the window. .


I thought it was Federally illegal to have a device capable of receiving scheduled commercial flights while onboard a scheduled commercial flight.
If that was the case then TSA would not allow scanners on the flight.
 

majoco

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IMHO it's not the airlines that want to prohibit the use of cellphones in flight, it's the cellphone service providers. The cellphone system works by 'polling' so your phone is only connected to one tower at a time in your immediate vicinity but if you call from altitude you could easily raise a connection to many more towers at the same raising a lot of confusion in the system.
 

immelmen

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If we're that susceptible to RF interference, then airplanes would never ever fly.

Thankfully all modern airline aircraft have good RF shielding in their electronics. So if one guy who forgets to turn off their cell phone, it will not bring down the airplane. If one guy in the back happens to have a scanner running, it will not bring down the airplane.

Source, I am an airline pilot and I have never seen a case of RF interference for myself (ignoring radio altimeter issues caused by gunk on the antenna itself).
I, also, have been flying for the airlines for nearly 20 years. I have most definitely had cell phones interfere with VHF comms, though it depends on the aircraft.

During my time at the regional, I had multiple occasions of heavy ticking/buzzing in my headset from phones...on one occasion I was holding short of the inboard runway at Newark and could not hear any ATC clearances to cross 22R because of everyone turning on their phones at the same time after landing on 22L. Have also had strong buzzing inside the marker on an ILS when someones phone who was left on started to affiliate with the system as we descended on the glide...if it was buzzing that loud in my ear it was likely also buzzing that loud on my ILS receiver...not cool when the weather is down to mins. This was all on Embrare aircraft.

Now, at mainline and flying the Beautiful Bus, I have never had a problem...YMMV
 
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