Scanners on Planes

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rkillins

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Has anyone any experience, or advice, in respect to listening to a scanner aboard a US Airlines domestic flight? I tried to find some policy at their website, but came up empty. I am trying to avoid checking my bag. It's small enough for carry on, but it will have my scanner in it. Even if I can't, or don't discretely monitor it while in flight (if anything to hear anyway), could it be considered suspicious enough that I may get a hassle?
 

w8jjr

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Wont be a problem for carry on. May get wiped or searched by TSA but it wont be a problem.
You problem may come if you listen to it on plane.

I traveled a million mile over the last 30 years and always with a radio, never been refused boarding
with it.
 

SkipSanders

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Since it's illegal to use a scanner on a commercial aircraft, yes, you will get a hassle if caught.

It can only be legal if the airline specifically allows it. No, the Pilot does not have the right to allow it, unless the airline has specifically delegated that right to the Pilot.

Contact your ticket agent to see what the Airline's policy is. Some used to allow scanners, at least at altitude, but these policys change.

Next post for FAA info
 
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SkipSanders

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Relevant FAA info:

Subject: USE OF PORTABLE ELECTRONIC Date: 10/02/00 AC No: 91.21-1A
DEVICES ABOARD AIRCRAFT Initiated by: AFS-330 Change:
_______________________________________
1. PURPOSE. This advisory circular (AC) provides aircraft operators with information and guidance for
assistance in compliance to Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, section 91.21.

Section 91.21 was established because of the potential for portable electronic devices (PED) to interfere with
aircraft communications and navigation equipment. It prohibits the operation of PED’s aboard
U.S.-registered civil aircraft, operated by the holder of an air carrier operating certificate, an operating
certificate, or any other aircraft while operating under instrument flight rules (IFR). This rule permits use of
specified PED’s and other devices that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not interfere with the
safe operation of the aircraft in which it is operated. The recommendations contained herein are one means,
but not the only means, of complying with section 91.21 requirements, pertaining to the operation of PED’s.

2. CANCELLATION. AC 91.21-1, Use of Portable Electronic Devices Aboard Aircraft, dated
August 20, 1993, is canceled.

3. RELATED 14 CFR SECTIONS. Section 91.21, 121.306, 125.204, and 135.144.

4. BACKGROUND. Section 91.21 (formerly 91.19) was initially established in May 1961 to prohibit the
operation of portable frequency-modulated radio receivers aboard U.S. air carrier and U.S.-registered aircraft
when the very high frequency omnidirectional range was being used for navigation purposes. The Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) subsequently determined that other PED’s could be potentially hazardous to
aircraft communication and navigation equipment, if operated aboard aircraft. Amendment 91-35 amended
the scope of former section 91.19 to prohibit the use of additional PED’s aboard certain U.S. civil aircraft.
Earlier studies conducted by RTCA, Inc. (RTCA), Special Committee 156, Document No. RTCA/DO-199,
Volumes 1 and 2, entitled “Potential Interference to Aircraft Electronic Equipment from Devices Carried
Aboard,” have contributed greatly to an understanding of the operational effects of PED’s aboard aircraft.
(See paragraph 7b for obtaining copies.)

5. DISCUSSION. Section 91.21 allows for the operation of PED’s which the operator of the aircraft has
determined will not interfere with the navigation or communication system of that aircraft. The determination
of the effect of a particular device on the navigation and communication system of the aircraft on which it is to
be used or operated must, in case of an aircraft operated by the holder of an air carrier certificate or other
operating certificate, be made by that operator (i.e., certificate holder). In all other cases, a determination must
be made and it may be made by the operator and/or the pilot-in-command (PIC). In some cases, the
determination may be based on operational tests conducted by the operator without sophisticated testing
equipment. When safely at cruise altitude, the pilot could allow the devices to be operated. If interference is
experienced, the types of devices causing interference could be isolated, along with the applicable conditions
recorded. The device responsible for the interference should then be turned off. If all operators collect this
type of data with specific information, a large enough database could be generated to identify specific devices
causing interference. The operator may elect to obtain the services of a person or facility having the capability
of making the determination for the particular electronic device and aircraft concerned. The rule as adopted
was drafted to require the air carrier or commercial operator to determine whether a particular PED will cause
interference when operated aboard its aircraft. Personnel specifically designated by the air carrier or
commercial operator for this purpose may make this determination. For other aircraft, the language of the rule
expressly permits the determination to be made by the PIC or operators of the aircraft. Thus, in the case of
rental aircraft, the renter-pilot, lessee, or owner-operator could make the determination.

6. RECOMMENDED PROCEDURES FOR THE OPERATION OF PED’s ABOARD AIRCRAFT.
a. If an operator allows the use of PED’s aboard its aircraft, procedures should be established and spelled
out clearly to control their use during passenger-carrying operations. The procedures, when used in
conjunction with an operator’s program, should provide the following:
(1) Methods to inform passengers of permissible times, conditions, and limitations when various PED’s
may be used. This may be accomplished through the departure briefing, passenger information cards,
captain’s announcement, and other methods deemed appropriate by the operator. The limitations, as a
minimum, should state that use of all such devices (except certain inaccessible medical electronic devices,
such as pacemakers) are prohibited during any phase of operation when their use could interfere with the
communication or navigation equipment on board the aircraft or the ability of the flightcrew to give necessary
instructions in the event of an emergency.
(2) Procedures to terminate the operation of PED’s suspected of causing interference with aircraft systems.
(3) Procedures for reporting instances of suspected and confirmed interferences by a PED to the local FAA
Flight Standards District Office.
(4) ****pit to cabin coordination and ****pit flightcrew monitoring procedures.
(5) Procedures for determining acceptability of those portable electronic components to be operated aboard
its aircraft. The operator of the aircraft must make the determination of the effects of a particular PED on the
navigation and communication systems of the aircraft on which it is to be operated. The operation of a PED is
prohibited, unless the device is specifically listed in section 91.21(b) (1) through (4). But, even if the device is
specifically accepted from the general prohibition on the use of PED's, an operator may prohibit use of that
PED. The use of all other PED's is prohibited by regulation, unless pursuant to section 91.21(b)(5). The
operator determines that the operation of that device will not interfere with the communication or navigation
system of the aircraft on which it is to be operated.

(6) Prohibiting the operation of any PED’s during the takeoff and landing phases of flight. It must be
recognized that the potential for personal injury to passengers is a paramount consideration as well as the
possibility of missing important safety announcements during these important phases of flight. This is in
addition to lessening the possible interference that may arise during sterile ****pit operations (below 10,000
feet).
(7) Prohibiting the operation of any PED’s aboard aircraft, unless otherwise authorized, which are
classified as intentional radiators or transmitters. These devices include, but are not limited to:
(i) Citizens band radios.
(ii) Cellular telephones.
(iii) Remote control devices.
b. PED’s designed to transmit have consideration in addition to paragraph 6a. There are certain devices,
which by their nature and design, transmit intentionally. These include cellular telephones, citizens band
radios, remote control devices, etc. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) typically licenses these
devices as land mobile devices. The FCC currently prohibits the use and operation of cellular telephones
while airborne. Its primary concern is that a cellular telephone, while used airborne, would have a much
greater transmitting range than a land mobile unit. This could result in serious interference to transmissions at
other cell locations since the system uses the same frequency several times within a market. Since a cellular
mobile telephone unit is capable of operating on all assignable cellular frequencies, serious interference may
also occur to cellular systems in adjacent markets. The FAA supports this airborne restriction for reasons of
potential interference to critical aircraft systems. Currently, the FAA does not prohibit use of cellular
telephones in aircraft while on the ground if the operator has determined that they will not interfere with the
navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which they are to be used. An example might be their
use at the gate or during an extended wait on the ground, while awaiting a gate, when specifically authorized
by the captain. A cellular telephone will not be authorized for use while the aircraft is being taxied for
departure after leaving the gate. The unit will be turned off and properly stowed, otherwise it is possible that a
signal from a ground cell could activate it. Whatever procedures an operator elects to adopt should be clearly
spelled out in oral departure briefings and by written material provided to each passenger to avoid passenger
confusion.
c. Telephones, which have been permanently installed in the aircraft, are licensed as air-ground
radiotelephone service frequencies. In addition, they are installed and tested in accordance with the
appropriate certification and airworthiness standards. These devices are not considered PED’s provided they
have been installed and tested by an FAA-approved repair station or an air carrier’s-approved maintenance
organization and are licensed by the FCC as air-ground units.

(cont)
 

SkipSanders

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(continued)

7. MANUFACTURERS’ TEST CRITERIA FOR PED’s.
a. Operators should use manufacturers’ information, when provided, with each device that informs the
consumer of the conditions and limitations associated with its use aboard aircraft.
b. All portable electronic devices should be designed and tested in accordance with appropriate emission
control standards. Document Nos. RTCA/DO-160D, Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for
Airborne Equipment, and RTCA/DO-199, may constitute one acceptable method for meeting these
requirements. These documents may be purchased from: RTCA Secretariat, 1140 Connecticut Avenue, NW,
Suite 1020, Washington, DC 20036.
c. Medical-Portable Electronic Devices (M-PED), such as automated external defibrillators (AED),
airborne patient medical telemonitoring (APMT) equipment, etc., should be designed and tested in accordance
with Section 21, Category M, of RTCA document No. RTCA/DO-160D. M-PED’s that test within the
emission levels contained in this document, in all modes of operation (i.e., standby, monitor, and/or transient
operating conditions, as appropriate), may be used onboard the aircraft without any further testing by the
operator. Equipment tested and found to exceed the Section 21, Category M, emission levels are required to
be evaluated in the operator’s M-PED selected model aircraft for electromagnetic interference (EMI) and
radio frequency interference (RFI). All navigation, communication, engine, and flight control systems will be
operating in the selected aircraft. The ground EMI/RFI evaluation should be conducted with the M-PED
equipment operating, and at the various locations in the cabin where M-PED usage is expected (galley,
passenger aisles, etc.). If M-PED equipment can be operated at any location in the cabin, then the worst-case
locations (proximity to cable bundles, flight controls, electronic and electrical bays, antennas, etc.) should be
considered. Air carriers planning to equip their aircraft with M-PED’s will provide evidence to the principal
FAA inspector that the M-PED equipment meets the RTCA/DO-160D Section 21, Category M, emission
levels, or conducts the ground EMI/RFI evaluation described above. Operators will incorporate procedures
into their maintenance program to determine the M-PED’s serviceability based on the equipment
manufacturers’ recommendations, to include procedures for marking the date of the equipment’s last
inspection. Operators will establish operational procedures that require crewmembers to inform the PIC when
the M-PED is removed from its storage for use.
NOTE: For those M-PED’s using Lithium Sulfur Dioxide batteries (LiSO2) as a power source, the
batteries must be Technical Standard Order C-97 (TSO-C97) approved and labeled accordingly.
/s/
L. Nicholas Lacey
Director, Flight Standards Service

Erm, I see that this circular has been replaced (again) by version 1B, but no significant changes there

The actual FAA regulation, which bans PED's unless approved:

Sec. 91.21

Portable electronic devices.

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate, nor may any operator or pilot in command of an aircraft allow the operation of, any portable electronic device on any of the following U.S.-registered civil aircraft:
(1) Aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate; or
(2) Any other aircraft while it is operated under IFR.
(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to--
(1) Portable voice recorders;
(2) Hearing aids;
(3) Heart pacemakers;
(4) Electric shavers; or
(5) Any other portable electronic device that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used.
(c) In the case of an aircraft operated by a holder of an air carrier operating certificate or an operating certificate, the determination required by paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be made by that operator of the aircraft on which the particular device is to be used. In the case of other
aircraft, the determination may be made by the pilot in command or other operator of the aircraft.
 
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K4IHS

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I've never had a problem carrying my scanner radio in my checked bag thru security. Read the magazine in the seat back for approved electronic devices. Scanners are usually indicated as not allowed to be operated. Not that I've done it (grin)... you won't hear much except the comms from the plane you're on.
 

SkipSanders

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Oh, if you meant United Airlines, rather than 'US Airlines', here's their rules, which say no:

Electronic devices

Certain electronic devices may not be used on our planes for safety reasons. Such devices may cause electromagnetic interference with ****pit navigation or communications systems during ground operations and while the aircraft is flying below 10,000 feet. However, when an aircraft is traveling above 10,000 feet (normally about ten minutes after takeoff), passengers can use many of the devices listed.

Hearing aids, heart pacemakers, and watches are acceptable at all times.

These electronic devices can be used in the cabin, but may not be used during takeoff and landing:

Calculators
Handheld computer games
Shavers
Portable CD and tape players
Laptop computers/accessory printers/tape drives
Portable VCRs/video players

These electronic devices cannot be used on the airplane at any time:

Cellular phones (cellular phones maybe used on the plane at the gate before the aircraft door is closed or at captain's discretion when the plane is away from the gate and on the ground)
Televisions
AM/FM transmitters-receivers
Remote-controlled toys
 
D

DaveNF2G

Guest
It would be so helpful if people would search the forums before posting questions.

This entire topic has been covered and re-covered many times already.

You may carry any item aboard a US-flagged airliner that is not on TSA's prohibited list or excluded by airline policy.

You may use only those electronic devices that the airline permits, and only during the phases of flight (usually cruise only) when the airline allows them. Individual flight crews have no discretion when it comes to airline policy.
 

trumpetboy50

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Yeah, I've flown out of many airports with my scanner (base model) and most don't seem to even notice it. A few, mainly Phoenix Sky Harbor, cause a little bit of a hassle, they just pull it out and wipe it down, then rescan it. Other than that, you shouldn't have a problem.
 

FLRAILMAN

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Scanners on planes

If you travel extensively & must listen to civil aviation while flying (Like I do) join the Civil Air Patrol & sign up for communications officer training (Like I did) Once you receive your picture ID card, you're in, I have an Icom IC-A6 civil aviation transceiver though, my scanners are in my checked baggage & in all of my travels on various airlines, I've been challenged very few times, whenever I was, I just displayed my CAP picture ID card & was on my way. Sometimes I would actually forget to take my radio out of my back pocket & when I approached the check in gate, I would just put it on the conveyor belt with my ID card on top of it & TSA would give it a cursory glance & let me move on. I always had a window seat & never used an earpiece, I'd just keep the volume low enough so just I could hear it. I had a chat with a few TSA officers at various airports & just like anything else, the problem they & flight attendants have is with wannabes & posers who come into the various airline terminals with their handhelds blasting like they are airline employees or worse yet, FAA officials, the best advice given was to take the batteries out of your portable & put them in a separate part of your carry-on luggage or just buy batteries at the airport where it's obvious that they are sealed & there is no burden of proof on you to explain why you have them in connection with your radio. The flight attendants problem is you not using an earpiece with the radio blasting, again playing wannabe & poser which annoys the other passengers & the flight attendants know you're not real or you wouldn't be presenting a ticket, you'd be flashing tin. The same goes for cruise ships, I've brought more radio crap with me on ships & never, ever had a problem, why, because I put everything in my checked baggage & only listen to them when I'm in my cabin, when you leave your cabin on a cruise ship, you should be headed somewhere to have fun, not trying to go above deck trying to plug your radio into the ships AC system or stringing up antennas any which way, or worse yet, trying to bring it on shore in a foreign country, WHY? The only place where nothing I tried worked, was on the Casino ships, since I am a member of the USCG Auxiliary too, I attempted to board Sterling & Suncruise with my Uniden Mystic & security said absolutely no way is that radio getting on board their ship, no matter what unless you're real Coast Guard on duty & in Uniform performing an inspection or law enforcement in uniform responding to a reported situation initiated by security. End of story.

FLRAILMAN
 
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dd364

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Years ago I was listening to my mobile while waiting to take off and the stewardess yelled at me to put it away when I told her what it was.I didn't know at the time I couldn't have that but if I told her it was a FM radio she would haver never known the difference.This was years before 911 and I'm sure they are more educated now.
 

CrabbyMilton

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As long as you don't use it while on board the plane, you shouldn't have a problem. Last month, I flew two separate flights and the first time I put the scanner in my checked bag and for some reason, the thing was on( I turned it off when I packed) when I arrived home and.....the on/off volume knob was bent a little. I don't know if the TSA bent it or it got that way in the bag in transit. I never had that happen before so the next flight, I carried it on. No problem with TSA screening both leaving and returning.
 

rmiller818

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I have used mine inflight before but the reception is terrible. Don't expect to hear anything more than your aircraft, if that. If you really want to listen, fly United Airlines and listen to Ch.9.

Honestly, most of the stuff on the banned list will not interfere with the aircraft, heck, many airlines have wifi on their flights, something that is actually transmitting and receiving with other devices in the aircraft. If that doesn't mess with anything, a simple receiver, game boy, or PDA etc isn't going to be an issue either.
 

rkillins

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Thank you all.

Thank you for all that had the patience and took the time to share their experiences. It was unlikely that monitoring was an option, I was more concerned of the potential consequences associated with even bringing it into the cabin with carry on, even with no intention of listening.

My apologies for not searching first, but the searching feature (I have found from past attempts to use it) found to be very unreliable and awkward from my mobile device, not to mention the wasted bandwidth of browsing through every redundant topic that has "plane" and "scanner" in it.
 

mciupa

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My apologies for not searching first, but the searching feature (I have found from past attempts to use it) found to be very unreliable and awkward from my mobile device, not to mention the wasted bandwidth of browsing through every redundant topic that has "plane" and "scanner" in it.
Since "sticky's" have been archived, they don't "pop out" as they use to.:(

It is there at the top of the page, but you have to select it from the menu in the archived sticky post.
 

GrayJeep

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Honestly, most of the stuff on the banned list will not interfere with the aircraft, heck, many airlines have wifi on their flights, something that is actually transmitting and receiving with other devices in the aircraft. If that doesn't mess with anything, a simple receiver, game boy, or PDA etc isn't going to be an issue either.

While that might even be true, neither you nor I have the equipment to run the certification testing required to prove it.

There are aircrew reports filed where they saw full-scale deflection of the ILS needles and tracked the causes to various passenger devices. I'm sure the passengers who caused the problem at the time shrugged it off because no one died.

If you do run your gear, I hope you're caught and voted off the island.

Here's what's in NASA's safety reporting system : http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/docs/rpsts/ped.pdf
 
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rmiller818

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While that might even be true, neither you nor I have the equipment to run the certification testing required to prove it.

There are aircrew reports filed where they saw full-scale deflection of the ILS needles and tracked the causes to various passenger devices. I'm sure the passengers who caused the problem at the time shrugged it off because no one died.

If you do run your gear, I hope you're caught and voted off the island.

Here's what's in NASA's safety reporting system : http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov/docs/rpsts/ped.pdf
I realize that, but as I stated earlier you can use wifi on the plane now (above 10,000) that says something. Plus you shouldn't use electronic devices below 10,000, you wouldn't be using an ILS above 10,000 anyways, most likely the cause was from a cell phone that was left on and found a tower, heard plenty of those type situations, cell phones can cause some problems.

Either way, as I said before the reception sucks, not even worth bothering trying to listen while on the plane.
 
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