The real reason Cell Phone use is banned on Aircraft

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N_Jay

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Poorly researched article.

Author mixes issues and draws wrong conclusions.

At least they did not fall back to the old conspiracy theory that it is to make you use the (now defunct) Air-Phones.
 

cquirk

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So no cellphone you buy from Verizon etc have ever been type accepted for aircraft use. If someone wanted to get one type accpeted then the problem would go away.

If folks think the 100 MW or less signal is the one causing interference on a aircraft they need to think some more. Laptops put out more RF than this.

So you can design air plane cell phone that is legal and compliant but they would cost more than 29.95
 

Command30

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One of biggest issues is audible interference observed on airband frequencies by flight crews.

There are a few other unexplained oddities that pop up between PED use/aircraft issues, but to my knowledge, are typically inconclusive.
 
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N_Jay

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So no cellphone you buy from Verizon etc have ever been type accepted for aircraft use. If someone wanted to get one type accpeted then the problem would go away.
No, because the cellular licensee's (the carrier's) license does not allow aeronautical mobile use.

Of course we are a little off topic.

There are two, almost completely independent restrictions, the FAA and teh FCC.

The FAA allows the airline to decide what personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) they will allow to be operated above 10,000 feet,and does not allow PEDs below 10,000 feet.

The FCC does not allow cellular transmitters to be used from an aircraft due to the high potential for interfering with networks designed for only ground based units.

If folks think the 100 MW or less signal is the one causing interference on a aircraft they need to think some more. Laptops put out more RF than this.
Some do and some don't.
Cellular can be yup to 600 mW, and as Intentional Radiators (Transmitters), are controlled differently than unintentional radiators. (like computers)

Remember, A lot of the navigation equipment on an aircraft are AM receivers listening for quite distant signals.

People miss this point when they rant on about :"Why don't they just make the planes better".

So you can design air plane cell phone that is legal and compliant but they would cost more than 29.95
Again, not the issue.
 
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I have spent all of my career working in radio communications, about a 15 year chunk directly involved in the engineering and system design for some of the largest cellular carriers, including 2 years building the first commercial GSM system in service in Germany.

Having said that, a lot of people take a simplistic approach to this issue; sure a single user or two can probably use their cell phones on a commercial carrier without a problem. The possibility of harmful interference created by intermod products will increase expotentally given the different cell bands, channels within a band, different forms of modulation, etc.

When I fly I don't want to even consider the consiquencies of 20 or more simulatanious cell phones transmitting together, thousands if not millions of IM products can be generated, the possibility of some sort of interference rises substantually.
 

cquirk

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For all of you that think that the phones are shut off below 10 K feet, you may not travel as much as I do.

I believe the request for the flight crew is somehwere between completley and totally ignored here in the USA. This also goes along with the put on your seat belt, stay in your seat, turn off your computer, game boy, MP3, Ipod, Itouch, pager, Droid, FM radio for landing. Do not put your laptop note book in the back seat pocket I could go on but any of us that fly frequently see this. How the flight crews put up with all this is beyond me.

Interesting reading, fact is a (cell) portable phone does exist for air, perhaps I should clarify a very nice duplex radio that looks like a phone that talks to ground stations and hands off between them does exist and has been in use for quite a long time.

Yes I know it does use equipment on the aircraft. I am quite sure that other posters know more about how they got certified and legal for use but they are out there and as you might guess they are not inexpensive

So if they wanted to and yes they do, they will be installing localized cell network in aircraft in the future just a question of time. They will appear in the mid east and most likley Sing air first. US carriers will follow very slowly
 

CLynch7

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FAA regs prohibit any portable electronic devise from being operated when on an IFR flight plan, unless Ok'ed by the pilot in command. The reasons for requiring tray tables and seatbacks stowed is in case of emergency to facilitate speedier and safer evacuation of the aircraft, and if you're too consumed with whatever device you're using at the time of the incident, those extra seconds could be the difference between life and death.

As for cell phones in flight, a call would be received by multiple towers at once, and the FCC and the providers don't like that, it would tie up too many resources. It is common however, for pilots and crews to use cell phones below 10,000 ft. In my years of flying privately, I don't know anyone who has gotten in trouble for talking and flying, some pilot catalogs sell cell phone adapters which wire into the aircraft intercom for easier phone use. (I think the practice is very dangerous, even in VFR flying, because the pilot is distracted)
 

JoeyC

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FAA regs prohibit any portable electronic devise from being operated when on an IFR flight plan, unless Ok'ed by the pilot in command.
In the case of commercial airlines, no, the pilot cannot alter airline policy. Private or corporate flights, yes.
 

Uplink

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Mythbusters did an episode on this, they found "even though the airplanes appear to be well-shielded against cellphone interference, there are so many different electronics in a ****pit, as well as so many different cellphones constantly coming out, the FAA doesn't want to do the necessary testing."
 

exkalibur

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I think it's a case of "better safe than sorry". Back in the day when your cellphone put out 3 Watts of analog RF, there was a real concern. These days with CDMA/TDMA/GSM/whatever, the likeyhood of your (max) 600mW screwing with something is pretty remote.

However, it's a LOT easier for them to say "no", rather than take the (remote) chance. Imagine if they let you do it, and god forbid, something were to happen. The public outcry would be huge.
 
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DaveNF2G

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A Nextel handset can be orders of magnitude more powerful than a cellphone, yet most people (including policymakers) consider them to be more elaborate cellphones rather than a whole different type of radio.

Imagine the griping if the FAA decided to allow 600mW cellphones, but not Nextels that appear to the average user to be the same thing.

In any event, as has been well discussed already in this and other threads, the real problem with airborne cellphones as far as the FCC is concerned is massive interference with the cellular networks.
 

immelmen

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One of biggest issues is audible interference observed on airband frequencies by flight crews.
BINGO! This is actually the only issue a cell phone creates with regard to operation of the aircraft, and it can be serious...I have have over eager people in the back turn on their phones during short final and the buzzing caused when the phone is registering with the network can completely blank out ATC comms...Apple I phones are the worst.

For all of you that think that the phones are shut off below 10 K feet, you may not travel as much as I do.

I believe the request for the flight crew is somehwere between completley and totally ignored here in the USA....How the flight crews put up with all this is beyond me.
Easy! the flight crew could not care less what happens in the back as long as it does not affect the safety of flight or our working environment in the ****pit. If stupid people want to put themselves at risk by not properly stowing computers and tray tables, why should we care? The flightdeck has removable windows so I wont have to climb over some moron's tray to get out of a burning jet....Now, if the stews get upset because of noncomplying passengers and we have to listen to her wine and moan to us up front, then we just have the police meet Mr. Laptop at the gate and they can deal with it....how the cabin crews tolerate everyone back there is beyond me.

It is common however, for pilots and crews to use cell phones below 10,000 ft.
Not so much. Im not sure about all the service providers, but of the three that I have used over the years none of them have worked over 10,000ft. I often forget to turn my phone off till the after takeoff checklist and it has usually already lost the signal by then.


(I think the practice is very dangerous, even in VFR flying, because the pilot is distracted)
Come on now, this comment is a bit silly. Multi-tasking is the name of the game in a commercial aircraft...Hell, most jumpseaters are more distracting then the average phone call would be since you cant hang up on them when its time for the approach.

In the case of commercial airlines, no, the pilot cannot alter airline policy. Private or corporate flights, yes.
Try again...the company sets the policy and it is at the captains discretion to alter the policy. I can promises you, the captain is the final authority to the safe operation of the aircraft.

Mythbusters did an episode on this, they found "even though the airplanes appear to be well-shielded against cellphone interference, there are so many different electronics in a ****pit, as well as so many different cellphones constantly coming out, the FAA doesn't want to do the necessary testing."
The muthbusters episode was crap. They did not do any testing with comm radios which is where the problematic interference is, they focused on radio aids to navigation. With the exception of the ILS, commercial aircraft do not use radio nav anymore. They are flown using FMC/IRS that use laser ring gyros...navigation is unaffected by RF.
 

rcvmo

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Try again...the company sets the policy and it is at the captains discretion to alter the policy. I can promises you, the captain is the final authority to the safe operation of the aircraft.


Rule of thumb............be nice, professional and ask the cap'n nicely. Don't cry like a baby and argue with them if they tell you no. Their plane, not yours. I did it and had lots of fun at 39,000 feet. Use headphones. Even had a Mil. Ofcr. in the seat next to me entertained.
rcvmo
 
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DaveNF2G

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The captain is the final authority to the extent that he may prohibit actions that are permissible under airline policy if such activity threatens flight safety in his opinion. The FARs do not allow the captain to override prohibitions in airline policy and allow things on his/her flight that the airline does not.

A company would be very interested in knowing that a captain was ignoring their policies in the air.

As for the statement about multitasking being "the name of the game" - evidently a Northwest crew recently had some trouble with that. It was all over the news. There are limits to what even well-trained humans can handle simultaneously.
 

SkipSanders

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No, the PIC of an airliner may NOT ignore the rules. He can break them, if he doesn't mind losing his job and pilot's license, but he does not have the authority to violate FAA regulations.

§ 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.
 

rmiller818

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As for cell phones in flight, a call would be received by multiple towers at once, and the FCC and the providers don't like that, it would tie up too many resources. It is common however, for pilots and crews to use cell phones below 10,000 ft. In my years of flying privately, I don't know anyone who has gotten in trouble for talking and flying, some pilot catalogs sell cell phone adapters which wire into the aircraft intercom for easier phone use. (I think the practice is very dangerous, even in VFR flying, because the pilot is distracted)
An explanation I have heard for the cell phone hook up is to make it easier for you to call a FSS and pick up your clearance while waiting ready at the end.
 

JoeyC

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Try again...the company sets the policy and it is at the captains discretion to alter the policy. I can promises you, the captain is the final authority to the safe operation of the aircraft.
As the employee at my workplace, I have to follow the companies policies. Sure I can ignore some policies and "do it my way" but when the **** hits the fan and something goes wrong, I am WRONG in that thinking.

Just because you are the captain on that flight doesn't give you authority to break the rules of the airline. YOU are wrong if you break company policy. You are employed by the airline, you DON'T own the plane and the AIRLINE will ultimately be responsible for paying out the lawsuits, not you. So you can "alter" all the policies you like as the PIC (just as I do in my line of work) but you will lose (just as I will) in the end, where it matters.
 
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immelmen

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No, the PIC of an airliner may NOT ignore the rules. He can break them, if he doesn't mind losing his job and pilot's license, but he does not have the authority to violate FAA regulations.
You people crack me up...especially the ones who drone on quoting Part 91 FARs and talk from a position of authority on the matter because you spend a lot of time at the airport or have a few hours flying general aviation.

Is anyone flight crew for a part 121 carrier? Does anyone out there have a copy of a Part 121 air carriers operations specifications? (which supersede FARs once approved by the FAA administrator?) If you did, in them you would find spelled out in bold plain print: The final authority for safe operation of the aircraft rests with the pilot in command. This is what is knows as "captains authority" and it DOES give the captain the ability to do what ever is necessary in his opinion to safely complete the flight including breaking company policy and federal aviation regulations.

Now, depending on what rules and regs are overstepped, you may have to have a meeting with management to justify yourself,(such as the crew that made an emergency landing at a US Air Force base) but your not losing your job.

as far as the legality of cell phones being used after the door is closed, case in point: I have, on countless occasions, used my cellphone to call maintenance control, the dispatcher and the chief pilots office while on active taxiways to discuss various safety of flight issues that required those offices attention....I used my authority to overstep that rule because in my opinion it was necessary for the safe operation of the flight...Nobody cares....Nobody came running out to the jet to take my pilots license and the Chief pilot didn't fire me when I told him I was in the hold blocks. The fact that I am in the left seat means the company has confidence in my judgment to not make that call during the takeoff role...get a grip people
 
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