Cellphones Pose Greater Risk to Airplanes Than Previously Th

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Tech Sergeant
Apr 6, 2005
Cellphones Pose Greater Risk to Airplanes Than Previously Thought

A study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) has found that cell phones and other portable electronic devices, like laptops and game-playing devices, can pose dangers to the normal operation of critical electronics on airplanes. The study will be featured in an article appearing in the March issue of IEEE Spectrum. The researchers found that on average one to four cell phone calls are typically made from every commercial flight in the northeast United States. Some of these calls are made during critical flight stages such as climb-out, or on final approach. This could cause accidents, the investigators report.

"We found that the risk posed by these portable devices is higher than previously believed," said Bill Strauss, who recently completed his Ph.D. in EPP at Carnegie Mellon. "These devices can disrupt normal operation of key cockpit instruments, especially Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, which are increasingly vital for safe landings." Strauss is an expert in aircraft electromagnetic compatibility at the Naval Air Warfare Center in Patuxent River, Md.

With support from the Federal Aviation Administration, three major airlines and the Transportation Security Agency, EPP researchers crisscrossed the northeast United States on commercial flights, monitoring radio emissions from passenger use of cell phones and other electronic devices. They tracked these radio emissions via a broadband antenna attached to a compact portable spectrum analyzer that fit into an innocuous carry-on bag.

"A laptop computer controlled the system and logged the data," said Granger Morgan, head of the EPP Department. "While we looked primarily at wireless phones, we also discovered that emissions from other portable electronic devices were problematic."

Both Strauss and Morgan, along with Carnegie Mellon researchers Jay Apt and Dan Stancil, recommend that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the FAA begin to coordinate electronic emission standards. At the moment, there is no formal coordination between the two federal agencies. The researchers also recommend routine monitoring of on-board radio emissions by flight data recorders and deploying specially designed tools for flight crews to monitor passenger use of electronic devices during final approach.

While the FCC recently suggested that it might be appropriate to allow passengers to use cell phones and other electronic devices on airplanes, Morgan disagrees.

"We feel that passenger use of portable electronic devices on aircraft should continue to be limited for the safety of all concerned," Morgan said.

I saw that yesterday - it's a bunch of crap - I've had my cell phone on on some small aircraft I've flown just to see if it will effect anything -

I've even shot an ILS approach with one on it it had no effect on the glide slope, DME, Marker lights, gps or NDB which was all on at the time.

As one comedian said, "The only way a cell phone could cause an airliner to crash is if a passenger had the opportunity beat the pilot and co-pilot over the head with one." ;)
Yea, I agree Joe....

U would think that after all this time since cellphones first started becoming mainstream, all of about 12 years or so, there has had to be 100,000 cell calls made from airliners, and not a single air safety problem has been found from the usage....

Bunch of hooey....
Yep. Another article that seems to be lean on real facts. Most manufacturers are aware of what things are in what part of the spectrum and plan accordingly. Otherwise just having a cellphone on near an airport could be a problem.
Hear Hear FBJ.
I'm no avionics kid but I think it's total bollocks, the sort of energy and spurious frequencies released by a piddling little cell phone is next to zero we have equipment where I work that has warning signs on not to use a cell phone within three feet and that's bollocks as well. The only time I have had any trouble with the processors/electronics we use was from a 23,000 volt discharge 20ft from the kit. That made it cough a bit.
to say a cell phone will interfer with an aircraft's systems is bloody stupid. If that's the case what happens every time someone uses an over head light or the shit house the frequency output from an arc drawn from a light switch is vastly higher than a yuppie phone and contains a wider frequency range. Also from what I have seen nearly all flight crews on airliners carry a mobile to contact their company dispatch and they are sitting on the flight deck amongst all the control instrumentation.whether on the ground or in flight no one in the flight deck would be allowed near a mobile if there was the slightest risk.
10 million quids worth of plane and technology fucked up by some knob phoning Aunt Mabel to tell her their just about to have the in-flight Corn-beef hash half a dehydrated peach. I don't think so
trackend said:
10 million quids worth of plane and technology f*cked up by some knob phoning Aunt Mabel to tell her their just about to have the in-flight Corn-beef hash half a dehydrated peach. I don't think so

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
well heres one guy who pranged with his cell NTSB Identification: NYC06LA073
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, February 23, 2006 in Weyers Cave, VA
Aircraft: Cessna 182D, registration: N9178X
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On February 23, 2006, about 2315 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182D, N9178X, was destroyed after it impacted power lines while maneuvering near Weyers Cave, Virginia. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed Eagle's Nest Airport (W13), Waynesboro, Virginia. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was partly owned by the pilot, and based at W13.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot was flying above Interstate 81, and communicating via a cell phone, to a friend driving a tractor trailer northbound on Interstate 81. The driver of the tractor trailer was also a part owner of the accident airplane. The pilot was maneuvering in the vicinity of the tractor trailer when the airplane struck power lines, and subsequently impacted the ground. The airplane came to rest in a ditch on the east side of the northbound lane of interstate 81, and was destroyed during an ensuing post crash fire.

Examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector, and a representative from the Cessna Aircraft Company, did not reveal any pre-impact malfunctions.

The pilot reported 4,000 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA first class medical certificate, which was issued on August 31, 2005.

The weather reported at an airport that was located about 2 miles southeast of the accident site, about the time of the accident, included, scattered clouds at 9,500 feet, and winds from 260 degrees at 10 knots, with 19 knot gusts.

Index for Feb2006 | Index of months
Well you have the pilot who can't fly and talk on the phone at the same time! :rolleyes:

Now he he had his "Hands Free" head set on it would of been a different story! 8)
I've always had doubts about aircrew being able to multi task and some times I think hands free would probably answer some questions on some of the landings I've witnessed :p
pbfoot said:
I've always had doubts about aircrew being able to multi task and some times I think hands free would probably answer some questions on some of the landings I've witnessed :p
Yep! Autopilot/ Autothrottle - the answer to every bad pilot! ;)
Isn't this the same thing that makes you spontaneously combust if you talk on the cell phone and refuel your car at the same time? :hothot:
Mobile Phones can become quite dangerous on planes, when the pilot drops his in the control column. Like some loon did flying out of Doncaster ... guh !

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