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WGA Member

Joined: 2005-05-11
Posts: 728
Location: Sparta, WI

PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:57 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Read this segment about cell phones and other electronic equipment ussage in airplanes.

A new study by scientists at the Carnegie Mellon University shows that interference cause by mobile phones may create more interference to aircraft navigation systems than previously thought.

If true, the findings -- which also reveal that many passengers are flouting current in flight cell phone bans -- could call into question airline plans to wire jets to accommodate mobile networks.

The Carnegie study, carried out with support from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, showed that phones and other portable electronic devices such as laptops or games consoles can interfere with critical aircraft electronics.

"We found that the risk posed by these portable devices is higher than previously believed," said aircraft electronics expert Bill Strauss.

"These devices can disrupt normal operation of key cockpit instruments, especially Global Positioning Systems receivers, which are increasingly vital for safe landings," he said.

I just find that if the avionics are that sensitive then are the planes really safe to begin with?

And when is the last time a plane went down due to someone’s laptop starting up?

I also would like to know how does a laptop in passenger section interfere with GPS signal. Ok I know if I held the laptop over the receiver it would but come on I worked on a ship full of computers, nuclear reactor, metal walls, degaussing equipment and the GPS system still worked.

I just have a hard time truly believing this. Part me thinks they went to the extreme of making a laptop that would emit a harmful signal.

Now not only will windows crash on your computer it will crash the plane.

[This message has been edited by pcfrog (edited 03-03-2006).]
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WGA Member

Joined: 2002-02-18
Posts: 3399
Location: West Allis, Wi

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 7:36 am Reply with quote Back to top

Last year when we were returning from a trip to Florida, the plane we were traveling in abruptly took a hard bank to the right. The passengers all gasped and we thought the pilot must have been trying to avoid some sort of mid air collision. A few seconds later, the plane suddenly pulled up, then took a hard dive to the left. Next thing we knew, the plane started taking a 180 degree turn and we were headed in other direction. I was waiting for a turbulance announcement, but nothing. Then I heard a stewardess yell out: "MA'AM, HANG UP YOUR CELL PHONE!!!!!!" The lady complied, and almost instantly, the plane leveled out and we returned to our normal course and made it home without further incident.

You would think this illustrates why you shouldn't use a phone in a plane, except I'm pulling your leg and made it all up :-)

On a serious note, many electronics do emit some degree of radio frequency when they are in use. I suppose they could interfere with the plane, but you would think they would have better RF protection on the planes by now. My Eagle Accunav GPS knocks out weak FM signals in my vehicle. If I'm listening to a distant radio station, it will disappear the instant I turned on the GPS. If I was having problems finding a station, turning off the GPS would make a world of difference. Even the GPS sends out RF that interferes with electronic devices.

"There are two kinds of hunting: ordinary hunting and grouse hunting."
-Aldo Leopold, A sand county Almanac

WGA Vice-President
Grousetales at wi-geocaching dot com

[This message has been edited by GrouseTales (edited 03-03-2006).]
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WGA Member

Joined: 2006-01-30
Posts: 5559
Location: Eau Claire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 4:56 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Interestingly, some hospitals also make a big deal of cell phone use, citing "interference with life saving equipment." St Joes in Marshfield for example wont allow cell phones anywhere in the hospital, lest a patient be killed by them.

On the other hand, other hospitals allow them, without any apparent adverse effects. It is amazing how once a myth gets started, it gets perpetuated as fact.


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WGA Member

Joined: 2004-09-25
Posts: 135
Location: Brookfield, WI

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 5:22 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Originally posted by zuma:
On the other hand, other hospitals allow them, without any apparent adverse effects. It is amazing how once a myth gets started, it gets perpetuated as fact.

Here's one of those myths and more info about cell phones in hospitals:


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WGA Member

Joined: 2006-01-14
Posts: 25
Location: Mosinee, Wi

PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:52 pm Reply with quote Back to top

For the cell phones on aircraft they are concidering allowing them in the future on certain flights but, do you really want to listen to 60 conversations on a red eye flight. I know I sure don't. When your flying even right now if you ask the flight attendent to ask the captain most of the time they will let you use your GPS. On commrecial flights Gps, and laptops don't affect the avionics. I would question where this artical came from. For the hospitals if they make a policy for no cell phone use across the board then it's just there for everyone and they don't have problems with Patients or visitors going out side of the cell phone allowed areas. It's also a conciderstion for the Patients who need there rest and for the nurses. IMHO
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