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Do you think electronic devices really interfere with aircraft navigation systems, as cabin attendants suggest when they request passengers to turn off their devices prior to takeoff and landing?

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No I don't, because if they did interfere in any way they would probably be completely banned.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

What makes you (JT) think that your readers are qualified to answer that question?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Well, I guess something must have "changed" - since they don't even mention it these days (I know because I just came back from Europe).

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What makes you (JT) think that your readers are qualified to answer that question?

Because at least some readers are aware of the fact the cell phone frequencies are totally different from aircraft naviation frequencies, and thus pose no threat, and that the real reason is that calls on planes are an issue is they may cause overburdened reception on towers on the ground.

Even so, this rule is usually an airline rule, not govt, triggering suspicions it's about charging passengers exorbitant fees to be able to make calls on board. There used to be pay phones on United by in the 90s, which strangely posed to safety issue.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

No I don't, because if they did interfere in any way they would probably be completely banned.

exactly

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It annoys me when they make you turn off your iphone even if it's on airplane mode. I like to read while the plane is taking off.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@Strangerland

Who're you flying with? I've only ever been asked to switch to (I won't use the ubiquitous Americanised term) aeroplane mode.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

When I recently traveled abroad I found it a little odd that the airline would allow Bluetooth to be used so long as the device was set to flight mode. This was right throughout the flight including takeoff and landing. Devices still had to be stowed during takeoff and landing though.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Who're you flying with? I've only ever been asked to switch to (I won't use the ubiquitous Americanised term) aeroplane mode.

I've been asked on multiple airlines. I used to try saying 'it's on airplane mode'. Now I just keep it in my pocket and listen to a podcast or music through the headphones.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I don't think they have a clue. Probably just to forestall litigation. It used to be the same in hospitals when the first crappy mobiles came out, and still is on the trains in Japan due to "pacemaker interference problems" isn't it?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Even if they do interfere, it's nothing major and does not affect airplane's performance & safety otherwise planes would crash and/or run into serious issues on a daily basis.

On business flights, reckon up to 5% (perhaps more) of passengers do not put their phone on flight mode when flying, perhaps even more on 1/1.30h-long (or shorter) domestic flights. Passengers turning on their phone 5-10min before landing is also very common and most flight attendants seem to not mind (or at least do not pay attention). Never heard a 'please do not turn on your phone before landing, thanks" message on any flights.

Would probably be a different story if all/most passengers were disregarding rules though.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What makes you (JT) think that your readers are qualified to answer that question? Because at least some readers are aware of the fact the cell phone frequencies are totally different from aircraft naviation frequencies, and thus pose no threat, and that the real reason is that calls on planes are an issue is they may cause overburdened reception on towers on the ground.

You just proved my point; first of all the article asks about "electronic devices" not just mobile 'phones. Almost all electronic devices emit RF and not necessarily at the frequencies they were designed to, harmonics can be radiated which can be well away from the design frequency and some aircraft systems MAY be susceptible to this. Now, most electronic devices are produced by responsible manufacturers and do not emit beyond prescribed limits but there are some which do not conform and these COULD pose a problem. Realistically it is highly unlikely that a device could cause a problem but there is a possibility, however small, and the airlines are covering all corners, or trying to.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

this is totally outdated. lately, airplanes have wifi and roaming telephone connection, and they encourage you, almost forcefully, to use it, because they make so much extra money with the ripoff prices.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Only a few airlines still do this for wifi or for turning the phone off completely - mainly in less developed countries like Philippines. However, using the cellular functions can confuse cell towers on the ground because of the rapid movement through cells while close to the ground.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I agree with most posters that the likelihood of danger is minimal - but as Harry said - the topic is electronic devices.

And in this imperfect world, no one could possibly guarantee 100% non-interference capabilities from all devices.

As an aside - for me the interesting point when flying (esp take off / landing time) is observing the users of such devices.

What on earth could be of such importance that one has to obssessively(in appearance) fiddle/play/set-up etc their virtual gadgets.

Like - give it a break - it's only a few moments. You know - smell the passengers as you travel through life.

But that's me I guess.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The reason is safety, to make sure passengers aren't distracted during takeoffs and landings, which is when most airline accidents occur.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

No. They simply want you to use their in-flight entertainment system so they can sell advertising space on it.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

One flight attendant said the real reason is that they want passengers paying attention to the announcements, safety instructions etc., instead of playing obliviously with their mobile devices.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

no way! i always use my electronic devices during take offs and landings. nothing happens. the staff tell me to stop so i out it away until they walk off then take it out again. other passengers give me dirty looks but i dont care. no one tells me what to do! but no, they dont affect the onboard systems.

-11 ( +1 / -12 )

Flight crew use iPads themselves for navigation, flight information, checklists, runway and landing information in the cockpit!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Wanderlust.

Do they use WIFI, etc? You don't know their settings.

Granted most likely a bit overkill but an illegally modded device can do some harm.

Who guarantees that the internals are 100% what it sez on the box?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's just for a few minutes, why can't some people just put a way their phone for a while. It's better safe than sorry, even if there's a remote possibility of the phone interfering with the airplane systems, you are risking ALL the passenger's safety for your few minutes of pleasure.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

To answer the question posed: It does not matter what I think, what would be relevant is what I know and I wouldn't know as I am not an aviation / electronics specialist. But like Freshmeat suggests, just turn off the toys for a few minutes as requested. Is that so hard?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The FAA does not ban cell phones, the FCC does in the US. A cell phone is not going to work above 10,000 feet, however, below that, substantially more cell phone towers are now trading signals with a single phone. Multiply that by hundreds of cell phones on each plane times hundreds of planes taking off and landing in a city and the entire cell phone network in that city is beyond capacity, affecting everyone, not just airplane passengers.

There have been two incidents where cell phones were suspected to have contributed to crashes, one in the US and the other in New Zealand.

Cell phones can cause interference heard on headsets in the cockpit. The cockpit is considered a "sterile" environment during take off and landing. That means no extraneous conversation and nothing that could be distracting to the crew is allowed. A few hundred cell phones ringing in the back would be a distraction.

I apologize for writing a serious answer. I trust it will be deleted.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

no way! i always use my electronic devices during take offs and landings. nothing happens. the staff tell me to stop so i out it away until they walk off then take it out again. other passengers give me dirty looks but i dont care. no one tells me what to do! but no, they dont affect the onboard systems.

Imagine that. Acting like an ignorant, selfish child produces dirty looks from others. I would never have guessed.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

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