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skyhigh777
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Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:59 am

About a month ago I was on a flight from Port Elizabeth, South Africa to Johannesburg. About midflight during the meal service, the pilot got on the PA and said quite sternly, "Ladies and gentlemen we are having some interference with our instruments that seems to result from someone having their cellphone on. Our flight attendants have announced that no cell phones can be used during the flight because of the possibility of interference with our flight instruments. We tell you these things for a reason. If you have your cell phones on or in use, we ask that you turn them off immediately for everyone's safety. Thank you." The flight attendant was serving me a drink and even said, "that seemed a bit harsh".

I always understood the "no cell phone" policy to be a myth and that it doesn't really interfere with anything. Obviously I always turn mine off just in case, but I did not ever imagine that a cell phone could cause that much interference. The most shocking part though, was the way the pilot informed us of the problem. I had never had any negative experiences with South African Airways, but the pilot could have definately been less condescending.
 
YEGer
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:21 am

I recall a recent research article, where I can't remember--I will dig it up, that shows that cell phones do indeed interfear with some critical flight systems. As a computer engineer, I have no doubt this is true--not myth. Cell phones are designed to operate at a specific radio frequency, which together with its overflow and underflow, can and do interfear with any sensitive electrical system--many of which exist in modern aircraft. As flight systems become more and more digital, this becomes less of an issue due to the fact that minor interference in a system does not change its preceived values. But some airplane systems will take decades to move completely digitial--especially those systems involving sensors--which a large proprtion of them are.

Shut off those cell phones!
 
1011
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:34 am

My former flight instructor is a pilot for American Eagle. She had a problem on one flight. They were getting radio interference. Some one was using a cell phone inflight and was sitting right around where the radio antenna would be located on a ATR 72. She actually had to go back to tell them to turn it off. The person refused. She then said you can turn it off or they will divert and he would be taken off the aircraft. This was about 6 yrs ago when Eagle was still using ATRs out of DFW.(not sure if they do now). This was the only time she has had problems. It probably didn't help this person was sitting around the radio antenna and not many people use cell phones in flight since you aren't allowed to.
 
HikesWithEyes
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:41 am

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
I had never had any negative experiences with South African Airways, but the pilot could have definately been less condescending.

Why should he have been less condescending when someone apparently
was breaking the rules, especially when there was a potential safety of
flight issue?

Would you still feel this way if the crew hadn't said anything and your
flight ended up crashing?
First, benzene in my Perrier, and now this!
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:46 am

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
I always understood the "no cell phone" policy to be a myth and that it doesn't really interfere with anything. Obviously I always turn mine off just in case, but I did not ever imagine that a cell phone could cause that much interference. The most shocking part though, was the way the pilot informed us of the problem. I had never had any negative experiences with South African Airways, but the pilot could have definately been less condescending.

If your PFD went haywire while flying an ILS approach down to minimums just because a know-it-all screw-it-all passenger in the back wanted to keep his cell phone on to send dirty text messages to his mistress, you'd be a little peeved as well.

Cell phones (especially the GSM variety) cause all sorts of unsavory problems in aircraft. I don't think that was harsh at all; however, you must remember that you submit yourself to the Captain and all the flight crew/cabin staff when you step on board an airplane. Whether you like it or not, and regardless of the level of the diplomacy displayed by them, they are your boss for the duration of the flight. You do what they tell you to do.
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
 
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:11 pm

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
the pilot could have definately been less condescending.

Had he been less stern, it's likely the offending party wouldn't have paid any attention. Besides, when you're navigating a pressurized metal tube blasting through the sky at over 500MPH you tend to be a bit defensive about anything that might put you, your crew or the passengers at risk.
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
SPREE34
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:27 pm

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
I always understood the "no cell phone" policy to be a myth and that it doesn't really interfere with anything

Please provide us your technical study supporting your understanding of this matter.
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
jetblueatjfk
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:33 pm

Well I've turned my phone on for under 5 seconds like once or twice and I never have service in the air so their is no point to keep it on. Maybe when you are coming in for landing or going out for takeoff and you are still low down they could work but there is no point, 90% of the flight you probably don't have service so just keep them off!

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PlanenutzTB
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:44 pm

I can see both sides of this issue. I know my cell phone (Blackberry) causes a lot of interference with my PC and auto radio when mail is being sent and received. On the other hand, when I fly on my companies corporate plane, the pilots could care less if we are using our cell phones during the flight.
I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.
 
SHUPirate1
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:13 pm

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
About a month ago I was on a flight from Port Elizabeth, South Africa to Johannesburg. About midflight during the meal service, the pilot got on the PA and said quite sternly, "Ladies and gentlemen we are having some interference with our instruments that seems to result from someone having their cellphone on. Our flight attendants have announced that no cell phones can be used during the flight because of the possibility of interference with our flight instruments. We tell you these things for a reason. If you have your cell phones on or in use, we ask that you turn them off immediately for everyone's safety. Thank you." The flight attendant was serving me a drink and even said, "that seemed a bit harsh".

I always understood the "no cell phone" policy to be a myth and that it doesn't really interfere with anything. Obviously I always turn mine off just in case, but I did not ever imagine that a cell phone could cause that much interference. The most shocking part though, was the way the pilot informed us of the problem. I had never had any negative experiences with South African Airways, but the pilot could have definately been less condescending.

I honestly am pretty sure that, if a cell phone is on inflight, but not in use, it does more damage to the cell phone battery than it does to the aircraft's flight instruments, and I say this from past experience, having inadvertently left my cell phone on inflight a couple of months ago, and not realizing it until I reached to turn my cell phone on when I got to Charlotte (from Fort Lauderdale). That said, I did not use the cell phone inflight, and it is highly likely that, had I used it inflight, I would have gotten a visit from the local police department and a large new cellmate/friend named Otis (being in a first class seat makes those things fairly obvious).
Burma's constitutional referendum options: A. Yes, B. Go to Insein Prison!
 
HAL
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:37 pm

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
I always understood the "no cell phone" policy to be a myth and that it doesn't really interfere with anything. Obviously I always turn mine off just in case, but I did not ever imagine that a cell phone could cause that much interference. The most shocking part though, was the way the pilot informed us of the problem. I had never had any negative experiences with South African Airways, but the pilot could have definately been less condescending.

You understood wrong. I have had interference on my flights before, including one where we heard an old lady's conversation over our headsets telling her daughter which gate she would be arriving at (obviously on our flight).

As a pilot, let me be very clear. Our number one priority is the safety of the flight. If one of our passengers is disregarding our instructions, we do get mad! It is a safety issue, and just because you think it doesn't apply to you, you do not have the right to endanger the lives of the other people on board (including me!).

1) As passengers you do have the right to expect the utmost professionalism from your flight crew.

2) As passengers you do have the right to expect the crew to have the safety of yourself and the rest of the people onboard as their number one priority.

3) As passengers you do have the right to expect the crew to treat you fairly and with dignity as long as you follow the rules.

4) As passengers you Do Not have the right to do something contrary to our instructions because you feel the instructions are 'silly' or 'inappropriate'.

5) As passengers you Do Not have the right to avoid our instructions because you don't like the feeling of not being in control.

You pay your fare, get on the aircraft, and follow our instructions. We will do everything in our power to get you to your destination safely. If you don't want to do that, either take the bus, or remember that the rules you dislike stem from #2 above. If you ignore or disobey the above rules, you can expect a stern warning at the least, and removal from the aircraft (or worse) if you do not comply.

You are not in charge here, we are. For control freaks and type 'A' personalities that sometimes sucks. Sorry, but live with it. We will make the flight as pleasant as possible for you, but please, follow our instructions. Thank you.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
qantas787
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:57 pm

Now Qantas are looking at allowing people to use their phones in flight. The first person I sit beside and their phone rings will be in more danger from me than the pilot.
G'day
 
theweave33
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:04 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 10):
As a pilot, let me be very clear. Our number one priority is the safety of the flight. If one of our passengers is disregarding our instructions, we do get mad! It is a safety issue, and just because you think it doesn't apply to you, you do not have the right to endanger the lives of the other people on board (including me!).

Come on! If cellphones were a flight safety issue than either the FAA should require that no cellphones be taken aboard or they do not pose a safety threat at all. If if were a knife seller and I wanted to make sure my product made it to its destination by carrying it on an aircraft. That obviously poses a safety threat. They do not say, "Please refrain from taking out any sharp object as it may interfere with the safety of this flight." No they stop you at security. If cell phones are potentially dangerous then take my cell phone for crying out loud!!!
 
INDIANABRIDOU
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:14 pm

Morning,

Airbus have developed an On-board mobile phone system which will allow people to use their phones during flight aslong they're in an airbus.YIPEEEEEE

Let's make phone calls, drink, bring back smoking and it will be like my local pub at happy hour.
 
HAL
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:20 pm

Quoting Theweave33 (Reply 12):
Come on! If cellphones were a flight safety issue than either the FAA should require that no cellphones be taken aboard or they do not pose a safety threat at all.

Do your homework, and check other threads here on the subject. Cell phones Have been proven to interfere with some navigation and communication equipment. The problem is that the interference is intermittent, and highly dependent on the phone's location in the plane and power output. Because all airlines (and the FAA) deal with the realities of the airline business, they know that banning cell phones from the cabin would piss off some of the most lucrative passengers - the business travellers. It's a balancing act that everyone in today's world has to deal with; where does safety end and personal freedoms begin?

If the FAA wanted to make the cabin completely safe they could just ban humans. That would be much safer, wouldn't it? Or at least make them strip naked and take an X-ray scan, and simply forbid all their baggage.

So why don't you "Come on!". Learn to live like an adult and follow directions. No, one single cell phone probably won't bring down a plane. But if it screws up an urgent radio message from the tower, what happens then? Do we just wait and hope we see the plane we are about to collide with before we hit? If you take a very small number (the chances of cell phone interference) multiplied by a very large number (the possible consequences of that interference) you get a certain finite sized result that says it is better to err on the side of caution.

I'm sorry if you don't like the rules. Take the bus next time.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
Toulouse
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 4:36 pm

Quoting Theweave33 (Reply 12):
Come on! If cellphones were a flight safety issue than either the FAA should require that no cellphones be taken aboard or they do not pose a safety threat at all. If if were a knife seller and I wanted to make sure my product made it to its destination by carrying it on an aircraft. That obviously poses a safety threat. They do not say, "Please refrain from taking out any sharp object as it may interfere with the safety of this flight." No they stop you at security. If cell phones are potentially dangerous then take my cell phone for crying out loud!!!

I'm sorry but what an ignorant post. According to your profile you are fairly young, yet after reading what actual pilots have to say on the subject, you have the audacity to say "come on" to the pilots thinking you know more than they do. Do some research before you spepak and you will see various stories in which cell/mobile phones HAVE interferred with aircraft instruments. I remember an a/c coming into some difficult on finals into MAD some years back, and it turns out some ignorant fool had decided to turn on their mobile to tell somebody they were just about to arrive. This passenger got into a lot of trouble on arrival in MAD, including the police. Need I say more?
Long live Aer Lingus!
 
SAA346
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:41 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 10):

Absolutely! One of the best statements I've seen around for a while.

I have always found SAA's pilots to consumate professionals, as they are supposed to be. Clown in coach? - bugger the tone, pax was in the wrong!

Last week while on taxi down the runway ex ABJ to ACC on EK you should have hear how tough the F/A was on a pax who wouldn't stop talking on her cell! F/A got a small round of applause when the pax eventually stopped!

Rools is Rools  Smile
 
David L
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 6:20 pm

Quoting SHUPirate1 (Reply 9):
I say this from past experience, having inadvertently left my cell phone on inflight a couple of months ago

All that past experience tells you is that it didn't cause a major problem that was noticeable from your seat that time.

Quoting Theweave33 (Reply 12):
Come on! If cellphones were a flight safety issue than either the FAA should require that no cellphones be taken aboard or they do not pose a safety threat at all. If if were a knife seller and I wanted to make sure my product made it to its destination by carrying it on an aircraft. That obviously poses a safety threat. They do not say, "Please refrain from taking out any sharp object as it may interfere with the safety of this flight." No they stop you at security. If cell phones are potentially dangerous then take my cell phone for crying out loud!!!

Further to what HAL and others have said, you seem to have missed some obvious difference between phones and knives.

A knife on board might injure someone in the cabin inadvertently bit it isn't going to threaten the safety of the flight "inadvertently".

People need to take their phones with them and the FAA recognise that. As long as people follow the simple instruction of turning them off during the flight, there shouldn't be a problem.

If you want to see the FAA ban phones from the cabin altogether, get everyone to leave theirs on during every flight.
 
cumulus
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:26 pm

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 4):
Cell phones (especially the GSM variety) cause all sorts of unsavory problems in aircraft.

Ryanair (FR) are installing a system (subject to approval) which enables you to use YOUR OWN mobile (not a skyphone) on their 738 fleet so I'm sure if it did cause "unsavory problems" the IAA or CAA (or whoever the regulatory body is) wouldn't allow it.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5298332.stm
What Goes Up Must Come Down, Hopefully In One Piece!
 
747400F
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:57 pm

It is possible to insulate against interference - why do airlines not do that?
All humans have the right to marry the one they love
 
jetblueatjfk
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:02 pm

Also now that I think about it, I keep my phone next to my computer and like 1 second before the phone rings the computers monitor starts to get all blipped out and it gets a little messed up, I don't know if thats the same but I just remmebered about that.

B6jfk airplane 
 
BlazingCessna
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:06 pm

Hey gang, cellphones, new and old interfere with aircraft NAV radios. I have had to literally rip the phone out of a passengers had and shut it off. This was in a Cessna 182. He was texting and each time he sent a text the GS/LOC went haywire. Earlier this year I turned my phone on while in a 172 in VFR conditions and ran my own test. The lower COM channels (up to 120.750) exhibited static when ever I called my home and hit send. NAV was totally useless while it was connected. GPS seemed unaffected as did ADF.

Bottom line, turn cellphones OFF when boarding ANY aircraft!

 twocents 
Flown on:722, 731, 732, 742, 752, 763, DC8, DC9, DC10, A300, A319, A320, A330, PIC on C172, PA28R, D55, A36, DC3
 
Toulouse
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:19 pm

Quoting Cumulus (Reply 18):
Ryanair (FR) are installing a system (subject to approval) which enables you to use YOUR OWN mobile

Yes, and as you said yourself they are installing a system which will enable you to use mobiles in flight (AF is also going to test this, and I believe Airbus is working on a similar system). I imagine these systems block/prevent interference, so UNTIL these systems are tested, proven and installed on a/c, LEAVE YOUR MOBILE TURNED OFF WHILE ON AN AIRCRAFT... END OF STORY!
Long live Aer Lingus!
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:38 pm

Quoting Cumulus (Reply 18):
Ryanair (FR) are installing a system (subject to approval) which enables you to use YOUR OWN mobile (not a skyphone) on their 738 fleet so I'm sure if it did cause "unsavory problems" the IAA or CAA (or whoever the regulatory body is) wouldn't allow it.

Those systems will likely use external antennas which should mitigate the potential interference from the cell phone antennas.

Besides, don't you think the sheer fact that they have to install a system to allow in-flight cell phone usage means that it's NOT currently safe to use them?

Actually, it doesn't matter if you do or not. It's the law and you'd better comply with it.
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
 
747400F
Posts: 464
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:48 pm

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 23):
Besides, don't you think the sheer fact that they have to install a system to allow in-flight cell phone usage means that it's NOT currently safe to use them?

NO the fact they install antennas is for the phones to be connected, nothing to do with safety.

As it is there are several other reason to have phone switched on, other than to talk or send SMS's. Most phone have other uses.

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 23):
It's the law

is it? Sure it is not just regulations or procedure?
All humans have the right to marry the one they love
 
cumulus
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:51 pm

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 23):
Besides, don't you think the sheer fact that they have to install a system to allow in-flight cell phone usage means that it's NOT currently safe to use them?

And is has nothing at all to do with the fact the your Motorola Razr which transmits to say a mile wouldn't work too well at 35,000ft?
What Goes Up Must Come Down, Hopefully In One Piece!
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:53 pm

Quoting 747400F (Reply 24):
is it? Sure it is not just regulations or procedure?

It's the LAW.

Even if it was not, if you are a flight and the flight crew or cabin staff tells you to do something, it becomes the law. Failure to comply can result in your arrest.

Quoting 747400F (Reply 24):
NO the fact they install antennas is for the phones to be connected, nothing to do with safety.

NO. It has everything to do with safety. Why are you ignoring what myself (a flight instructor) and SEVERAL professional pilots have mentioned in this thread alone?

Quoting 747400F (Reply 24):
As it is there are several other reason to have phone switched on, other than to talk or send SMS's. Most phone have other uses.

Sure there are. That's why there is airplane mode, which inhibits the function of the...you guessed it...antenna.
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 8:55 pm

Quoting Cumulus (Reply 25):
And is has nothing at all to do with the fact the your Motorola Razr which transmits to say a mile wouldn't work too well at 35,000ft?

Never said it didn't. That's not the only reason such a system is necessary.

Besides, cell phones can generally send/receive more than a mile, especially when there's clear line-of-sight (i.e. in an airplane).
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
 
Leezyjet
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:24 pm

Mobile phones do interfere with flight insruments/radios.

The noise that you get on the car stereo, or the fuzzing computer screen when a message or call comes through is the same on an a/c too. If that buzzing comes through on the pilots headsets which causes them to miss an important radio transmission, the results could be catastrophic.

When a mobile is first turned on, it transmits on its highest power to find the nearest signal receiver. Once it locates one in range, the transmission power is reduced. When it is in an a/c, it is constantly transmitting on its highest power which is why it causes more interference in an a/c, and uses the battery up much quicker than on the ground.

All electronic equipment fitted in an a/c has to be fully tested to ensure that it does not interfere with other equipment. This does not happen with mobile phones. How would you know if your phone had a problem and wasn't transmitting properly ?.

The equipment being trialled in a/c to allow mobile phone use is in essence a mobile phone receiver built into the a/c, meaning the phones themselves will transmit on their lowest power, then the receiver which will have been fully tested with the other a/c equipment will then boost the signal and transmit it to the ground.

Until this equipment is installed, TURN YOUR DAMN PHONE OFF.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
SP90
Posts: 351
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:52 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 10):
You understood wrong. I have had interference on my flights before, including one where we heard an old lady's conversation over our headsets telling her daughter which gate she would be arriving at (obviously on our flight).

How long ago was this? How is it that whatever piece of equipment picking up the signal actually decoded it for you to hear the conversation? Cell phones don't send the voice of the call clear across the air. The voice is digitally compressed and encoded before it leaves the phone. There are very specific hardware and software to encode and decode the radio datastream. If you hear anything at all it should be that annoying buzz on your headset (for GSM phones anyway).
 
2H4
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:26 pm




Quoting 747400F (Reply 19):
It is possible to insulate against interference - why do airlines not do that?

They do, but cellphones are, comparatively, very cheap and unrefined devices. They may be certified to operate only within a certain range of frequencies, but there's certainly a bell curve in terms of quality of each individual device....and many fall outside of the acceptable range.

In addition, these cheaply-made electronic devices are certified to operate within a certain frequency range when new. After being dropped, sat on, immersed, and beat up for a year or three, they will not exhibit the same performance they did when new and/or under certification.

In short, cellphones are very cheap, unpredictable devices. Guarding against these characteristics is quite difficult, to say the least.

Here are some examples of cellphone interference for those unable to understand (or unwilling to accept) that cellphones present a hazard:


....From http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de/publications/Reports/EMI.html

Some Anecdotes and Discussion

Jim Irving is a colleague who flies B737 aircraft for a major US carrier. He has an anecdote:

One day departing Portland Oregon we noted that the FMC [Flight Management Computer] Map display showed a disagreement with the "raw data" VOR position. Our training is such that we would normally immediately switch over to "raw data" and assume the FMC was in error.

We would have done that except that it was a beautifully clear day and I looked out the window and was able to determine that the FMC seemed to be right on. I called back to the cabin and asked the flight attendants to check for someone using a cell phone or computer. A few minutes later they called back to say that a man had been using his cell phone and it was now off. Strangely (?) our VOR and FMC map now agreed.

Later in the flight the flight attendants called back and said that they had caught the man using his cell phone again but this time we had not noticed any problems, perhaps because we were in cruise far from the ground and not paying as much attention.



Another pilot's account:

In our company we recently had a Localizer deviation (out of tolerances) on a B737-200 related to a GSM (mobile phone) being operated by a passenger (who was disregarding our company regulations). When requested by the cabin crew to switch off his GSM, localizer indications became normal. Is this scientific proof? Certainly not, but good enough for me as a captain to insist that all the electronic toys, computers, mobile phones, etc., are OFF during critical phases of flight. [...]

I had fuel indications on the FMC going crazy on board the B737, that returned to normal when all electronic stuff in the back was switched off. I suspect a "Gameboy" electronic game device to have interfered, but this is no more than a guess. No, I did not ask to switch the toy back on again and investigate more in depth as I was responsible for the safety of 140 passengers and this would have been extremely irresponsible! This is not a situation in which to do such testing! This [ever-present responsibility accounts for why] there is no "proof" of the relationship.

I also recall experiencing *impossible* mode annunciations on the FMA (flight mode annunciator) on B737. Having both the autothrottle AND the pitch channel of the autopilot trying to maintain speed (both in MCP SPD mode) for example, not programmed by the pilot (you cannot program that). After an expensive in-depth troubleshooting session by our maintenance department, the incompatible mode annunciations were traced to a ... faulty cockpit window heat wiring. This caused electronic interference with the auto flight system.


Here are some more incidents:

June 07, 1997. B737-300: *Verify position* was indicated on the CDU. Both IRS and radio position were correct, the FMC position was not. The difference rapidly increased to 8 nautical miles. After switching a GSM in the cabin from STBY to OFF, the FMC updated normally. FMC was correct for the remainder of the flight and on the return flight.

April 30, 1997. B737-400: During level cruise, the AP pitched up and down with ROC/ROD of 400 fpm indicated. Other AP was selected: no change. Cabin was checked for PC's and other electronic devices: nothing was found. Requested passengers to verify that their mobile phone (GSM) was switched OFF. Soon
after this request all pitch oscillations stopped.

[There was one incident reported with a] B737-200. During approach to MAN (Manchester International, UK), the LOC for landing runway 24 oscillated and centered with the aircraft not on track (but offset), confirmed visually. Ground equipment was monitored and working normally. When a GSM in the cabin was switched off, all indications became correct.


More examples, taken directly from NASA's ASRS:

In October of 1998, a Boeing 757, flying from Seattle to Covington/Cincinnati, experienced loss of all three of its autopilot systems. Flight attendants checked for a passenger using a portable electronic device and discovered a man wearing headphones, which were part of a hearing aid. The passenger was allowed to continue using the device, but was moved forward several rows. The autopilot system then regained full operational capabilities and was later checked by maintenance, with no problems being found.

In March of 1997, a Cessna 340/A pilot experienced erroneous readings when attempting to determine his location because of a passenger using a cellular phone. After the passenger turned off the phone, the pilot was able to locate his position and continue on with no problems.

In January of 1997, a regional jet was flying from Salt Lake City to Eugene. The flight crew received three separate warning messages stating that there were disagreements between the captain’s and the first officer’s instruments. The three warnings were for discrepancies in heading, airspeed, and altitude indicators. After flight attendants checked the cabin for passengers using portable electronic devices and had the devices turned off, all problems ceased.

In August 1995, an aircraft making its approach to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston was advised that it was 4 miles off course. Because the course director indicators had been scalloping left and right of center, the captain ordered the flight attendant to check the cabin for any passengers using a portable electronic device. Within 15 seconds, problems with the course director indicators disappeared. The captain later learned that a passenger had been using a portable computer.

In May of 1995, the electric compass indicators of the first officer of a Boeing 737 gave erratic readings. After a sweep of the cabin was made for portable electronic devices, which resulted in flight attendants asking a passenger to turn off a compact disc player, the first officer’s instruments returned to normal working order.

Shortly after takeoff from Baltimore, in April 1994, an aircraft was advised by ground control that it was 10 miles off course, though the plane’s instruments indicated nothing abnormal. It was found that a passenger in first class was using a portable computer. After the computer was turned off, navigation instruments returned to normal.

In February 1994, a turboprop aircraft flying government officials from Lake Havasu, AZ to Yuma, AZ experienced trouble with its navigational radios. Ground control showed that the airplane was off course and gave corrections. However, the plane’s navigation system had been checked earlier in the month and was said to have zero error. After the flight, the pilot learned that at least one passenger was using a cellular phone while the plane was in the air.

In August 1992, a turbojet aircraft was notified three times, by two different control towers, that it looked to be off course. All instruments in the cockpit were showing the plane’s position to be correct. Flight attendants searched for portable electronic devices and found a tape machine and a hand-held video game unit in use. The devices were turned off and there were no other navigational discrepancies during the flight.

In September of 1990, a plane travelling from Boston to Youngstown/Warren, OH was advised it was off course and was issued a new heading. The plane’s navigational instruments showed it to be on course. After checking the cabin for portable electronic devices, the lead flight attendant informed the captain that 23 passengers were using AM/FM cassette players and one passenger was using a personal computer. The passengers were asked to turn off the devices and the flight proceeded without further incident.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

John Dimtroff is an electrical engineer on the Transport Standards Staff of the FAA Transport Aircraft Certification Directorate in Seattle. He is also a member of the Joint Airworthiness Authority/Federal Aviation Administration Electromagnetic Effects Harmonization Working Group. He has been a Federal Communications Commission investigator and inspector, a Boeing RF design engineer and a US Air Force Radar Specialist.

Dimtroff reports some incidents first-hand:

...my experience with the FCC has taught me [to wonder] how many [PED] devices transmit with a clean, zero-spur signal, especially after being dropped, banged, klunked, fondled and sat upon. [In] my former FCC investigative days, [I saw] a number of devices (computers, stereos, TV's, etc., etc.) which purportedly met FCC Part 15 requirements as indicated by their label, [but] were either bogus marked, illegally imported or were just outside the manufacturing quality bell curve. [My personal view is] that every carry-on electronic device is suspect -- until it has been individually tested, which, of course, is impossible.

[My experience suggests to me that] it is nearly impossible to predict/replicate an EMI event on an aircraft when the event involves a portable carry-on device (PED). Location, orientation, power output, modulation, inconjunction with ALL the other PED's/electronics/electrics/avionics active at that time all play a role in the EMI event. And we must not exclude the terrestial based emitters (radars, etc). ...

Finally, the pilot in command is directly responsible for the safety of those on board the aircraft. As André Berger has remarked, this responsibility includes avoiding all potential safety degradations, no matter how minimal. Thus, if EMI from a passenger PED is suspected, the only appropriate recourse, according to this legislative responsibility, is for the pilot to require the device immediately be turned off completely. This precludes any kind of correlation testing, benign or otherwise.

-------------------------------------------------------

In response to a FAA request, RTCA Special Committee 177 was formed in 1992 to investigate and determine the causes of the potential interference to installed aircraft electrical and electronic systems from portable electronic devices (PED) carried aboard aircraft by passengers.

Those findings indicated that the probability of interference to installed aircraft systems from PED, singly or in multiples, is extremely slight. However, the slight possibility of interference to aircraft navigation and information systems during critical phases of flight, e.g., takeoff and landing, should be viewed as potentially hazardous and an unacceptable risk for aircraft involved in passenger carrying operations. Therefore, the committee recommends that the use of PEDs be restricted during certain critical phases of flight.


-------------------------------------------------------------

Hope that sheds some light on the matter...




2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
Leezyjet
Posts: 3544
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:57 pm

Quoting SP90 (Reply 29):
How long ago was this? How is it that whatever piece of equipment picking up the signal actually decoded it for you to hear the conversation? Cell phones don't send the voice of the call clear across the air. The voice is digitally compressed and encoded before it leaves the phone. There are very specific hardware and software to encode and decode the radio datastream. If you hear anything at all it should be that annoying buzz on your headset (for GSM phones anyway).

It would have been possible able to hear it if it was an anologue phone.

 Smile
"She Rolls, 45 knots, 90, 135, nose comes up to 20 degrees, she's airborne - She flies, Concorde Flies"
 
fspilot747
Posts: 3455
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:31 pm

Quoting Theweave33 (Reply 12):
Come on! If cellphones were a flight safety issue than either the FAA should require that no cellphones be taken aboard or they do not pose a safety threat at all. If if were a knife seller and I wanted to make sure my product made it to its destination by carrying it on an aircraft. That obviously poses a safety threat. They do not say, "Please refrain from taking out any sharp object as it may interfere with the safety of this flight." No they stop you at security. If cell phones are potentially dangerous then take my cell phone for crying out loud!!!

I don't see why HAL would have any reason to lie to you.

In any case, I don't fly airliners, but in our smaller airplanes, some of my students leave their cell phones on (as do I, often), and you get a strange buzz through the headsets, the same kind of noise you hear when you leave your cell phone next to a radio or your computer and it starts to ring. The phone doesn't even have to ring sometimes, the radio interference just comes on spontaneously sometimes, and it's really irritating.
 
FlyBoy84
Posts: 331
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:38 pm

People...do as you're told when you're on these airplanes!

Too many times, I've seen people who are determined to do what they want to do - not fasten the seatbelt for takeoff/landing; not putting the tray up; leaving the seat reclined for takeoff/landing. Now it's cell phones, and man - that is dangerous. If they're saying that it's a problem, then you need to take it seriously! Otherwise, leave your crappy sense of entitlement ON THE GROUND butthead 

Now had I been the pilot, I would've wasted no time in finding out who the offending passenger was and diverting to the nearest airport with the authorities awaiting our arrival  box 

The airlines should prosecute anyone using a cell phone inflight  Angry
 
dakota123
Posts: 243
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:45 pm

Some of the respondents in this thread make me very afraid of the day when cell phones ARE allowed on airliners. Those who flout the rules as they now exist are the same ones who will undoubtedly subject us to inane, incessant conversations: "screw you, I'm too self absorbed and too important to give a whit for the consideration for the person sitting 2" away."

I, for one, will make every attempt to fly airlines that continue to disallow them. Sadly, I fear that all will jump on the (looming) bandwagon since from the looks of things the self-important types seem to be in the majority.

Dakota123
“And If I claim to be a wise man, well surely it means that I don’t know”
 
SPREE34
Posts: 1750
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:46 pm

Quoting PlanenutzTB (Reply 8):
my companies corporate plane

Your companies corporate plane has different systems than an A300 or Boeing 757. Your corporate crew has OKd the phones use.
If your corporate plane becomes a thin pink mist with bits of aluminum here and there it will be your problem, not the problem of 137 other passengers and their relatives.

Quoting 747400F (Reply 19):
It is possible to insulate against interference - why do airlines not do that?

Why, MONEY? Maybe that's a good idea you have. It will be reflected in the ticket price.

To those who want to argue to point, go back to reply #30 by 2H4 and read it again!
I don't understand everything I don't know about this.
 
N231YE
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:50 pm

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
I always understood the "no cell phone" policy to be a myth and that it doesn't really interfere with anything.



Quoting YEGer (Reply 1):
I recall a recent research article, where I can't remember--I will dig it up, that shows that cell phones do indeed interfear with some critical flight systems.

I've read that it was the old analog cell phones that caused problems, the newer digital ones don't cause any interference.
 
tsaord
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:52 pm

I'm taking two flights soon and If I hear someone near me yapping on their cell phone they are going to get a mouth full from me! I'm already a nervous flyer and the crew gives vital instructions for a reason. I dont want the plane to go down so if some fool is yapping on his//her cell I will say something, especially if they are sitting next to me.

Its something in the water I tell ya!
there are icons, then there are legends, then there is rick flair
 
HBJZA
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 6:23 pm

RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:59 pm

Quoting FlyBoy84 (Reply 33):
The airlines should prosecute anyone using a cell phone inflight

Yes, they should because it will give maybe a break to the F/A's who are fighting all day long with stupid people who don't want to comply with any rule on board. That's the main reason I quit the job. I got so fed up of all these idiots thinking they know everything.....When I read some comments on this thread, reminds me the old days of flying.
 
supa7E7
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:59 pm

Out of 150 people on a 737, do you really think all 100+ cell phones are properly depowered on most flights? No.... usually some people leave them on.. so we have tested this question extensively already. It's almost always benign, according to the safe flight record (and rarity of pilot "shut em off!" announcements)

If we want to know how many mobiles are flying above us, just ask the cell companies. They could count these 600MPH cell phones, and probably have done so already.
"Who's to say spaceships aren't fine art?" - Phil Lesh
 
access-air
Posts: 1577
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 12:16 am

What do digital cameras do?
I have noticed that FA's freak out if they know I am shooting digi pics out the window say for instance on landing or takeoff.....This is not on all airlines but some.....Is there any proof that using a digital camera causes any interferance with any of the myriad of computers that run modern airliners today or are they blowing smoke up our tail pipes?

Access-Air
Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
 
2H4
Posts: 7960
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 12:20 am




Quoting N231YE (Reply 36):
I've read that it was the old analog cell phones that caused problems, the newer digital ones don't cause any interference.

The digital ones are also unsafe:

Source: http://www.coe.montana.edu/ee/rwolff...5/Unsafe%20At%20Any%20Airspeed.pdf




(Emphasis mine)


Other frequency ranges are increasingly being used for cellular service, such as Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN), in the 806 to 821 MHz frequency range, a technology made popular by the push-to-talk service of Nextel, formerly an independent network but now part of Sprint. Sprint is also the best-known PCS operator.

The technologies that transmit in the cellular and PCS bands accounted for more than 75 percent of the mobile phone service in the United States at the time of the study, so our in-flight monitoring concentrated on these frequency bands.

Our research has indicated that PED interference occurs at an appreciable rate and that some of these events create hazardous situations.





2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
socalfive
Posts: 474
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2001 5:37 am

RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 12:50 am

Quoting SkyHigh777 (Thread starter):
but the pilot could have definately been less condescending.

NO WHERE near as condescending as I would have been! People are simply idiots, whether the electronic equipment does or doesn't sometimes or always interfere with the AC systems is enough for anyone with the slightest smidgeon of intelligence to just NOT use the things. HOW HARD is it to just turn these things off and go incommunicado for the duration of ANY flight? Jesus give it a break already. The last thing anybody needs is to have 75 or more people all yelling over one another talking on a cell phone as if it's a dixie cup tied to a kite string, none of that sounds like IFE to me.

A couple of years ago I was on a flight from PHX to SAN where we had a difficult, stormy, low vis approach into Rwy 09 at SAN, about 300 feet or so before touch down the IDIOT next to me got a cellphone call and ANSWERED IT. It was the shortest conversation he ever had, I ripped the phone out of his hand and cracked it in half and handed it back to him with the "Look" that guaranteed not a peep of protest would escape his lips, and it didn't. But for safety's sake you'd think.... ahhhh forget it.
 
iairallie
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 12:56 am

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 40):
What do digital cameras do?
I have noticed that FA's freak out if they know I am shooting digi pics out the window say for instance on landing or takeoff.....

All electronic devices are supposed to be turned off and stowed for landing. The main reason for handheld devices like digitial cameras isn't interference it's the fact that if we stop suddenly that camera is one heck of a projectile. There are also varying security policies regarding what you can and can't take pictures of.
Enough about flying lets talk about me!
 
User avatar
litz
Posts: 2381
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:24 am

Two comments on this ...

1) I've been on flights, mostly on ATRs (because they fly low), where cell phones in the overhead bins ring over and over the whole trip. Usually nobody will fess up, and everyone just kinda ends up looking around at everyone else, who's also looking around ...  Smile

Thankfully, no incident occurred.

2) Mythbusters tested this. They proved quite conclusively that given a properly shielded set of avionics, a cell phone will NOT interfere. However, any break in the shielding, and there certainly does exist (and they proved this) the possiblity of interference.

The rules exist because there's no way to guarantee an airtight, RFI shield on avionics equipment, cabling, and antennae. The airlines and airplanes where cells are certified for operation have had their systems proofed against interference either by additional shielding, or reducing susceptability to the frequencies the phones transmit on.

Lastly -- read through the above examples carefully; quite a few of them do NOT involve phones. They involve PDAs, gameboys, noise cancelling headphones, et al.

*ANY* piece of electronic equipment can cause interference, hence the reason they tell you "if it has an off switch, the switch needs to be OFF!"

 Smile

- litz
 
b777a340fan
Posts: 675
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RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:24 am

Quoting 1011 (Reply 2):
She actually had to go back to tell them to turn it off. The person refused. She then said you can turn it off or they will divert and he would be taken off the aircraft.

Why divert the aircraft for a   ? Just pull out the old taser gun! People can be such obnoxious self-centered arses.

Quoting SHUPirate1 (Reply 9):
I honestly am pretty sure that, if a cell phone is on inflight, but not in use, it does more damage to the cell phone battery than it does to the aircraft's flight instruments, and I say this from past experience, having inadvertently left my cell phone on inflight a couple of months ago, and not realizing it until I reached to turn my cell phone on when I got to Charlotte (from Fort Lauderdale).

Perhaps, but what tells you someone who doesn't know you're in-flight isn't going to call you?

On a side note, I found the pilot's intervention totally appropriate....If I were the pilot, I would've done a lot worse.

[Edited 2006-09-08 18:27:43]
 
18161
Posts: 1330
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:19 am

RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:26 am

I work in a lab that tests for Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) and Compatibility(EMC). Even though, I am specialised for only Electrical safety but I have some idea about the Interference aspect.

Cell phone and digital cameras cause electromagnetic radations that can interefere with other Electronic equipment.

But the diffrence between a cell phone and a digital Camera is that the first one is an intentional radiator and the second one is an unintentional radiator.

The digital camera (Unintentional radiator) will usually have an FCC logo (in US) and CE mark (in Europe) showing that the equipment was tested and the electromagnetic radiation is within the specified limits of the FCC usually class B for home use (this is more stringent than class A for Industrial use). That means all the equipment with these marks were made or modified to be within safe limits of radiation.

But a cell phone is meant to radiate, so to use this all the equipment in its vicinity may or may not be compatible with its frequency. So, all the equipment in the a/c may not be compatible with all kinds of cell phones or hundreds of PAX using cell phone would be a large radiation to cause issues with the a/c. (until they find suitable means to withstand them in future)

In my last trip to LHR, I had to ask a man to turn off his cell phone during the approach and told him that we may not land at all if he keeps using his cell phone. And he switched it off to my relief, people don't understand the gravity of these issues.

[Edited 2006-09-08 18:28:43]
 
access-air
Posts: 1577
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2000 5:30 pm

RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:39 am

Quoting IAirAllie (Reply 43):
All electronic devices are supposed to be turned off and stowed for landing. The main reason for handheld devices like digitial cameras isn't interference it's the fact that if we stop suddenly that camera is one heck of a projectile. There are also varying security policies regarding what you can and can't take pictures of.

My digital camera is a very small unsophistocated digi camera...Not one of these huge monsters with lenses so big you can see 20 years into the future with them....
Its funny that even ten years ago no one cared that you were taking pictures out the window....Whhat the heck is everyone so worried about?
Or am I in the minority of the airliner hobbyist population that is tired of acting like the im scared to death of breathing the wrong way on a flight....

Our President himself gave us all a directive....Its business as usual and we should go about our business. So I am just doing what I have always done. I am not letting someone in some foolish terrosit regime keep me from enjoying the hobby I have been a part of since I was 5 years old.....
So I will continue to take pictures out of the window of my take off's and landings, PERIOD!!!

Access-Air
Remember, Wherever you go, there you are!!!!
 
YULWinterSkies
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:42 pm

RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:07 am

Quoting Access-Air (Reply 40):
I have noticed that FA's freak out if they know I am shooting digi pics out the window say for instance on landing or takeoff.....This is not on all airlines but some.....Is there any proof that using a digital camera causes any interferance with any of the myriad of computers that run modern airliners today or are they blowing smoke up our tail pipes?

The reason is that cameras could become a projectile in case of brutal loss of speed. Note I say could, because it does not seem likely they would if properly tight around your neck or wrist, but airlines simply don't wanna go into details and take chances. Also, and this could be right irregardless of how you hold it IMO, but your camera can slow you down in case of an evacuation procedure.
When I doubt... go running!
 
theweave33
Posts: 39
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2006 1:27 pm

RE: Pilot Reprimands Passengers For Cell Phones

Sat Sep 09, 2006 2:09 am

I do follow the directions the flight crew gives me I never said I didn't! The point I'm making is that cell phones will be accidently left on during flight and if they pose a safety threat that many of you are claiming, then the FAA should remove them from flight completeley or install the equipment mentioned in this thread.

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