iPhone endangers flight as debate about onboard electronics use continues

In this always connected world there's one place where we can usually escape from e-mails, notifications and people calling us: aboard an airplane. Though that's quickly changing, thanks to on-board Wi-Fi, this little story reminds us that there are still a lot of limitations on how folks can use their electronic devices while flying on a plane.

Back in 2011 while climbing to cruising altitude, a regional airliner lost its directional equipment thanks to interference from a passenger's iPhone. They managed to regain control of their instruments only after the guy seated in row nine was persuaded to turn off his phone. The plane landed safely at its destination, but it's moments like these when you really have to wonder if in-flight connectivity is such a good idea. 

Bloomberg reports on the on-going debate in the airline industry between folks that want to use their phones and tablets more freely, and people who are recommending we take a much more cautious approach.

Even though all aviation equipment is supposedly shielded from outside interference, there are some devices that can still interact with them and cause a lot of problems. Laboratory tests from NASA and Boeing clearly show that some devices, especially when they're damaged, have a real chance of interfering with the flight equipment.

The FAA has appointed a commission made up of different representatives from the aviation industry, to publish a report regarding on-board use of electronic equipment. A decision towards the possible expansion of passengers electronic usage rights is expected to be made public this July.

Many airline carriers are arguing for increasing these rights, but some independent groups are saying that caution should prevail before the FAA gives in to passengers' demands.

Source: Bloomberg |  Busy Businessman working on plane image via Shutterstock

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Here is how you deal with the problem. If a flight attendant request a passenger to turn of a tablet or cellphone until the plane reaches a safe altitude, then the attendant should be given the right to request that passengers ticket. That person is then added to a no flight list for a penalty of 30 days. Each time the person gets on a plane and does another violation, they get penalized double the time. Anyone who earns a year worth of penalty is banned from flying for at least 5 years.

That way once that person can't travel, or loses money because they can't travel, maybe they will grow the hell up and put the phone down. Problem is these are suppose to be adults.

For me I dont need the FCC/FAA/NASA studies for me to see the issue. This issue is simple. As like in a hospital,electronic devices can interfere with others. No matter how much shielding you use it can happen.

A plane is most vulnerable during takeoff and landing and it reaches or descends attitudes. Why increase the chance of something going wrong for a text message or email that can wait 15mins? Is it really that hard.

For the totally selective ignorant people? I care about my life, which is why I fly rarely. I realize flying is the safest way to travel. But here is a fact. If something goes wrong, the only people qualified to fly the plane are the guys in the cockpit. If they cant fix the problem, everyone on the plane is destined to die. Is it really worth that risk?

I rather grab the phone from the person. You will get it back once we are safe. I cant stop everyone, but if you are close enough to me; I will take your phone. Even if it means we both get kicked off the plane. You are going to comply with rules or I will make you wish you did.

This is why I drive everywhere.

Nicely worded
People are to stubborn that they ignore that electronics can influence eachother. Radio, magnetic, light.. Its all waves and they can all influence eachother.
You can never account for the simple things as wear and tare. And also you never know exactly what frequencies every possible passenger can transmit too. Damaged antenna's can leak into other frequencies, some you might not expect for.
Or the random hobbyist that likes to mess around with his electronics?

To many people are egocentrig pigs unfortunally. Just turn it off for the whole duration of 15-20minutes...

It might cause interference, it might not. That's not the point.
To be totally sure the there is no risk, airlines ask you to turn them off, so I don't see what anyone's argument would be?
Don't argue with the stewardess or complain that it probably won't make a difference, you are not more important than anyone else and that's the rule.
Switch them off.
End of.

I haven't flown much in recent years but last time I did I remember a stewardess saying they were reading cell phone interference in the cabin and we weren't allowed to take off until everyone made sure their phones were powered down.

mobiles do not really effect the planes because many times when we had international flights and forget to turn off our mobiles off we flew safely and arrived to our destinations.

Must be one of you neowinans or some "Self-Acclaimed Tech Geeks". I would rather shoot that m*****f****** in a** than calling that hostess....

So, they pinpointed a single passenger and claimed his phone was the reason for equipment failure? Sounds like a crock to me. The equipment in the plane was faulty to begin with. I guess those pilots better shut down their ipad manuals too. Not only are airline systems shielded, they work on totally independent frequencies. Go ahead and use your device and totally ignore the crew on a jetliner. If airlines had any decency, they would provide every person on that flight with a parachute. If you are lucky, the pilot isn't half drunk... screw 'em.

Cause airplane systems dont wear and tare?
And you can garantee every user used device in an airplane only transmits data to non-aircraft frequencies?
Can you personally garantee this a 100%?

Take a few minutes out of your day and read Boeing's official response...
http://www.boeing.com/commerci..._10/interfere_textonly.html

They could not recreate anything or find any problems after these so-called reports. They even went to the extreme to buy these peoples' devices to see if they caused the problem. What did they find? Nothing! What could have caused these problems? Ask Southwest, and how they had huge gaping cracks in the hull and still let the planes fly. Hey, I am not some big "always connected" guy and rarely use devices like these when I travel. So, this I why I say screw 'em...

I used to fly a lot. One flight in particular, I had headphones around my neck for a regular Creative mp3 player with no radio whatsoever. I was literally grilled by the attendant. They made me take the batteries out before they left me alone. Then, I see the same attendant sending text messages during takeoff. What a joke! After that, I just ignore these people. They blame you for their own maintenance failures.

You also have to realize the modern pacemakers and other medical equipment talks wifi and microwave to base stations that sends reports to doctors. Sorry, the "believers" should either block them from flying or rip these devices from their chests.


Back in 2011 while climbing to cruising altitude, a regional airliner lost its directional equipment thanks to interference from a passenger's iPhone.

Completely fake. It is not the iPhone's fault, not the Android's fault, not the dumbphone's fault. The plane's equipment was simply not functioning correctly.

Ive gone on several plane flights and I ALWAYS leave my cell phone off (one short flight with everything on: GPS, Wifi, NFC, and Bluetooth) and NOTHING has ever happened: No delays, no things going crazy, NOTHING.

It is not completely fake. The reason there are so few issues is that this stuff is very heavily researched and regulated to prevent interferences. However once you start mixing in age and damage all of that regulation and control goes out the window. We all know that airline companies skimp on maintenance and repairs. But, how often do cell phone owners have their phones repaired as they age? Not everyone gets a new phone every year. Or every time they drop it.

mwc said,

Completely fake. It is not the iPhone's fault, not the Android's fault, not the dumbphone's fault. The plane's equipment was simply not functioning correctly.

Ive gone on several plane flights and I ALWAYS leave my cell phone off (one short flight with everything on: GPS, Wifi, NFC, and Bluetooth) and NOTHING has ever happened: No delays, no things going crazy, NOTHING.

If a phone being on can interfere with plane and possible cause a crash then why it is allowed on board?

If this is a critical issue then why are we left at the mercy of someone forgetting to turn their phone off?

we can't have it both ways..either it's an issue that needs addressing or it's not.

Well the concept is that if enough people do the right thing the problem is irrelevant. It is only when you have 100+ devices that the effect becomes dangerous. People would flip out if they weren't allowed to take phones on planes and they would also flip out if their plane crashed so this is really a compromise.

Because the risk is biggest at take off and landing.
Even if it changes instruments by less then 1%, at a safe altitude this is of no concern, but being 10meters above the ground this 1% can be the difference between being on/in the ground or above it.
Its just a risk you cant exclude, electronics, especially those actively transmitting data (phones and the airplane itself for example) can influence eachother, especially if there's dozens or hundreds of devices transmitting on a high variety of frequencies. even if its proven to be not a risk for 99,99%. I personally rather still not take it.

Tbh if it really was an issue, they would ensure everyone has turned off electronic devices, rather than asking and having a quick glance when checking the seat belts

It's been proven time and time again that cell phones don't interfere with plane electronics. The Mythbusters, the FAA, and NASA have all done studies and there is not a single bit of proof that shows trouble. And I'm sure the study they are working on now will have the same results.

http://articles.sun-sentinel.c...ellphones-american-airlines

Hardly anybody turns their phones off on flights, so out of the millions of flights every year, if phones were a threat, we would see issues on a regular basis.

People really stubborn to believe electronics can influence eachother, especially devices actively transmitting...
I rather just not take the risk, its just 10-20minutes.... Really that hard for so many people to be 'disconnected'?

I don't believe electronics can mess with controls of a plane or anything like that, but its very possible for electronics to mess with GPS.

Well some might say GPS is only a receiver,how can it mess with the planes GPS signals? The answer to that is that bad design, or faults that occur in the hardware can make the signal start to radiate from the device. If there becomes an impedance mismatch from the antenna to the front end, ringing can occur,or an imbalance in the antenna which radiates and transmits rf waves. And if these rf waves are out of phase,from such things as bouncing off the planes wings or body, these can cause "nulls" in the signal that is received by the planes GPS receiver.

You don't think they can? I've seen footage of military helicopter gyroscopes freak out because someone turned on a microwave oven too close to it. It does not take much damage either to the very sensitive electronics on the plane or damage to a persons cell phone to cause RF interference leakage.

vcfan said,
I don't believe electronics can mess with controls of a plane or anything like that, but its very possible for electronics to mess with GPS.

Well some might say GPS is only a receiver,how can it mess with the planes GPS signals? The answer to that is that bad design, or faults that occur in the hardware can make the signal start to radiate from the device. If there becomes an impedance mismatch from the antenna to the front end, ringing can occur,or an imbalance in the antenna which radiates and transmits rf waves. And if these rf waves are out of phase,from such things as bouncing off the planes wings or body, these can cause "nulls" in the signal that is received by the planes GPS receiver.

NastySasquatch said,
You don't think they can? I've seen footage of military helicopter gyroscopes freak out because someone turned on a microwave oven too close to it. It does not take much damage either to the very sensitive electronics on the plane or damage to a persons cell phone to cause RF interference leakage.


This is the "military helicopter"'s fault. Not the microwave.

Well your kind of right and wrong. The gyroscope needed to be tuned to ignore the frequency the microwave was broadcasting RF interference at, but the Microwave was also old and was leaking far more than it should have been.

And things dont wear and tare? They all stay in pitch perfect condition right?
Impossible that a plane might have tiny little faults in its wiring and systems? And you want to increase the risk just because you want to text a person or play a game?
And with everyone thinking like that, more people using electronics during take off, just increases the risk.

Electronics can influence eachother, radio waves are radio waves, they are the same, its just different frequencies or different forms of transport (air, copper, gold)....
A cell phone does not use a magically different kind of radio waves then a GPS or common radio does, just different frequencies.

Hate to say it but I have quite a few friends who are pilots (used to have two as roommates for some time) and although they all used to fly the smaller jets back then, they always kept their phones on and kept saying this is a bunch of BS and everyone in the industry knows it.

Where I live people still talk to each other in bars and restaurants, instead of just playing with their phones.
I'm on holiday right now in the 'real' world and in bars and restaurants people always have their phones in their hands constantly texting. It's ****ing annoying and plain rude.

Same on planes, as soon as the door opens everybody is on the phone. It's just crazy to me.
I haven't used my phone for about 3 weeks now and feel absolutely fine

I've g one through mediocore cell phone usage the past few years. Altho I do use my 920 more regulary for browsing or the casual games.
But I find myself glancing at my phone during conversations, or just having it my hands on occasion. It just annoys me. And especially since there are many, many people who are constantly looking at their phones.
It makes life a lot more boring.
Since smartphone's I've noticed I've been having A LOT less conversations with random people in trains, on the street etc.
Its not a positive change, thats for sure. It does make people more forever alone.

Back in 2011 while climbing to cruising altitude, a regional airliner lost its directional equipment thanks to interference from a passenger's iPhone.

Yeah I'm going to call bull**** on this. The equipment probably wasn't shielded correctly (shoddy maintenance maybe?) and the airline is just looking for an excuse.

I'm a pilot and even though the planes I fly are small they have the exact same equipment as big jets do (without the inertial navigation stuff) and in all of 3 years I've never ever turned my phone off while flying. My plane's navigation equipment has never ever failed. My flight instructor has been flying for almost 7 years and has never turned his phone off either, same story there.

Boeing has been completely unable to duplicate these so call "interference problems" in their flight tests when the equipment is maintained correctly, and I'm pretty sure Airbus came to the same conclusion too and these planes undergo extremely rigorous electromagnetic tests.

The only reason you aren't allowed to use your phone is because of the amount it would cost the airlines to get all their planes certified by the FAA. It's simply a cost thing, not a safety thing.

That said, while I'm on a commercial plane I still turn my phone off until we hit 10k feet. It really isn't that hard to do and at best you're losing out on like what? 15mins of electronic usage time? Come on, as stupid as it may be it's not that hard to follow the law.

-Razorfold said,

Yeah I'm going to call bull**** on this. The equipment probably wasn't shielded correctly (shoddy maintenance maybe?) and the airline is just looking for an excuse.

I'm a pilot and even though the planes I fly are small they have the exact same equipment as big jets do (without the inertial navigation stuff) and in all of 3 years I've never ever turned my phone off while flying. My plane's navigation equipment has never ever failed. My flight instructor has been flying for almost 7 years and has never turned his phone off either, same story there.

Boeing has been completely unable to duplicate these so call "interference problems" in their flight tests when the equipment is maintained correctly, and I'm pretty sure Airbus came to the same conclusion too and these planes undergo extremely rigorous electromagnetic tests.

The only reason you aren't allowed to use your phone is because of the amount it would cost the airlines to get all their planes certified by the FAA. It's simply a cost thing, not a safety thing.

That said, while I'm on a commercial plane I still turn my phone off until we hit 10k feet. It really isn't that hard to do and at best you're losing out on like what? 15mins of electronic usage time? Come on, as stupid as it may be it's not that hard to follow the law.

Yeah, Myth Busters wasn't able to reproduce it either IIRC...

My issue more than anything is the ignorance. I really can't stand that.

-Razorfold said,

Yeah I'm going to call bull**** on this. The equipment probably wasn't shielded correctly (shoddy maintenance maybe?) and the airline is just looking for an excuse.

Boeing has been completely unable to duplicate these so call "interference problems" in their flight tests when the equipment is maintained correctly.

So if the equipment is faulty or lacking maintenance isn't that enough reason to require passengers keep there cell phone off it's another layer of protection in the event all the stars align. If the pilot is in flight there's nothing he can do about the equipment not being maintained.

Hi your a Pilot wow. Do you have an electrical engineering degree as well? If not STFU and stop spreading your FUD. It does not take much to make a phone leak RF interference on the wrong frequency to interrupt some of the fancy equipment in planes. Just because your anecdotal evidence supports your claims means nothing.

-Razorfold said,

Yeah I'm going to call bull**** on this. The equipment probably wasn't shielded correctly (shoddy maintenance maybe?) and the airline is just looking for an excuse.

I'm a pilot and even though the planes I fly are small they have the exact same equipment as big jets do (without the inertial navigation stuff) and in all of 3 years I've never ever turned my phone off while flying. My plane's navigation equipment has never ever failed. My flight instructor has been flying for almost 7 years and has never turned his phone off either, same story there.

Boeing has been completely unable to duplicate these so call "interference problems" in their flight tests when the equipment is maintained correctly, and I'm pretty sure Airbus came to the same conclusion too and these planes undergo extremely rigorous electromagnetic tests.

The only reason you aren't allowed to use your phone is because of the amount it would cost the airlines to get all their planes certified by the FAA. It's simply a cost thing, not a safety thing.

That said, while I'm on a commercial plane I still turn my phone off until we hit 10k feet. It really isn't that hard to do and at best you're losing out on like what? 15mins of electronic usage time? Come on, as stupid as it may be it's not that hard to follow the law.

NastySasquatch said,
Hi your a Pilot wow. Do you have an electrical engineering degree as well? If not STFU and stop spreading your FUD. It does not take much to make a phone leak RF interference on the wrong frequency to interrupt some of the fancy equipment in planes. Just because your anecdotal evidence supports your claims means nothing.

You dont have to be a (insert whatever profession here) to figure out that a small electrical device does not have enough power to distrupt the signal a, for example, plane has.

mwc said,

You dont have to be a (insert whatever profession here) to figure out that a small electrical device does not have enough power to distrupt the signal a, for example, plane has.

Apparently you don't understand how RF signals work. It's not so much a matter of power as much as it is frequency. The amount of power really only effects the range the device can transmit. You could boost the power all you want and it would be fine, but damage the tuned circuits and you start bleeding frequency all over the place.

A cell phone braodcasting around the 2-3GHZ at 1 1/2-2W is pretty close to the Plane which is also only using about a 1 1/2-2W for its transmissions. Commercial frequencies are all open domain so feel free to see how close the planes frequencies are to a cell phones. It doesn't take more than dropping your phone a few times to make it start leaking into other frequency ranges.

Edited by NastySasquatch, May 16 2013, 6:44pm :

So if the equipment is faulty or lacking maintenance isn't that enough reason to require passengers keep there cell phone off it's another layer of protection in the event all the stars align. If the pilot is in flight there's nothing he can do about the equipment not being maintained.

But that's not the fault of the cell phone is it? And also planes have a variety of navigation systems, not just one. So if one is causing issues there is always a redundancy. Sure if the inertial navigation, VOR, GPS, all failed then we can go back to using the compass but the chances of that happening are next to none apart from like a massive electrical failure that took out all the plane electronics and killed all the batteries. And even that is extremely rare.

NastySasquatch said,
Hi your a Pilot wow. Do you have an electrical engineering degree as well? If not STFU and stop spreading your FUD. It does not take much to make a phone leak RF interference on the wrong frequency to interrupt some of the fancy equipment in planes. Just because your anecdotal evidence supports your claims means nothing.

I'm pretty sure the people at Boeing, Airbus and the FAA have the necessary knowledge. And guess what even they have found nothing to suggest that it happens. Mythbusters have tested it too and guess what? They found nothing as well.

Oh and btw before telling me to shut up maybe you need to learn what frequencies the plane uses to navigate, I'll give you a clue none of them run at 2-3ghz. Another clue, VORs (the backbone of navigation in the US) stands for VHF omnidirectional range. Oh and a third clue I'm pretty sure GPS runs on 1.2ghz not 1.5 - 2.0ghz.

So now you're going to tell me that I and every other pilot and mechanic in the entire US knows absolutely nothing because the vast majority of them know this rule is stupid and is simply a cost saving measure.

Edited by -Razorfold, May 16 2013, 7:27pm :

Actually I'm an EE in the aerospace field, I probably know a hell of a lot more about it than you do.

When designing equipment we have to filter out many different frequency ranges and ensure our designs are as tight as possible to ignore consumer electronics. But we cannot filter out the effects of someone using their cellphone to crack walnuts (I have actually seen this), or hammer a tack into a wall (seen this as well). People are STUPID and you cannot design for stupid.

NastySasquatch said,
Actually I'm an EE in the aerospace field, I probably know a hell of a lot more about it than you do.

Ah well good to meet you Mr. EE in the aerospace field. Did you by any chance go to Embry Riddle? I ask because I hold a bachelors degree in aerospace engineering from there so was just curious to see if you happened to go there too?

When designing equipment we have to filter out many different frequency ranges and ensure our designs are as tight as possible to ignore consumer electronics. But we cannot filter out the effects of someone using their cellphone to crack walnuts (I have actually seen this), or hammer a tack into a wall (seen this as well). People are STUPID and you cannot design for stupid.

Yes you cannot design for stupid but we live our lives with stupid all the time don't we? I openly said in my original post that people should keep their phones off in a commercial flight because its the law and if you get caught it becomes a hassle for everyone else. It's not a hard law to follow so just do it.

But you can use your devices above 10k feet. No issues happen. There are millions of people everyday who won't turn off their electronic devices, I've seen this happen on the vast majority of flights I've been on. People just either put their phone on airplane mode or leave it on. Still nothing happens.

If the problem was as real as you make it out to be at least one plane should have crashed by now because of it, but yet nothing. Planes simply have too many redundancies built into them so if one thing stops working, there are usually 2-3 other systems that can take over. If you're navigating by GPS and for w/e reason your signal gets all screwed up, contact ATC tell them you have a problem and switch to VORs. Takes all of what like 5mins?

Also there's nothing stopping airlines from allowing cell phones on board the plane. It's simply cost. If American Airlines, for example, decided that they wanted to do it, they would have to send all 600 of their planes to the FAA for additional certification. That would get it but it would cost an absolute fortune so its far far easier to just say **** it you're only allowed to use it above 10k feet.

I never said it was a huge problem, but you said very clearly it was BULLSH*T and made out like this can never happen. It clearly can happen and does happen very rarely. Around 10 cases in commercial flights reported to NASA. I've spoken with engineers who have watched test pilots nearly die and million dollar prototypes crash because they missed tuning out a broadcast range they weren't expecting anyone to be using.

You can Hi-Jack military drones with a cell-phone, a company proved it and it was aired on mainstream television. Taking off and landing with your cell phone on is putting lives in your hands. You should be educated enough to not come on a forum and spout off that it isn't possible.

No one cares what school you went to. Fool. For the record I hold a Bachelors Degree in robotics. I went into aerospace for the money and jobs.

NastySasquatch said,
I never said it was a huge problem, but you said very clearly it was BULLSH*T and made out like this can never happen. It clearly can happen and does happen very rarely. Around 10 cases in commercial flights reported to NASA. I've spoken with engineers who have watched test pilots nearly die and million dollar prototypes crash because they missed tuning out a broadcast range they weren't expecting anyone to be using.

You can Hi-Jack military drones with a cell-phone, a company proved it and it was aired on mainstream television. Taking off and landing with your cell phone on is putting lives in your hands. You should be educated enough to not come on a forum and spout off that it isn't possible.

No one cares what school you went to. Fool.


Thanks for simply proven how childish you are. I asked you a simple question with no hostility and yet you reply back with hostility even though I never attacked you what so ever. Only reason I asked was because I was curious to see if you HAPPENED to go to the same school I did.

And amazing how you've spoken to all these people and yet the general consensus from Boeing, Airbus, FAA, Mythbusters is that its a load of ****. Amazing how that works.

I'm done talking to you. If you can't formulate a simple reply without massive amounts of hostility, you can keep talking to yourself.

And btw Drones and planes aren't the same thing and operate on vastly different frequencies.

Mythbusters... yea thanks those guys are fun to watch and educated. But I'll believe my mentor who was a top engineer on the team that put the mars rover on mars.

-Razorfold said,

Thanks for simply proven how childish you are. I asked you a simple question with no hostility and yet you reply back with hostility even though I never attacked you what so ever. Only reason I asked was because I was curious to see if you HAPPENED to go to the same school I did.

And amazing how you've spoken to all these people and yet the general consensus from Boeing, Airbus, FAA, Mythbusters is that its a load of ****. Amazing how that works.

I'm done talking to you. If you can't formulate a simple reply without massive amounts of hostility, you can keep talking to yourself.

And btw Drones and planes aren't the same thing and operate on vastly different frequencies.

NastySasquatch said,
Mythbusters... yea thanks those guys are fun to watch and educated. But I'll believe my mentor who was a top engineer on the team that put the mars rover on mars.

Btw I know I said I wouldn't reply to you but where did you get the 10 commercial flights a year reported to NASA?

Because you see I checked NASA database:


Your search returned 0 ACNs

Search Criteria:
Date of Incident was between January-2005, January-2013
and Federal Aviation Regs (FAR) Part was Part 121, Part 135
and Make/Model was Boeing Company All Series, Airbus All Series, Regional Jet 200 ER&LR (CRJ200), Regional Jet 700 ER&LR (CRJ700), Regional Jet 900 (CRJ900), Regional Jet 1000 (CRJ1000)
and Primary Problem was Equipment / Tooling
and Text contains phone

NastySasquatch said,
I'll believe my mentor who was a top engineer on the team that put the mars rover on mars.

Wow, he must be an expert on everything then.

NastySasquatch said,
Hi your a Pilot wow. Do you have an electrical engineering degree as well? If not STFU and stop spreading your FUD. It does not take much to make a phone leak RF interference on the wrong frequency to interrupt some of the fancy equipment in planes. Just because your anecdotal evidence supports your claims means nothing.


While this wasn't directed at me, yes I do have an Electrical Engineering degree (as well as one in Computer engineering) and my company is a top tier supplier for Boeing, etc...

I am the lead engineer in our Pacific NW facility and my good friend is the lead electronics designer with both an EE and a masters in EE for our LA facility.

The idea that phones cause interference on a plane is asinine. How do I know? We test for interferences and leakages.

Additionally, as I have numerous contacts in the airlines, they *want* to allow cell phones on planes, but the FAA costs to change their takeoff/landing policy to allow this would cost too much that they are waiting to have something happen from the FAA rather than pursue it individually (and possibly benefiting their competitors.)

-Razorfold said,

Btw I know I said I wouldn't reply to you but where did you get the 10 commercial flights a year reported to NASA?

Because you see I checked NASA database:

I never said a year. I said there were like 10. which implied total.

And mister head engineer, why do you think you have to test for if it can't happen?

Hubris. Look it up.

I think we've all kind of gone off focus a bit. My only point I'm getting at here is that this is not a BS story. And I think it's irresponsible for people who claim to be knowledgeable of the technologies involved to say it is. It's a very rare and extremely unlikely event, but it is in the realm of possibility.

I'd rank it up there with the cell phones causing gas station explosions. But to completely disregard the idea that it can happen is completely foolish.

I didn't really want to get involved with this but there is very solid evidence for radio frequencies and electromagnetic fields surrounding devices affecting navigation instruments and onboard networking systems. The real argument is whether or not this effect is replicated in planes. As Razorfold has stated, he has been flying light aircraft with his phone on for a number of years. This circumstance is irrelevant in the argument. The RF output of a single phone is universally seen as not powerful enough to do any SIGNIFICANT misalignment to instruments or comms equipment. The real problem is when we the cumulative magnetic and RF effect, a phenomenon well documented. If there are for instance 300 passengers on a plane, each with their phones on and connected to a cellular network and one passenger initiates an outgoing call the antennas of other nearby electronic components help carry that signal and in many cases amplify it. This cummulative effect is equal to 300 people on there phones all creating potential RF interference. RF interference like this is the stuff that affects many 2 stage transistor amplifiers which can affect units like GPS and magnetic field bases instruments.

Anyway just because there may be an absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. This **** should have immediately turned his phone off at the request of the employee. There are many mysterious air crashes that have been caused by faulty equipment and investigators never rule out the possibilities aforementioned.

Electronics can influence eachother, is that really hard to understand?
And do we all really want to argue about being able to use a cell phone at take off? Are we that dull or stubborn?
Its a risk! Period. Not one you want to take in a frigging airplane at TAKE OFF.
And antenna's can leak into frequenties they are not using and other systems might be using. As one said above, you cannot protect against idiots.
You never know what a person might be using. Just turn off all devices during take off.

As much as part of me itches to get to my messages when I'm on planes, I know it's just out of habit. Some time away from it is good... folks should learn to embrace a little break.
Also, I can't believe they had to fight this guy to get him to turn off his stupid phone. "Well, we have no direction now, we can just fly in random circles and make everybody late, or you can make SUCH A SACRIFICE and turn off your bloody device for a little while." What a douche.

"Well, we have no direction now, we can just fly in random circles and make everybody late

Bit of an exaggeration there Planes have multiple navigation systems:

- Compass (pretty much will never fail but is a pain to use)
- VORs (and the associated ILS etc)
- NDBs (being phased out but some parts of the world still use them frequently)
- GPS (and the associated LPV, WAAS, LAAS etc)
- Inertial navigation (generally used over the sea)

But yes I completely agree that he should have turned it off when asked.

"persuaded"?

He had to be persuaded to turn off his phone? Is this the world we live in now? I'm quite the gadget geek, but even I can put things down, and go off grid for a bit. It's nice being disconnected.

I was on a flight once where a stewardess had to ask a person 5 times to shut off before flight. Finally she just stood there and told the guy "We can't take off until you turn that off. If I have to stand here for more than a minute, security will escort you off the plane". The guy, turned it off, and as soon as she walked away, turned it back on. This is the kind of people exist in this world.

NXTwoThou said,
I was on a flight once where a stewardess had to ask a person 5 times to shut off before flight. Finally she just stood there and told the guy "We can't take off until you turn that off. If I have to stand here for more than a minute, security will escort you off the plane". The guy, turned it off, and as soon as she walked away, turned it back on. This is the kind of people exist in this world.
If I had saw him turn it on, I would have called the lady back and says he turned it on, or I would have gotten up and punch him in his face.

I don't understand what is so important you cant shut your phone off for 20mins and wait until the plane is in a safe flying altitude.

We would have both been kicked off the plane because I would have punched his butt in the face so many times...either than or I will take his phone from him.

And I will tell him, I am not going to die because you want to be an ignorant stupid ******. Want to call security go ahead. I will take the phone and stomp it until it breaks and I will not buy you another even if it means I go to jail for it. I rather go to jail protecting my life than you taking it from me being stupid.

Dot Matrix said,
"persuaded"?

He had to be persuaded to turn off his phone? Is this the world we live in now? I'm quite the gadget geek, but even I can put things down, and go off grid for a bit. It's nice being disconnected.

It's because we as a society are becoming more ignorant of others and simply don't care... I know people like this that refuse to turn their phones off on the plane because it's more important to them that THEY get a text from a friend than provide a safe flight to others...

It's really appalling.

NXTwoThou said,
I was on a flight once where a stewardess had to ask a person 5 times to shut off before flight. Finally she just stood there and told the guy "We can't take off until you turn that off. If I have to stand here for more than a minute, security will escort you off the plane". The guy, turned it off, and as soon as she walked away, turned it back on. This is the kind of people exist in this world.
Sad but true
Dbags aside, I also don't understand why people need to be connected every second of their life. They don't seem to realize that LIFE GOES ON even when their phone is turned off. People with phone addictions actually annoy me just as much as smokers. I'd elaborate but I'm drifting offtopic lol

Dot Matrix said,
"persuaded"?

He had to be persuaded to turn off his phone? Is this the world we live in now? I'm quite the gadget geek, but even I can put things down, and go off grid for a bit. It's nice being disconnected.

There have been multiple incidents over the years where people refuse to turn off their gadgets. So I am not surprised.

Edited by techbeck, May 16 2013, 5:46pm :

dtourond said,
He was putting people's lives at risk, so instead of being "persuaded", he should've been forced to turn his phone off.

If i was a flight attendant and someone was resistant to having his phone turned off. Id grab it, turned it off, stamped on it, and then throw it out of an airlock. Is getting a few emails more valuable than human life now?