Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Cell Phone Forces Plane to Land

By Refrag in MLP
Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 12:06:21 AM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

An Adria Airways airliner was forced to make an emergency landing due to the system warning of a fire on board. An investigation showed that a cellular phone was the cause of the malfunctioning indicator.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Adria Airways
o emergency landing
o Also by Refrag

Display: Sort:
Cell Phone Forces Plane to Land | 31 comments (15 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
The fun/scary part is. . . (4.00 / 2) (#8)
by Anonymous 242 on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 02:23:59 PM EST

An investigation showed that the alarm had been caused by a mobile phone in the luggage compartment which had not been switched off.

If a cell phone in luggage can do this, what damage might other consumer electronics devices be able to inflict?

Uh oh... (3.16 / 6) (#9)
by theboz on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 02:32:20 PM EST

Errr...I let my friend borrow my palm pilot before getting on the Concord last year.

[ Parent ]

wow (2.66 / 3) (#11)
by msbrauer on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 02:47:23 PM EST

This is the _first_ time I have ever seen/heard any evidence supporting flight attendants' insistence that people turn off their electronic devices during a flight. Now, they just need a decent reason why I should turn off my cd player during take-off and landing.

the reason (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by ODiV on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 03:06:25 PM EST

The reason I was given when I was asked is that those are the times where it's most likely that something will go wrong. They need your full attention in case of emergency. I suppose in case of emergency you'd probably take your headphones out to hear the flight attendants, but you never know. They just want to cut down on the variables.

[ odiv.net ]
[ Parent ]
Kind of... (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by forgey on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 03:22:00 PM EST

Any aircraft manufactured inside the past 10 years or so all have been built so that cell phone and other such devices won't interfere with the instrumentation and sensors on planes.

I recently took a flight to Halifax, NS from Toronto and put both my cell phone and pager in my laptop case. both got turned on while rustling for things in the laptop case during the flight. I didn't notice until I retrieved them from my bag after the flight was over, but no one else noticed either.


[ Parent ]
"New" airplanes (4.66 / 6) (#15)
by FlightTest on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:25:07 PM EST

Hopefully I won't screw this up as bad as I've done my last few comments;

Any aircraft manufactured inside the past 10 years or so all have been built so that cell phone and other such devices won't interfere with the instrumentation and sensors on planes.

Not true. Most aircraft manufactured in the past 10 years or so are identical to the aircraft manufactured over the past 30 years or so. When an aircraft design earns Type Certification (TC), that TC spells out exactly how the aircraft is built. Changing the way the aircraft is built means changing (amending) the TC. The cheap way to create new models is to amend an existing TC, rather than get a new one. The main advantage to amending the TC is you often get to certify under the old rules that were used to certify the original model rather than the new rules. The FAA will require some of the new rules to be met on the new model, but not all of them. For instance, the DC-9/MD-80/MD-90/B-717 are all on the same TC, dating back to 1965. The cheap way to amend the TC is to change as little as possible. It's expensive to change tooling, and absent a requirement from the government to make the the electrical systems resistant to interference, the manufacturers won't. And the U.S. govt, at least, hasn't done so (I am unfamiliar with European regulations, however there is a serious effort underway to harmonize U.S., European, and other countries' aeronautical regulations in the form of the Joint Airworthiness Rules). In fact, quite the opposite, the Federal Aviation Requlation (FAR) 91,21 forbids the use of portable electronic devices on any aircraft operated by the holder of an air carrier operating certificate. The only exception is if the OPERATOR of the aircraft has determined that the particular device will not interfere, and certain devices such as pacemakers and hearing aids are allowed.

The aircraft manufacturers DO perform some EMF testing, but that is designed for interference originating OUTSIDE the aircraft (microwave towers, etc), not INSIDE.

The real problem is the interference or lack thereof isn't consistent. Even careful, scientific studies have been inconclusive. Whether or not interference occurs can depend on where you are sitting, how many people in the aircraft, the exact frequencies tuned into the navigation equipment up front, etc. There is plenty of evidence in the form of NASA safety reports from airline captins that such interference does occur. This is verified by having a stewardess ask the passenger to turn the device on and off and watch the reaction on the cockpit insturments.

And besides, this is an aircraft YOU are riding in. Whether you make it to your destination depends greatly upon the quality of navigation and communication signals received by the flight crew. Sure, it might not interfere, and even probably won't. But if it does, you could easily have your flight divirted from your scheduled destination, and waste a lot of time figuring out why the cockpit indicators are going haywire. And who konws, maybe you're on an international flight that strays too close to hostile airspace due to faulty navigation signals? KAL 007 anyone?

(To be fair, KAL 007 was probably caused by the crew entering the wrong information into the Inertial Naigation System at the departure gate, but it does illustrate the very real consequences of faulty navigation information)

Why did I flip? I got tired of coming up with last minute desparate solutions to impossible problems created by other fucking people.
[ Parent ]
If someone can do this by accident . . . (4.60 / 5) (#16)
by RGRistroph on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:33:23 PM EST

Then why don't terrorists just get on board a plane with a big telsa coil instead of trying to get explosives through the detector ? Just tell the inspector that it is "electronic test equipment", and then take it out and tell the pilot you will blow all of his electronics unless he converts to your cult and flies to Cuba, or whatever you want out of the hijacking.

I took a class on explosives detection once, focused on the airport security problem. Pretty interesting, with reviews of all the neat physics of back scattering x-rays and what have you. You would expect the same thought was going into "hardening" airplanes against malicious transmitters as well.

[ Parent ]
They don't need a reason (4.00 / 3) (#21)
by Russ Steffen on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 05:05:29 PM EST

At least in the US, federal law says that aircrews (and that includes flight attendants) have almost total authority over what devices you can and can't use on board. In fact, there are only about 4 or 5 devices that they can't disallow. One of them is a pacemaker, another is, oddly enough, an electric razor. The remaining 3 or 4 escape me right now.

[ Parent ]
Actually, it's an FCC rule (3.60 / 5) (#25)
by bkeeler on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 06:18:41 PM EST

The jist of the FAA rule is something like this: The owner or operator of the aircraft (i.e. the airline) may prohibit the use of any device which it deems may interfere with the safety of the flight (with the exceptions you mention).

However, there is an FCC rule prohibiting the use of cell phones while airborne. The airline has no discretion in the matter.

The official FCC party line on the matter is that cell phones end up trying to communicate with too many cells, and the cell networks end up getting clogged.

The conspiracy theory is that the phone carriers lobbied the FCC to prohibit airborne cell phone use in order to force people to use the ultra-expensive AirFone things built into the seats nowadays.

At any rate, the FCC ban bites me as a private pilot as well. But I leave mine on while I fly just to be a rebel!


...until the word "Maudling" is almost completely obscured.
[ Parent ]

Device (2.33 / 3) (#26)
by finial on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 09:20:28 PM EST

I think one is a capaccino maker.

[ Parent ]
cd player during take-off and landing (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by tetrad on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 10:24:00 PM EST

I believe the reason cd-players aren't allowed during takeoff and landing is so that you'll be able to hear the the crew's instructions in case of an emergency.

On the other hand, if the plane is losing altitude and you look out the window to see the wing on fire, I suppose you might as well pump limp bizkit up to full volume -- it ain't gonna matter much longer. Or would Enya be better? Hmm, I wonder what sort of music would be appropriate for this situation...?


[ Parent ]

Why no CDs (4.50 / 2) (#29)
by ambrosen on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 12:25:31 PM EST

I remember hearing from a reliable source that CDs (and other digital music players) were a problem because they emit too much interference due to the imperfections of the Digital-Analogue conversion: They are prone to emitting a radio pulse at the same frequency as the sampling rate because for each sample conversion, there will be a small frequency peak at the beginning of the sample.

Anyone who thinks mobiles don't interfere with other electronic equipment hasn't heard the interference generated when they're in use in the vicinity of anything with a loudspeaker.

Procrastination does not make you cool. Being cool makes you procrastinate. DesiredUsername.
[ Parent ]

mobiles and speakers (2.50 / 2) (#30)
by janra on Thu Jan 11, 2001 at 02:19:41 PM EST

Anyone who thinks mobiles don't interfere with other electronic equipment hasn't heard the interference generated when they're in use in the vicinity of anything with a loudspeaker.

My mobile phone (GSM, new), sitting on my desk right beside one of my computer speakers (new), would cause the speaker to buzz and click periodically (presumably when the phone was checking in with the cell tower to let it know it was still on and in the area). Also, just before it would ring, I'd get a 'pre-ring' from the speaker - more buzzing and clicking, louder and longer. And computer speakers are supposed to be shielded, aren't they? (or is that shielding protection against a different type of interference?)

Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]
Cell phones and monitors (4.00 / 1) (#31)
by nstenz on Fri Jan 12, 2001 at 03:33:42 AM EST

My cell phone creates a nifty little effect with one of my monitors... When the phone is set on the desk directly in front of the monitor, the monitor goes nuts right before the phone starts ringing... I'm assuming it's fine otherwise because the phone's transceiver is at low power while it's on standby and then jumps to 4 watts or however much it needs once it starts ringing. It's an interesting effect.

I also hear the speakers pop as well.

[ Parent ]
Do you believe this story? (2.33 / 3) (#19)
by SIGFPE on Wed Jan 10, 2001 at 04:56:48 PM EST

It'd be interesting to find more evidence than just someone telling something to a reporter.
Cell Phone Forces Plane to Land | 31 comments (15 topical, 16 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!