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.
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