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Leaked study: "How just ONE mobile phone can make a plane crash"

Leaked study: "How just ONE mobile phone can make a plane crash"

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Old Jun 13, 11, 12:33 pm
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by NY-FLA View Post
Observed on UX last week. (I know it's been like this forever, but the timing in this case was just perfect.)

FA makes the announcement: "It's now OK to use portable electronic devices, as long as they don't have transmit capability. Electronic devices that transmit may interfere with the plane's navigational capabilities. We'll now begin the beverage service. Beer, wine and cocktails are for sale for 7? dollars and can be paid for with credit cards only."

Then; out comes the cordless credit card machine which, of course, would be worthless without its transmit capability.

Amazing to me how gullible the airlines think their passengers are.
Too funny. The irony is almost lethal.
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Old Jun 13, 11, 1:43 pm
  #32  
 
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Originally Posted by NY-FLA View Post
Observed on UX last week. (I know it's been like this forever, but the timing in this case was just perfect.)

FA makes the announcement: "It's now OK to use portable electronic devices, as long as they don't have transmit capability. Electronic devices that transmit may interfere with the plane's navigational capabilities. We'll now begin the beverage service. Beer, wine and cocktails are for sale for 7? dollars and can be paid for with credit cards only."

Then; out comes the cordless credit card machine which, of course, would be worthless without its transmit capability.

Amazing to me how gullible the airlines think their passengers are.
FWIW, is the credit card machine transmitting, or just recording information to transmit later (ie, once the plane is on the ground)?

Or maybe it's using wifi to communicate with the gogoinflight or something?
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Old Jun 13, 11, 2:54 pm
  #33  
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I'd ban iPads for a totally different reason: they could be used as a weapon. Some guy could start hitting people with the iPads and do some real damage.

Hey, what weighs more, an iPad or a plastic hammer?

Mike
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Old Jun 13, 11, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by mikeef View Post
I'd ban iPads for a totally different reason: they could be used as a weapon. Some guy could start hitting people with the iPads and do some real damage.

Hey, what weighs more, an iPad or a plastic hammer?

Mike
Not to mention the pax who arrive hammered.
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Old Jun 13, 11, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by G_Wolf View Post
FWIW, is the credit card machine transmitting, or just recording information to transmit later (ie, once the plane is on the ground)?

Or maybe it's using wifi to communicate with the gogoinflight or something?
A little healthy cynicism is required here. Do you really think any airline would trust their $7? beer to a pax, unless they were certain they were going to get reimbursed? How could they get that certainty without being connected? Hence, I'm virtually certain these portable machines transmit and receive as they confirm the CC is good for the purchase. And there's no GO-GO on anything UA operates.

And also ironic, I recall a couple of years back, a thread on the CO forum where an FA claimed that he/she didn't have time to ensure everyone had their seat belts fastened for take-off because all their time was spent in that phase of the flight ensuring all electronics were off. (Which is impossible to "ensure", anyway) Talk about perverse priorities.
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Old Jun 13, 11, 4:01 pm
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Originally Posted by Fredd View Post
Is it simply an exercise in crowd control, like the requirement to stay seated with seat belts fastened during the safest part of the trip, approaching and leaving the jet bridge parking place?

I've even been known to furtively leave my Bose headphones switched on at forbidden times - in my world that's living on the edge.
Safety is a relative term.

Sure, if the plane hits something at 30mph as it's taxiing, it's not going to disintegrate the way it would if it hit the ground or another plane at 300mph. But have you ever been standing up in a moving bus when the driver hit the brakes really hard? Inertia is a mutha... at even 10mph you hit the ground (or whatever else is in front of you) HARD, and if you're not prepared for it, you can be seriously injured.

So while the taxi phase is safer in one respect, it is a much more risky time to be standing up and walking around the cabin. There are no luggage carts or pedestrians darting about at cruising altitude.
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Old Jun 13, 11, 6:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Fredd View Post
Not to mention the pax who arrive hammered.
Reminds me of a Freak Brothers comic where Franklin has a bag of weed and he announces "what I have in this bag could destroy everybody on this plane"
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Old Jun 13, 11, 7:32 pm
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Originally Posted by G_Wolf View Post
FWIW, is the credit card machine transmitting, or just recording information to transmit later (ie, once the plane is on the ground)?

Or maybe it's using wifi to communicate with the gogoinflight or something?
Not all aircraft have gogoinflight so suspect it will transmit as used.

A couple instances of deadly issues with EMI/RFI:

Forestall aircraft carrier and Zuni rockets.
Red Army Faction in Japan attempting to lauch a rocket from the back of a pickup truck into an airport. Rocket detonated in the pickup truck.
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Old Jun 14, 11, 1:34 am
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Originally Posted by AngryMiller View Post
Not all aircraft have gogoinflight so suspect it will transmit as used.

A couple instances of deadly issues with EMI/RFI:

Forestall aircraft carrier and Zuni rockets.
Red Army Faction in Japan attempting to lauch a rocket from the back of a pickup truck into an airport. Rocket detonated in the pickup truck.
The Forrestal incident was caused by a power surge when the F4 was switched from external to internal power... Hardly EMI/RFI.

If you are talking about the mid 80's rocket attack on the US base in Japan, I believe those rockets were homemade and I doubt it was EMI/RFI that set them off.
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Old Jun 14, 11, 4:51 am
  #40  
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Originally Posted by NY-FLA View Post
Observed on UX last week. (I know it's been like this forever, but the timing in this case was just perfect.)

FA makes the announcement: "It's now OK to use portable electronic devices, as long as they don't have transmit capability. Electronic devices that transmit may interfere with the plane's navigational capabilities. We'll now begin the beverage service. Beer, wine and cocktails are for sale for 7? dollars and can be paid for with credit cards only."

Then; out comes the cordless credit card machine which, of course, would be worthless without its transmit capability.

Amazing to me how gullible the airlines think their passengers are.
Or that cordless credit card machine has been certificated for in flight use?

Maybe passengers are not gullible, they just fail to understand safety requirements on board aircraft....

Electrical equipment used on board goes through certification to prove that it is safe to use and will not affect flight operations before it can be used. So while you are harrumphing that they are using an emitting device, they are using an emitting device which has been proven to be safe. There are other emitting devices on board aircraft - radios, GPS, transponders etc, all of which have been tested and found to be safe.

Imagine an airline turns around and says 'right we have this emitting device. We know there are safety concerns about it, that it has been implicated in some incidents as causing problems to flight operations. We aren't going to test it, we're going to go right ahead and use it anyway and because there hasn't been a crash so far, we're going to say there will never be a crash'.

Would that be a sensible, proactive, risk-based approach for an airline to do? they'd probably earn themselves outrage over how they are putting passenger's lives at risk by insisting on using equipment where there are concerns over that equipment's safety on board.

So why do passengers feel it is appropriate for them to put their convenience over the safety of everyone else on board?

I don't buy the 'there's never been a crash' argument. Good flight safety is about ensuring there aren't any crashes by identifying and controlling risks before a crash happens. The hackneyed stat about 'always two phones left on' doesn't consider what the effects would be when there are 200 phones left on (which really, is what some here are arguing for' or what happens when stochastic events start to line up, meaning some of the failsafes on board are not as effective as they should be.

Aviation safety is not as black and white as some here would like to think.
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Old Jun 14, 11, 5:26 am
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So why do passengers feel it is appropriate for them to put their convenience over the safety of everyone else on board?
That's begging the question. Which crashes actually resulted from the use of emitting electronics? Can any be named? Actually, I think this is a con for deflecting anxiety onto fellow passengers since I think the FAA and the airlines know the ban will be ignored.
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Old Jun 14, 11, 5:40 am
  #42  
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You miss my point. If we wait until we have a crash to identify a safety hazard, then that's a failure of the safety system. With a good safety system in place, we shouldn't need to have people die to validate that there is actually a risk.

Unfortunately, too many on here are unwilling to accept that there is a risk, and want dead bodies before they will believe there is an issue.

We've had too many risks which have only been identified as a result of catastrophic or near catastrophic events (volcanic ash would be a prime example). However, there are many more risks out there which have been identified before a catastrophic incident occurs and where measures are put in place to prevent even though there never has been a catastrophic incident. The expectation on here is that unless there has been a catastrophic incident, those measures are not required. The work on amending engine certification standards as a result of changing bird populations in North America would be a perfect example. The regulators reacted to a change in the operating environment to increase design tolerance of engines as the risk of birdstrikes from multiple large birds had increased. According to the arguments on here, they should have waited until after there was a crash before acting on a risk they could identify. Why?

It's a completely reverse way to aviation safety, that we, as passengers, should really be in horror over. We and our loved ones are not guinea pigs. If there is a theoretical risk, then that risk needs to be addressed, and not ignored until a crash occurs. People die in crashes - we want to prevent them, not allow them to happen and then go 'oh, it was a problem afterall!'

The CAA did work in the early days of mobile phones (and I'll agree that kind of study probably needs to be redone now) which showed that mobile phone effects were a) identifiable b) variable c) dependent upon phone make and location of the phone in the plane. As a result of that work, based on actually researching the problem on the ground, they maintained their ban on the use of mobile phones in flight and on the ground. Are you going to ignore that research which shows there is a safety risk, because no-one has died yet?

Last edited by Jenbel; Jun 14, 11 at 5:45 am
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Old Jun 14, 11, 7:50 am
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If we wait until we have a crash to identify a safety hazard, then that's a failure of the safety system. With a good safety system in place, we shouldn't need to have people die to validate that there is actually a risk.
What is the "waiting" part. Cell phones been active on planes for years. Should have had some ACTUAL navigational disruption traceable to cell phone emissions on the tens of thousands of completed trips. Let them publish the cases. Let the public decide.
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Old Jun 14, 11, 8:41 am
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Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
Or that cordless credit card machine has been certificated for in flight use?

Maybe passengers are not gullible, they just fail to understand safety requirements on board aircraft....
I didn't say the pax were gullible. I said the airlines thought the pax were gullible. At least a few of us pax can't help but see right through the arm-waving, window dressing hysteria and paranoia that passes for "safety" at the airlines. Read carefully the comment about the Boeing engineers who were appropriately disdainful of anyone who thought they would design or put up for certification an aircraft that was susceptible to failure from EMF interference from a regular cell-phone.


Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
Electrical equipment used on board goes through certification to prove that it is safe to use and will not affect flight operations before it can be used.
Hmmm. Must have been off harrumphing while my laptop went through this process, as a piece of "electrical equipment used on board". And yes, I know most are FCC certified as having limited emissions, but at the level of confidence you seem to be promulgating, you would need to be have each laptop re-certified before every flight. Who knows what modifications those untrustworthy pax have made to their laptops between flights? Who knows if the pax is carrying a non-FCC certified electronic device?

Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
So while you are harrumphing that they are using an emitting device, they are using an emitting device which has been proven to be safe. There are other emitting devices on board aircraft - radios, GPS, transponders etc, all of which have been tested and found to be safe.

Imagine an airline turns around and says 'right we have this emitting device. We know there are safety concerns about it, that it has been implicated in some incidents as causing problems to flight operations. We aren't going to test it, we're going to go right ahead and use it anyway and because there hasn't been a crash so far, we're going to say there will never be a crash'.

Would that be a sensible, proactive, risk-based approach for an airline to do? they'd probably earn themselves outrage over how they are putting passenger's lives at risk by insisting on using equipment where there are concerns over that equipment's safety on board.
Before you go further at spreading this ill-conceived risk avoidance philosophy, it would help to explain where exactly cell phones or other transmitting devices have been shown, not "implicated", shown to cause problems with flight ops. And because a pilot said it was so, does not make it so.

Originally Posted by Jenbel View Post
So why do passengers feel it is appropriate for them to put their convenience over the safety of everyone else on board?

I don't buy the 'there's never been a crash' argument. Good flight safety is about ensuring there aren't any crashes by identifying and controlling risks before a crash happens. The hackneyed stat about 'always two phones left on' doesn't consider what the effects would be when there are 200 phones left on (which really, is what some here are arguing for' or what happens when stochastic events start to line up, meaning some of the failsafes on board are not as effective as they should be.

Aviation safety is not as black and white as some here would like to think.
Yep. and that's why we have (some) FA's convinced that they should be checking and double checking electronic devices off, in some cases before the door is closed, at the expense of ensuring that the 400 # pax of size behind you really does have his seat-belt latched.

Tell you what, you obsess about safety issues that have never happened, I'll obsess about why, in more than one recent case that involved real fatalities, the pilots couldn't remember that nose down might just help them recover from an aerodynamic stall.
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Old Jun 14, 11, 9:03 am
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Affection View Post
If your cell phone doesn't interfere with your computer, your household appliances, other cell phones, an ordinary compass, etc., why on earth would would the interfere with a plane? They are designed to be the most fault-tolerant systems in the world.

--Jon
Actually, my cell phone does interfere with my computer. When I leave it anywhere near my PC I can hear the phone through the speakers whenever it does a scan or there is an incoming call.

(I have no idea of what it is scanning for, but it does every so often. The static of an incoming call actually sounds before the phone itself rings.)
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