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United States Hardware

FCC Says No to Mobile Phones on Airplane 398

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the flights-are-for-napping dept.
GayBliss writes "CNN is reporting that the FCC has decided to keep a rule in place that would ban mobile phone usage on airplanes. The FAA has a similar ban, but for different reasons. 'In an order released Tuesday, the agency noted that "insufficient technical information" was available on whether airborne cell phone calls would jam networks below. [...]Unlike the Federal Aviation Administration, which bans the use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices for fear they will interfere with navigational and communications systems, the FCC's concern is interference with other cell phone signals on the ground.'"
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FCC Says No to Mobile Phones on Airplane

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  • Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:03PM (#18610809) Homepage Journal
    I've commented [utah.edu] before about some of the hassles of travel lately (and some of the possible solutions [utah.edu]), and all I have to say about the FCC maintaining the ban of cell phones on planes is thank you!. Aside from the "insufficient technical information" statement, this ruling is going to prevent someone from having violence done to them because of their inane constant droning to any and all within earshot. I once had the displeasure of sitting on a plane on the tarmac for two hours while our flight was delayed and the pilot allowed everyone to use their cell phones. It was torture as most folks were not talking on their cell phones to arrange transportation or take care of business, but they were talking (loudly) about everything and nothing and forcing those around them to have to listen! Even worse, people began trying to speak over one another and the volume gradually increased until there was an amazing din of people calling their friends to say "Hey! Hey! Betcha can't guess where I'm calling you from! An airplane! Ha ha ha ha, yeah and on my own cell phone even!". It was a horrible forced invasion of personal space and ever since then I had been hoping that the FCC would not allow this to become a common occurrence.

    • unfortunately... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by beckerist (985855)
      Unfortunately (or fortunately), this might give the MPAA ideas about courtesy in theaters...
    • You don't see many people doing this in the terminal do you? I think in the long run people would develop proper protocol and act appropriately... They just didn't know what that was..
      • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:12PM (#18610965) Homepage Journal
        Hell yes, people do this in the terminal. Many have written before about the death of courtesy, but at least in the terminal you can walk to another part of the terminal and distance yourself from the person. The problem in an airplane (particularly in coach class) is that you are sitting in forced proximity to the offending person.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          The problem in an airplane (particularly in coach class) is that you are sitting in forced proximity to the offending person.

          As long as they're talking at the top of their lungs, just interrupt them continually.

          If they're talking in a normal tone of voice, what's the problem?

      • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Romancer (19668) <romancer@@@deathsdoor...com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:21PM (#18611101) Journal
        Quote: I think in the long run people would develop proper protocol and act appropriately...

        Seriously?

        Do you even read the slashdot comments? Or just try to drive to the store and have people cut you off, walk out in front of you, or park their cars on the painted lines at an angle?

        There is a small percentage of people on Earth that can actually understand their effect on others AND have consideration enough to act appropriately.

        I think that the majority of the people out there care just enough about others to not piss people off so much that they'll get beaten, but not by much. And these same people are so oblivious of their surroundings that they don't notice that the people that they honk at and yell at are doing the exact same things that they just did.

        That's why we have to have laws that wouldn't be there if people would just take it upon themselves to act appropriately.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by packeteer (566398)
          One out of every 100 people does not have the proper connection to their brain's pre-frontal cortex. This means they are psychologically incapable of caring for others. This happens in certain conditions like autism but it also exists in the normal healthy population at an alarming rate. 1% of people just can't care, its just not possible, when you take that into consideration it puts a lot of experiances with rude people into perspective. The vast majority of these people are normal people who act prop
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          If there are no technical hurdles, it should be up to the airline. Something like "It is Jet Blue's policy not to allow the use of cellular phones for voice calls." Couple that with "you are required to obey uniformed flight attenants" and there shouldn't be too much of a problem. The FCC and FAA need to figure out, once and for all, if using phones poses a technical risk to the cell network or the airplane. Ettiquite shouldn't come into it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by vertinox (846076)
          That's why we have to have laws that wouldn't be there if people would just take it upon themselves to act appropriately.

          Actually as another commenter pointed out that 1 out of every 100 persons is a Sociopath, but in reality laws at this point in our history do not deter crime or affect behavior as much as attempt to mitigate the person's ability to do it again.

          There is little effort in law enforcement for prevention and rehabilitation as much as there is detection and incarceration (at least in the US).

          Al
    • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Paulrothrock (685079) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:17PM (#18611035) Homepage Journal

      It's times like that I am most thankful for the invention of the iPod. Nothing like creating a personal space in a public space.

      • by BWJones (18351) *
        As I said back in 2002 [utah.edu], " it's hard to appreciate just how much thought and effort went into the design and interface. Little features like the lack of a built in speaker means that the iPod will never be used to offend others by thoughtlessly playing loud music and imparting an unconscious societal feeling of contempt for the device".

        • by compro01 (777531)
          Little features like the lack of a built in speaker means that the iPod will never be used to offend others by thoughtlessly playing loud music and imparting an unconscious societal feeling of contempt for the device

          you evidently haven't heard how loudly some people play them. i can often hear them clearly from 3 or 4 seats back on a bus.

          the hearing aid market is going to be absolutely booming in 10 or 20 years.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)
          How many mp3 players have you seen with built in speakers? Or for that matter, how many portable music devices with built-in speakers have you seen? Also, it means no such thing, because you can plug external speakers in, and there have probably been more sets of those made for the iPod than there have been made any accessory for any other portable music player.
    • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by x2A (858210) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:24PM (#18611147)
      I don't get this whole deal with people on mobile phones, as if it's any different from sitting next to two people talking directly to each other. The only difference is whether you can hear the other side of the converstation or not. All I can figure out is that not being able to hear the other side of the conversation makes the brain curious and fix on what's being said more, making you more aware of it. Personally I don't really care, so I have no more of a problem tuning it out as I would do if I was sitting next to two people having the same conversation.

      • Re:Hooray! (Score:4, Informative)

        by dal20402 (895630) * <dal20402@maDEBIANc.com minus distro> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:42PM (#18611417) Journal

        "[H]earing only one side of a conversation makes it more noticeable and intrusive." [metapress.com] (Sorry, no full article without paying, unless you're at an .edu with access, but the abstract pretty much sums it up.)

        I agree with the researchers' conclusions. A full conversation usually stays in the background for me. Hearing one side is very jarring and I can't ignore it. I wish cellphones would be banned on airplanes, period, even when on the ground; the key difference between an airplane and a train/a building/the street is that in an airplane you can't get away.

      • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:42PM (#18611419) Homepage Journal
        You can talk to a person sitting next to you in a whisper. They get a lot of other clues (facial expressions, unconscious lip reading) that fill in a lot of the details.

        On a cell phone you tend to talk louder to be sure that you're heard. You're dealing with a tiny microphone. You're also dealing with a tiny speaker; when you're having trouble hearing you tend to talk louder in the belief that they must also be having trouble hearing you.

        So a perfect cell phone would indeed be no more of a nuisance than a conversation with a seat mate, but at least some people talk a lot louder than that. It may actually be no louder than ordinary conversation, but a cramped space (restaurant, airplane) requires hushed tones.
        • I start with the presumption of a decent microphone built in, which has been the case for all of my phones, going back to a PacBell Wireless cell nearly a decade ago. Many people around me yell (my coworkers can sometimes be heard from the other side of heavy office doors), and I often ask people to not talk so loudly into their own phones as even at low volumes it hurts my ear, but I try to remain courteous when in the company of others, and not subject them to my conversations.
          • Re:Hooray! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by jfengel (409917) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:21PM (#18612069) Homepage Journal
            I personally have yet to find myself bothered by a cell phone conversation in a restaurant, though I've heard plenty of anecdotes. It's probably the case that 98% of all people talk at a reasonable level into their phones and that the entire problem is attributed to a small subset of people who are rude in general and have just been given an opportunity to make that fact known.

            Like the way every baby I've ever noticed is screaming. There may be perfectly polite infants on airplanes, but I'd never notice them.
        • Re:Hooray! (Score:4, Informative)

          by fm6 (162816) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @06:10PM (#18612787) Homepage Journal

          On a cell phone you tend to talk louder to be sure that you're heard. You're dealing with a tiny microphone.
          Actually, it's worse than that. People unconsciously adjust their voice volume based on audio feedback. Cell phones, unlike regular phones, don't feed the person's voice back to them. So they tend to shout without realizing that they are shouting. You get the same effect (only more so) when you try to talk to somebody wearing those big ear-covering headphones.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by shalla (642644)
        Well, yes. It is. It's generally considered rude to ignore people in the same space as you to talk to people who aren't there, especially at a volume that disturbs them. If you're in a conversation with a second person, you're interacting with your environment, and so long as it's at a reasonable level and not inane, it's not considered rude. No one is going to expect you to ignore the person you're traveling with.

        I also find if you make one quick call, keep it quiet, and don't blather, no one cares. O
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by eln (21727)
          Then again, I also think people shouldn't take their children out in public until they can behave. Apparently that makes me a nasty person, according to a few parents I've known.

          The only way to really train your kids how to act in public is to take them out in public frequently. This means they will occasionally throw fits. However, if they do this, the correct thing to do is to get them away from that public place as quickly as possible.

          When my kids were very young, we took them shopping and to restauran
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by StikyPad (445176)
            Well, there is some logic behind ignoring tantrums, in that it demonstrates that they're ineffective, but in some circumstances it can certainly be tantamount to acceptance of the behavior. OTOH, I think leaving should be avoided at all costs, as the child may realize that while they don't get what they want, you don't get what you want either, which can be an acceptable tradeoff (especially if the child is at an age where they can appreciate that a calm experience is what you want). I know everyone advoc
    • Ah (Score:3, Insightful)

      by matt me (850665)
      It's a human right to be an arse back to people talking on their phones in public. Walk into them. They can't resist.
    • by SeaFox (739806)

      Aside from the "insufficient technical information" statement, this ruling is going to prevent someone from having violence done to them because of their inane constant droning to any and all within earshot.

      Of course, with internet access allowed on planes, what's to stop people from droning on with Skype calls?

      I know, probably latency, but still...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moofie (22272)
      Which is more arrogant? Being rude in public, or using the force of law to make people not do something that annoys you?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Alioth (221270)
      I can tell you first hand that GSM phones intefere very badly with aircraft COM radios. It happened to me while intercepting the localiser on approach to my local airfield, and the inteference completely obliterated any chance at communication with ATC. Fortunately, my friend (who was actually the pilot flying - fortunately, I'm also instrument rated because it was a dark, rainy night, so I could take over and continue the approach) found his phone fairly quickly and shut it off. If you own a GSM phone, you
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:06PM (#18610863) Homepage Journal
    Insufficient technical information exists to say that they do interfere with ground signals or even the navigation and communications systems used to justify the FAA's ban.

    So why the ban? Erring on the side of caution? Gimme a break. There's gotta be another reason that nobody's talking about.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CF4L (1072112)
      Another reason? How about the prevention of "air rage" from people beating the shit out of other people for talking the whole time next to them on their cell for a 4 hour flight when you have a headache and just want to sleep?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vengeance (46019)
        How about the jerks who are so prone to beating the shit out of people start their own airline, then, and leave the normal people in peace? Frankly, there have been plenty of cases of people going bat shit crazy on airplanes to leave me wondering if there's something inherently unstable in our little primate brains when subjected to altitude.

        However, that's *really* a non-issue here wrt this article, as controlling sociopathic travellers isn't part of the FCC's bailiwick. The real story here is the claim
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chmcginn (201645)

          Frankly, there have been plenty of cases of people going bat shit crazy on airplanes to leave me wondering if there's something inherently unstable in our little primate brains when subjected to altitude.

          Replace "altitude" with "confinement in a tube with a bunch of other primates", and it ends up a lot more plausible.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shawn(at)fsu (447153)
      Not everything needs to be turned in to a conspiracy. Yes I know this is /tinfoilhat. but really does someone need to do this every time?
      Thank you FCC.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by redelm (54142)
      And just how are you going to test? Should you need to prove safety, or do you assume it and wonder when aircraft crash?

      Cellphones are remarkably powerful devices. I can hear interference from mine on my landline when they're close. I wouldn't want to try it on unshielded (weight) avionics. Aircraft design is very tight (weight) without the robustness you might expect.

      • I completely agree, aside from my initial, sleep-deprived reading of your post as saying "I can hear interference from a landmine online when they're close." My cellphone is causes interference with my TV, my speakers, and even my alarm clock whenever it's near them. I also had a roommate once who needed both his cellphone and his alarm clock to wake him up, so he'd set the cellphone to go off and then the alarm clock shortly thereafter. The thing is, just before the cellphone would go off, burst of interfe
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Cellphones are remarkably powerful devices. I can hear interference from mine on my landline when they're close.

        250-500mW (typical transmit power level for a handheld phone) is not remarkably powerful.

        The reason you can hear the interference from the cellphone on things is because most things are pieces of shit that aren't at all well-shielded. The EM radiation from your telephone's speaker, whose coil is probably what's picking up your cellphone signal as noise, is also a bright beacon to anyone with TEM

    • by Detritus (11846)
      How many corpses do you want?

      Ten people died on Crossair flight LX 498.

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:14PM (#18611935) Homepage Journal

        How many corpses do you want? Ten people died on Crossair flight LX 498.

        Alternative Theory

        The official crash report does not mention cell phone activity as a primary cause of the crash, and instead attributes it to pilot error.[9] However, a separate investigation into the cause of the crash showed that the autopilot system malfunctioned at the same time that a passenger's cell phone on board the plane received an SMS message and another received a call. After this information was made public, a number of countries that had previously been reluctant to do so outlawed cell phones on flights (including Switzerland).[10][11][12] Some passengers on any given flight are likely to forget to turn off their mobile devices[13], therefore it is unlikely this explanation is a likely cause.

        ("Crossair Flight 498." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 8 Mar 2007, 18:16 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 Apr 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Crossai r_Flight_498&oldid=113623260 [wikipedia.org]>.)

    • There's gotta be another reason that nobody's talking about.

      Lawsuits. Better to just ban them, than spending millions on stupid lawsuits.

      "Having lost both wings and the tail to a meteorite, the plane was obviously unable to land safely due to the use of a cell phone by one passenger."
    • by rucs_hack (784150)
      oh that's easy, follow the money.

      What does a mobile phone ban mean? High cost in house alternatives. 'Certified' safe services that on close inspection will turn out to be essentially identical, but differentiated by being closely controlled (aka, offered at significant cost by a vendor without competition).

      Oh there will be all sorts of justification, but it will boil down to 'by fixing this ban we can make bucket loads of cash'.
    • So why the ban? Erring on the side of caution? Gimme a break. There's gotta be another reason that nobody's talking about.
      I don't have a problem believing that the FAA is erring on the side of caution. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence [nasa.gov] relating to it. And, since the FAA is responsible for passenger safety, I'm sure they prefer to err on the side of caution.
    • So why the ban? Erring on the side of caution? Gimme a break. There's gotta be another reason that nobody's talking about.

      [sarcasm]I can't think of any reason why an agency responsible for safety of airplanes would be cautious when it comes to safety. None at all. And another thing, this ban on smoking, I'm sure that is the work of the alcohol lobby so that there is only one vice on the plane.[/sarcasm]

    • by FlyByWire63 (992071) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:47PM (#18611529)
      As a pilot (25 years and counting), I've not had much luck with my cell phone(Verizon) working above 10,000 feet. That's in a plane that has a lot of glass space. I'll get a signal for 5 to 10 seconds and then the call will be dropped. This isn't over the middle of nowhere, it's over central Ohio! I've tried it in several locations where I've flown including the Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Chicago areas and I keep getting the same result. In some cases, I have no luck above 8k ft. I typically fly light singles and twins, so there isn't as much aluminum shielding around me as there would be in a jet. I think that once you reach a certain altitude, your phone hits too many cell sites at once and the whole system becomes confused, so in retaliation, your call is dropped. I'm not sure what the ERP of a cell phone would be at or above 10k ft. On a jet at 39,000 feet shielded with plenty of aluminum, I seriously doubt you would get any usable signal anyway. And yeah... I can see the headline when some passenger pummels another to death with a copy of the Sunday New York Times for pontificating on a cell phone during a flight!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Charcharodon (611187)
      They are erring on the side of caution, because they do interfere with things in the cockpit, the problem is that how much they interfere depends on too many factors.

      I'm sure the no cell phone rules originated when cell phones (bag phones) were 5-7 watts, which is a pretty respectable output to be having near sensitive equipment. Phones haven't been that powerful in a long time, these days they are typically in the .3 - .7 watt range. You would think that wouldn't be enough to cause a problem, but it ca

  • by physicsboy500 (645835) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:06PM (#18610865)
    "I'm sick and tired, of these muthaf**king phones, on these muchaf**king planes!" The sequil comes out this August!
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wiz31337 (154231) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:06PM (#18610867)
    I really don't want to be stuck inches away from someone talking way too loud for several hours anyway.

    Business travel is stressful enough the way it is and being "out of touch" from the office may be the best part of the trip. If they allow cell phones on airplanes that means I will be expected to work while I am on the plane as well. Get 20 people on a plane doing that and it is going to be really annoying to everyone else.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      My sympathy, it's not there. Sorry. If your employer expects you to be working any time you have cellular reception, that's your problem. The solution isn't that anyone else gets denied cellular access.
  • by jaymaxSEA (1044192) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:09PM (#18610929)
    assuming the technical reasons are even valid. How about banning cell phones in the air as a safety issue? Rapidly deteriorating service in the air, smaller seats, little bits of terrible food if at all, lost luggage, delays, rude employees, rude travelers, overbooked flights and then someone wants the ability to chat on their phone for the entirety of the flight. Can you say air rage?
    • by illegalcortex (1007791) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:42PM (#18611409)
      That's exactly what I was saying. Why don't the FAA just come out with a ban that's simply based on this reasoning? Loud talking is banned in public libraries and cellphone use is banned in moving vehicles in some states, so why can't they ban cellphones on planes? I think if you took a poll of most psychologists, I think they'd back you up that having to listen to a plane full of people's cellphone conversations is like sitting on a powder keg.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:10PM (#18610939)
    for fear they will interfere with navigational and communications systems

    for fear they will interfere

    fear


    It's afraid...
  • by blantonl (784786) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:15PM (#18611009) Homepage
    .. I cannot tell you how elated I am to hear this news.

    Nothing amuses me more than the high-end muscle-man salesman that strolls through an airport terminal with a bluetooth device in his hear, extolling the virtues of his latest deal that he closed, how drunk he got the night before, and where he was heading next. All the while strolling like there is something up his but, and his hands are waving in the air like he's swatting flies or something buzzing around his head - maybe it's his arrogance.

    But while it is amazing, it is also irritating, and the thought of having to deal with that type of behavior AFTER the door is shut scares the living hell out of me. The only people that might benefit from something like this rule change would be Bose - as I'm sure they would sell 1000's of additional Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones.

    Furthermore, being that you would be 6 miles up in the sky, in an aluminum shielded tube, I cannot even imagine that you would get good coverage from within the airplane. I'm willing to bet that maintaining a call even for just a few minutes would be a hassle. Imagine that beefy salesman screaming into his bluetooth headset "can you hear me... hold one, let me get up and find a better signal" - all the while he's walking up and down the aisle, "Can you hear me NOW?" and holding the phone up to an airplane window in the galley.

    Man it would be a disaster. He would either get his ass kicked by someone, or lose the deal because he thought he could hold the con call from the airplane.

    Thank You FCC. you did everyone a favor.

  • by CritterNYC (190163) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:16PM (#18611023) Homepage
    GOOD!
  • by east coast (590680) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:26PM (#18611165)
    So it's not going to happen in the US. Have other countries let flyers use their phones on a plane? Have there been marked results for this?
  • by daniel422 (905483) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:29PM (#18611211) Journal
    All I can hope for is that they continue to ban the use of headsets. I don't mind someone emailing or (OMG) IMing. At least it's quiet and I'm not held hostage to their innane conversation. Didn't I just see a story on this that several airlines are rolling out wifi? And the difference is....? I guess it's slightly lower power, but wifi runs the same interference risks as cell phones.
    As for the "technical" reasons. Completely bunk. Modern airplanes have all their signal wires twisted pair and shielded (very RF immune). While it IS possible for cell phones to create considerable interference (particularly GSM), airline systems are VERY well shielded. I seem to recall a "Mythbusters" episode (yes.. the paragons of the scientific process) that also confirmed this. The thought that it would interfere with ground based systems is simply rediculous. What ground based systems? Other cell networks? No. Airline communications? No -- totally different frequency band. Somebody give me a good example of where your cell phone was interfering in ground based systems while in your car (not your unshielded car stereo with a GSM phone). There is no difference between being on the ground or in the air. And no -- there is NO problem with communicating with a cell tower several miles DOWN -- with nothing in your way except the airplane fuselage. You'd actually get pretty good reception. Antenna sensitivity is also a function of height (and how much is in the way).
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @04:44PM (#18611473)

      The thought that it would interfere with ground based systems is simply rediculous. What ground based systems? Other cell networks? No.

      Perhaps "rediculous", but, yes, that is the valid concern.

      There is no difference between being on the ground or in the air. And no -- there is NO problem with communicating with a cell tower several miles DOWN -- with nothing in your way except the airplane fuselage. You'd actually get pretty good reception. Antenna sensitivity is also a function of height (and how much is in the way).

      One of the ways that cellular providers reuse the spectrum is by dividing the landscape into . . . "cells". There are arrays of antennas in these cells that communicate with the instruments in the area. Additional spectral efficiency is gained by subdividing the cells and only using the antenna array pointing in your direction to communicate with your phone. The landscape is modeled as a 2-d environment for these purposes. The cell networks take all this landscape into account when they deploy their systems. If you want to use an additional component of altitude to the mix, you'd need different antenna arrays and you'd need to re-layout the whole mess. For these reasons, the FCC does not allow cell phone use in planes, helicopters, balloons, etc. As you say, it's a straight shot from an airplane to cell towers below -- including towers that you couldn't "see" (radio-wise) if you were on the ground directly below.

    • by Detritus (11846)
      Completely bunk. Modern airplanes have all their signal wires twisted pair and shielded (very RF immune).

      Many aircraft have substantial amounts of unshielded wiring. Shields often break due to age and mechanical abuse.

      Mythbusters is entertainment, not science or engineering.

  • Ryanair has announced that their entire fleet is being fitted with equipment to allow calls on board. Ryanair don't fly to the USA (yet!) but it does raise the question as to whether the FCC would have jurisdiction over a non-US airline.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5298332.stm [bbc.co.uk]
    • Ryanair has announced that their entire fleet is being fitted with equipment to allow calls on board. Ryanair don't fly to the USA (yet!) but it does raise the question as to whether the FCC would have jurisdiction over a non-US airline.

      If they're over US airspace, have a feeling they do.

    • by bcattwoo (737354)

      Ryanair has announced that their entire fleet is being fitted with equipment to allow calls on board. Ryanair don't fly to the USA (yet!) but it does raise the question as to whether the FCC would have jurisdiction over a non-US airline.

      Why wouldn't they? Unless they are going to send their planes over the internet, they will have to obey U.S. laws and regulations just like any other business that physically operates in the U.S.
      • Er, what? Ryanair is so far disconnected from the US of A it's unreal. FCC laws are irrelevant in Ireland/EU airspace.
        In fact, last I heard the EU & Airbus were trailing to allow mobile-phones for "domestic" EU flights which is no bad thing IMO. Long-haul is something else though.
  • Now if they'll just ban extremely loud stereos in cars. Or issue portable EMP [wikipedia.org] guns to disable them.
  • However from a technical point of view a person working in the Aircraft maintenance said to me that the only technical reason it is onnoying, is because it can sometimes screw with the logging system. Suddenly you get a peak of absurd highRPM for the engine for example.

    It is the same in hospitals where you are not allowed to use a cellphone, yet somehow the staff does have them and sms each other over the operating table for fun.

    What is it that people can't live without a cellphone anymore? I remember that
  • by igotmybfg (525391) <`ten.nospmohtleinad' `ta' `todhsals'> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:13PM (#18611917) Homepage
    I think it is likely that the FAA and FCC know that it is practically impossible to enforce this regulation (although I wouldn't mind a foxy flight attendant patting me down to find my turned-on cell phone, which is always on when I fly). I also think it is likely that there are lots of you who leave your phones on, too. And yet, our planes didn't crash, and here we all are. So I think they are saying no due to some other reason - it certainly isn't because it messes up navigational equipment; many of us are proof of that.
  • by allanc (25681) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:15PM (#18611961) Homepage
    But what about the FBB? Is the FBB cool with them?
  • Regulations or no... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ptomblin (1378) <ptomblin@xcski.com> on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:17PM (#18611997) Homepage Journal
    When I'm flying my own airplane, I can't seem to get a signal anywhere above 3,000 feet anyway. I wish I could, because the Treo's web browser would be useful for checking weather radar web sites.

  • by eepok (545733) on Wednesday April 04, 2007 @05:27PM (#18612187) Homepage
    Hasn't it been a generally accepted concept of Constitutional philosophy that only harmful actions are to be banned and/or prosecuted? You guys are saying "Thank god they're banning it... people with cell phones annoy me so much!", but the use of a cell phone is not in itself bad. In fact, talking about inane subjects on a cellphone in a confined space is by all means supported by law unless it interferes with necessary functions (which the ban may or may not be saying).

    Since when does the Slashdot community suggest and support that behavior be regulated? What next: No homosexuality because it's icky for it to go "in there"? No driving at the speed limit because you're late and it's annoying when other people don't understand that YOU didn't get up on time in the morning? Shall we now force people to speak with a specific accent because you don't like a regional diction?

    At no point should it EVER be the government's responsibility to enforce "polite behavior" because you /may/ get this "air rage". It's your problem to deal with the situation-- politely if you choose to practice what you preach. Note, however, that if you choose to be violent, YOU will be held accountable.

    Grow a pair, complainers, and solve your own social problems.

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