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The Forum > Article Comments > Why ban mobile phones on planes? > Comments

Why ban mobile phones on planes? : Comments

By Chris Berg, published 18/10/2005

Chris Berg argues any decision about the use of personal electronic devices in planes should be up to airlines.

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A number of aircraft crashes have been caused by entertainment devices including factory fitted. PEDS increase the risk to what extent there are varying views but in the end why risk it. Given the general attitude towards aircraft ascendants and air travel being so quick take a book or a magazine and sit quietly read your book/mag and do you DVT exercises. As for mobile phone being a classic geek most people are surprised to find out I donít own one canít stand them.
Posted by Kenny, Tuesday, 18 October 2005 10:02:37 AM
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Wise advice Kenny.

Most people have absolutely no idea of what's going on in the front office of an aeroplane and how critical things are during certain phases of flight. Paticularly approach and landing in Instrument Flight Conditions (IFR). At busy airports there can be up to thirty aeroplanes in the vicinity, and they can't see each other. Separation depends on pilots being able to fly using accurate NAVAID navigation.

But that's the least of your worries. Try flying an approach to a runway you can't see and down to a minimum altitude of 300 feet in many cases, and if you're slightly off course you'll fly into a hill, a tower, of anything else out there lurking in the murk. NAVAID reliability is critical!

Anything likely to upset radio instrument reception - local thunderstorm activity is already bad enough - just adds to the pilot's workload. And let me tell you, when in those conditions, on short final approach, even with a two pilot crew, the workload is enormous. The last thing you need is dodgy or eratic displays because some bloke wants to phone his wife at the airport and tell her that he's just about to land - when in reality, he and everybody else aboard could be just about to embark on a very exciting adventure of spectacular proportions. And bad landings sadly, do happen.

It's just not worth taking the risk. There's just far too much at stake.
Posted by Maximus, Tuesday, 18 October 2005 10:40:13 AM
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I'm a flight simulator geek and I take my laptop everywhere.

I've taken LA International Airport approaches while landing at lesser airpots often, Hanoi, Lagos, Zagreb, no splats.

No prangs! Me and my fellow passengers are still alive and Chris' thesis is vindicated. So whats the problem.

Also I like mock aerial combats. Its amazing how a fully laden 747 can turn inside an Me 109 and sometimes an Fw 190 - if you dump fuel on the bends.

Call me dedicated, sure.

Name one fatality caused by PEDs and I'll identify 100,000 fatalities caused securing peace and democracy in Iraq.

Till then there's a MIG in my sights.
Posted by plantagenet, Tuesday, 18 October 2005 9:21:30 PM
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I fly real planes (single engine stuff) and it's a hell of alot different when your ass is on the line. Try doing a real flight and see how much your flight sim time helps you will find PC flight sims arn't worth a squirt.
Posted by Kenny, Wednesday, 19 October 2005 9:28:26 AM
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It would be truly excellent if someone could explain to Chris Berg that the US Federal Aviation Administration ban is justified by objective evidence of interference with air navigation equipment, and that the separate ban imposed by the US Federal Communications Commission is justified by the fact that a mobile phone at 35,000 feet clogs up a whole bunch of base stations.

Some airlines expect to roll out mobile microbase stations inside their aircraft towards the end of 2006, connected to the ground via satellite link. This may solve, or at least ameliorate both technical problems.

Once that happens, travellers will speak their mind on aerial phone rage, one way or the other.
Posted by MikeM, Wednesday, 26 October 2005 6:29:38 PM
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"The decision about what PEDs to allow in the cabin could be firmly left in the care of the markets"

You go way too far - in extrapolating conclusions which relate to very specific areas of business and economics to this area this area of public safety.

Lets say that we let airlines have free reign to set all their own safety standards... should we as rational consumers simply sit back and wait ten years to observe crash and death rates. (I imagine it could take some time to get a statistically conclusive sample).

Having done that - I suppose I now pick my favoured airline and hope that they've not changed their procedures?

As a consumer... I can by clothing or food, examine the quality and choose differently next time around if necessary. This exerts pressure on retailers. I am still tricked out of my money on occasion.

This is simply not acceptable with public safety. With aircraft, the technology is not visible and easily judged by the consumer; and there are not enough crashes occurring for me to make an informed decision about outcomes. If there a signifantly larger number of crashes (which I would need in order to understand the "market" better) - that would not be acceptable to me either in terms of loss of life.
Posted by WhiteWombat, Friday, 24 February 2006 11:33:04 AM
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