Thursday, March 09, 2006

It Does, It Doesn't

It does. . . it doesn't. . . it does. . . it doesn't. . . .   Oh, who the hell knows any more?!

I'm talking about whether or not personal electronic devices (PDA's, laptop computers, games, cellphones, etc.) interfere with aircraft navigational aids.  A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University researches says it does, that is, these items can pose danger to the normal operation of aviation electronics.  This conclusion is, apparently, in contrast to the previously held believe that there was a minimal risk involved.

One of the worst offenders -- GSP receivers (global positional systems).

The study further found that cell phone calls are frequently made during critical stages of flight.  We define that as under 10,000 feet, which is roughly climb out and final approach.  That's why flight attendants tell you not to use your electronic equipment until after a certain point in the flight.

While the study certainly has its critics, the key issue seems to be one that is reiterated often -- follow the directions of your flight attendant.

Via Inflight HQ


Anonymous said...

First off, terrific blog. I've been a reader for a while now (and am a fairly frequent flyer), and it's so interesting to hear the perspective from the "other side". My only other real encounter was riding the same airport shuttle van (at 4:30 AM) as a couple different sets of flight attendants -- hearing their gossip was pretty fascinating, too.

One small clarification, though -- the article says that it's the airplane's GPS receivers that are being interfered with, not portable GPS receivers carried by passengers that are causing problems. I was a little confused at first, because I'm almost positive that portable GPS receivers are entirely passive -- that is, they merely listen for signals from the orbitting GPS satellites; they don't send out signals themselves.

And, for the record, even though I carry an iPod, cell phone, noise-reduction headphones, and laptop with Bluetooth and WiFi both, I make sure absolutely everything is off when required. I just don't get the people who think their call is so damn important that they -- and only they -- are allowed to break the rules. Weird.

Fly Girl said...

Thanks for being a regular reader. I sure appreciate it. And I'm glad that you enjoy hearing about the job from the other side of things. I enjoy looking at other people's jobs from their perspective (rather than my own), and that was part of the reason for my starting my blog.

I'm still not exactly sure what Carnegie Mellon thinks interferes with what. I read their study, a variety of criticisms of their findings, and some commentary. I may be more confused!

But what I do know is just what you stated. When I ask you to turn off the "stuff," please do so. It's my job -- I don't ask to annoy you.

I hope you keep reading -- and commenting, too.

Flygirl said...

good we've said before...who cares if it does or doesn't interfere...just turn the darn thing off for the first and last 10's not that hard!