View Full Version : lost mobile

Marshall Amp
11th Apr 2006, 12:03
Anybody seen this story today. Wonder who the unlucky pilot was?

SUN-SEEKERS were stranded at an airport for four hours — because a pilot lost his mobile phone in the cockpit.

The holidaymakers were settled in their seats ready for take-off while the captain gave a running commentary on his fruitless search.
He scrambled around the floor and finally called for “technical assistance”.

Engineers DISMANTLED sections of the cockpit to search under the floor — without success.
And after being stuck on the Boeing 737-800 for an hour the 189 passengers were asked to collect their belongings and return to the terminal.

Wish we were there ... Tenerife

They were left helpless at Doncaster Robin Hood Airport instead of sunning themselves at Tenerife until a replacement aircraft could be laid on for the 4¾-hour flight.
They finally took off with a DIFFERENT pilot at the controls.

Thomsonflylast night apologised and insisted they had no choice but to delay the plane.

Stranded ... passengers were left in Doncaster

A spokesman said: “The aircraft could not take off until the phone was recovered as it was still switched on.
“Phones have to be switched off during a flight for safety reasons.”

A passenger said: “We just couldn’t believe our ears. We thought we’d heard every excuse in the book for delays but this one took the biscuit.
“At least the pilot was honest right from the start.
“He told us over the tannoy that we couldn’t take off until he found his mobile phone. Fifteen minutes later he said he was STILL looking for it.
“So we just waited and waited and he kept announcing they were still looking.
“Then he said the engineers had dismantled some of the panels in the cockpit but they still couldn’t find the phone anywhere.”

11th Apr 2006, 12:05
just seen this. on a scale of one to ten (ten being 'very') how embarrassed would you be as a pilot?

Farmer 1
11th Apr 2006, 12:06
Am I missing something here? The normal way to find a mobile phone is to ring the number.

11th Apr 2006, 12:23
At least he was honest about it! well done to ya whoever you are. You deserve a reward. Belt-clip maybe?

11th Apr 2006, 12:29
Come on then, who would have just gone?

11th Apr 2006, 12:42
These TFly first officers, they'll steal just anything unless it's screwed down......

(To anyone with a sensitive disposition, this IS a joke)

11th Apr 2006, 12:43
BBC report said it was on Silent.

11th Apr 2006, 12:46
I thought all testing had proved mobiles don't interfere so am surprised they cared about this. Afterall people accidently leave mobiles & Blackberrys on all the time on flights and I've not heard of an incident.

Personally I like the ban for the peace and quiet. Who would want to listen to people all shouting into their phones especially half the plane saying "I've just landed".

Fair play to the pilot for being so honest throughout though.

11th Apr 2006, 12:50
If SOP and checklist determins that the phone must be off, then the phone must be off! Opinions and checklists dont go hand in hand.........:confused:

11th Apr 2006, 12:51
With my own eyes, monitoring the FMS (PF) with my VOR (PNF) watched the needle vary from one dot left to one dot right in a random fashion. Mentioned it to PF, who switched his phones (two) off and needle settled down. I'm now convinced that interference occurrs.

11th Apr 2006, 13:08
O Dear, The gentlemen of the press …

“They finally took off with a different pilot reports The Sun.”

Makes it sound like the captain was somehow punished for loosing a phone. When indeed the correct decision was made …

It looks like the phone was switched on but must have been on “Silent”. Where was it found ? Does anybody know ?

11th Apr 2006, 13:15
I thought all testing had proved mobiles don't interfere so am surprised they cared about this.On the contrary, the latest research (http://www.cmu.edu/PR/releases06/060228_cellphone.html) simply again highlights the possible danger. (This is not an isolated piece of research; CAA work reported similar results.)

11th Apr 2006, 13:28
The policies regarding the use of mobile phones seems to vary from airline to airline and it's not always clear. Last week I was berated by fight att. on a Turkish Airlines flight that had arrived in Istanbul for switching on my mobile phone as I was passing her by the exit door. Obviously the engines had been shut down and the door open (I was about 2 metres from the door) She explained it was company policy that phones be turned off while aboard the aircraft, I told her that while I was happy to comply I would have felt more secure if she'd done something about the mobile phones I could hear ringing while the aircraft was taxying, again immediately after takeoff at about 500m and again just seconds before the wheels touched the ground for landing. No response from her.

I was on a Swiss flight the previous week and their announcement on landing in Belgrade was quite specific that phones should not be used until the fasten seat belt sign is off, the engines shut down and the door open.

11th Apr 2006, 13:50
I stand corrected. Thanks for the responses.

I assume the interference range is fairly limited as SXB demonstrates there are always mobiles left on onboard aircraft.

Actually quite pleased to hear that there is a reason to keep the ban.

11th Apr 2006, 13:55
As pointed out, the greater hazard is not the transmissions, but in this case a small solid object located somewhere unknown on the FD. Jamming controls is the obvious one, and for this reason alone it had to be found before flight.

11th Apr 2006, 14:24
Not as embarrassed as this Guy, check out page 5:


11th Apr 2006, 15:33
Better embarrassed than dead. I think that the loose article hazard was potentially greater than the interferance hazard. Flight safety must come first. It doesn't take much to bring an aeroplane down and you certainly won't get any thanks for it.

11th Apr 2006, 20:05
AAIU report shpows how easy it is to get any flight control (in a conventional a/c) jammed by even a simple 'foreign object' like a mobile phone.

I just love the picture of the rudder "PETALS"!!!!! I kid you not - have a look.

There you are me auld flower!

11th Apr 2006, 22:11
Just to confirm Aircraft was changed from B738 to B757 hence the crew change and the phone was switched off which hampered the engineers locating the mobile.

Cheers, Haylo

brain fade
12th Apr 2006, 00:56
What a load of woffle!
I've left my 'phone' aka UHF radio on loads of times. Makes no difference at all on the ERJ-145. And thats on the flight deck!

Let the feckers phone if they want to.

Until a neggy safety aspect is founded, I say it's all nanny state pish.

It's not a flying club.

They pay. if they've got 'important' "cough" calls to make. Let 'em!;)

12th Apr 2006, 02:08
IMO the mobile phone was a FOD hazard in the cockpit so abort justified!
A recent interferance assessment on critical hospital eqpt suggest this is limited to x metres but x metres would encompass most of an aircraft in flight so ban on mobile phone use in flight is legit

Few Cloudy
12th Apr 2006, 08:32
Rainboe got it.

It's called FOD.

Could be a lost phone, a dropped book, makes no difference.


12th Apr 2006, 08:50
there's whole project teams working at the European Telecommiúnications Standards Institute (ETSI) and the Electronic Communications Committee of the European Conference of Posts and Telecommunications (CEPT) on GSM in aircraft. Various engineers don't see how the proosals so far won't take out the bottom few DME channels, but Airbus, for one, don't appear to think this a problem.......
Having got a system that works from the 'phone viewpoint, the aircraft certification people still have to be convinced about the safety aspects, though.

12th Apr 2006, 10:12
Brain Fade,
On at least one type of aircraft that I fly, there are two CAS messages where the first crew action on receiving them is to find out who's phone is still switched on - so maybe it's not "a load of waffle":rolleyes:

12th Apr 2006, 13:23
I would have called it a loose article which might have wedged in a dangerous position.

12th Apr 2006, 14:24
Apart from the airmanship aspects of potential interference with on board equipment and loose articles in the cockpit, is there not an issue of legality?

As I understand it, any transmission from an aircraft must be from equipment which is approved and specified in the a/c Radio Licence. As the mobile phone is neither approved or listed in the Cert of Approval of Radio Installation then went it pulses the transmission is "illegal" whilst in flight.

12th Apr 2006, 15:12
FOD on a flight deck is a big no - no, end of.

Ok so the phone itself does not constitute a safety hazard by purely being switched on. What then happens during flight say coming in to land with the phone not being located before take off?

Hypothetical situation:-

...aircraft on final approach experiences heavy turbulence 200ft from landing, lost phone decides to pop its head up from wherever it is hiding and gets stuck behind a control surface (rudder peddles for example)... pilot unable to maintain control and major aircraft incident occurs resulting in heavy loss of life.


Would you therefore have the cavalier attitude of 'it will be ok, the phone can’t cause any harm from being switched on?'

I hope not :sad:

12th Apr 2006, 16:20

From your reference, Page 3 section 2, "Analysis"

and the low coefficient of friction between the hard surface of the mobile phone case and the carpet, facilitated the movement forward of the phone.


....the phone slid forward on the carpet....

12th Apr 2006, 18:31
As you know, I am not a pilot. Know a bit about "RF" radiation and radios, and about what goes on up front.

Lost "FOD" on the flight deck is, as said before, a no-no. Be it a phone, a book, a Mars Bar, the FO's Gameboy, or the Skipper's girly-mag. It can jam moving parts, it can cause shorts.

Regarding interference with vital functions - "there is very little evidence of a problem" - possibly because most mobiles are off. There is also very little evidence that both pilots wandering out of their seats during autopilot operations is dangerous! Would you do it? (Aw, come on, there's no problem if we both go for a leak at the same time - the autopilot always works")

The mobile phone is a radio transmitter. All radio transmitters (and even recievers!) emit frequencies that they are not designed to; sometimes at a very low level, sometimes not. Mobiles are designed to be low enough in this respect to avoid commercial problems (like your home hi-fi or a blue-tooth device) but are not tested, or certified, to the standards that I like to see used on safety-vital operations such as aircraft, especially when taking off or landing.
We have a couple of posts here from pilots who have seen mobiles degrading instruments or communications.

If in doubt - switch the bluudy thing off! I get really p*ssed out here in the "sandy lands",where the culture seems to be "do it if you please, as long as you don't get caught" (like running red lights when there's not a cop car around!)

Perhaps airport security might have to start confiscating the batteries from the things, if people can't abide by the rules?

I'm not a "mobile hater" - I rely on mine and can't think how I got along (especially in business) without it. But it gets turned off at the top of the jet-way, and on again in the same place at the other end - unless there's a delay and the Captain (i.e. responsible person in charge) tells us specifically that we can make calls while taxiing. He's The Boss

13th Apr 2006, 17:33
What a load of woffle!
I've left my 'phone' aka UHF radio on loads of times. Makes no difference at all on the ERJ-145. And thats on the flight deck!

Sorry to disagree. I'm no airline pilot, I fly a GA aircraft, however I can assure you that if there is a mobile left on in the cabin of my aircraft then it certainly interferes with the R/T. I understand that airline radios may be better shielded than mine but I take the attitude that if I can tell it is interfering with the R/T what could it be affecting that I don't know about?

13th Apr 2006, 18:17
Apparently the mobile had found it's way down behind the rudder pedals, and according to engineers there is a passage under the centre pedestal that ends up in the e and e bay. That's where it was found. Personally I would not be happy to to go with any foreign object in the e&e bay.
Good call :ok:

14th Apr 2006, 08:13
When showing people around the cockpit of military jets the visitors are asked to empty their pockets for the reasons mentioned above.

I once showed a famous South African golfer around a pointy grey jet and duly asked the question about stuff in pockets.

"Oh, yes, hold on" and he reached into his back pocket and pulled out the fattest billfold of £50s I've ever seen and handed it to his caddie for safe keeping...

14th Apr 2006, 10:10
It would have surely been quicker to have popped down to that festering sh****le know as 'Donnie' and borrowed a couple of the 'hoodies' who hang around the streets of that wretched dump. Shove them in the cockpit and tell them that the phone is theirs if they can find it... Would have taken about thirty seconds

Mind you, they'd probably have had the IFE screens, hubcaps and most of the bar as well.....

Serious? Moi??

Actually this was a clear arse-looticle hazard and there was obviously nothing for it but to ground the a/c until the phone was recovered.

14th Apr 2006, 10:25
All in all, I think we are agreed, anybody who knows anything about aeroplanes would confirm it was a good call. But what should be examined here is this:
a pilot made a perfectly normal mistake, he dropped his phone. He was then submitted to the dreaded, horror inducing Pprune Court Martial where his actions were dissected and the resulting events analysed and inspected for fault! Can we now assume that he made a mistake, he did not try and hide it and made a good call that the event should be rectified, and possibly stop further discussion? Apart from wasting perfectly good bandwidth, it must be causing him intense embarrassment for making the correct and honest call. We don't need deep analysis of a simple event and a close call, because if we do, by God, half those idiots who run the companies where my money is invested should be opened up totally to scrutiny and made responsible for some of the daft business decisions that they make. One thinks of Ailing and what he did to BA for one. Doctors don't eternally (and publicly) scrutinise the operations that go wrong, or the surgeon who butchered and killed my mother in law in a relatively simple heart operation would have been publicly exposed.

The chap made the right call, let's bury it!

14th Apr 2006, 10:41
Quite right Rainboe. What does surprise me, greatly, is the number of 'aviation savvy' commentators here who see the missing phone only as a possible source of radio interference. That's the least of the worries. A slippery loose article is somewhere in the cockpit. Why should the pilot be embarrassed to ground the aircraft - until the phone was found it had just gone seriously tech.

Spot on decision from him/her. No embarrassment called for and, I'm sure, no side-ways looks from the head shed. As they say, s**t happens.

15th Apr 2006, 23:28
Many years ago when people used to smoke pipes in the cockpit a certain pilot I know dropped his pipe on the floor in flight. It slid past the rudder pedals and wangled its way into the radome. He spoke to the ground engineer on arrival who opened up the appropriate panels.... They found the pipe and someones reading specs, another pipe, several pens, sunglasses, lighter all coated in dust, fluff and filth..... Obviously no-one bothered to report the other stuff!! No mobile phones then though.

16th Apr 2006, 22:08
Just to throw another spanner into the works, it seems all the SLF and a few of us seem to concentrate on the flight deck when it comes to interference from mobile phones. Those folk sat 50ft away down the back think that they are far enough away for it not to matter. What is behind and above those lovely plastic walls they are sat right next to, or below that "clean" carpet? A hell of a lot of pipes, wires, aerials, switches etc. I dont know if a phone could interfere with any of that but my point is; no one ever thinks of it.

Good call, by the way Tfly captain.


17th Apr 2006, 02:59
Just another point of view on this. My friend and his wife were on this flight to Doncaster from AGP. The pilot did indeed apologise to pax about the fact he had lost his mobile. He did explain that this was a safety issue due to the fact that the mobile may have fallen down in a gap where important controls need to be kept clear of loose items and apologised prefusely for being so stupid and explained how foolish he was but the situation had to be resolved.

Honey Waggon
17th Apr 2006, 09:18
...and apologised prefusely for being so stupid and explained how foolish he was. Not quite Groundlover. I know the pilot personally and he certainly didn't make such an unprofessional announcement. He told the pax that the delay was completely his fault and apologised for the delay. He thanked everyone for their patience whilst he and the engineers attempted to find the phone and explained that the phone WAS SWITCHED OFF, which is what made it harder to find, and went on to tell the pax that it was a flight safety issue due to the possibility of it lodging somewhere which might jam the controls.

Thomsonfly issued a press statement before speaking to him (he was on leave the next day) and confused the reason for why the phone had to be found; incorrectly stating that it was switched on.

They swapped the pax to a 757 which came in whilst the search continued, in order to minimise the delay, he operated the Malaga which the 757 was due to operate a little later.

A couple of things worth noting.

1. The plane shouldn't have and didn't move until the phone was found.
2. He and the company did everything to keep the pax informed and came up with a contingency plan.
3. The pax weren't 'stranded' in the terminal, they went back into the terminal after it became evident that it was going to take another hour or so to put the aircraft back together even if the phone had been found imminently.

Good job mate in my book. How many pax and other crew have never, ever dropped their mobile phone? He was just unlucky where it bounced.....

Mind you, he did keep his sense of humour and phoned the engineers on their mobile just before they pushed back for Malage and opened up with "you're not going to believe this......" the reply contained many expletives before he informed them that his phone was none the worse for wear and thanks for finding it!!!:D

As pointed out previously, better to get your 15 minutes of fame in for losing your mobile rather than landing short due to jammed controls!!!:ok:

17th Apr 2006, 12:05
Judging by your start date on pprune, is it possible you know the skipper even better than you admit?!!

Whatever, it was a good call, there have been worse delays caused by far less. I know for a fact that mobiles in pax hold baggage have caused spurious cargo fire warnings when unshielded connecting wire has been installed causing at least one emergency diversion to my personal knowledge.

A curse on the things.