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mobile phones

Old 23rd Nov 2012, 08:12
  #21 (permalink)  
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The problem is the proliferation of frequencies that can be used make the environment very difficult to predict. Especially with some of the things appearing which can have second harmonics in the radio altimeter band, and have fundamental signals in the surveillance radar band.

Probably the best answer would be to fit the aircraft with a multi band jammer for all mobile bands......

The situation gets more complex as the aircraft gets older. Cables flex, and the screening gets partially broken and so the immunity is reduced. So a 'good' aircraft can become a 'bad' one over the lifetime. You can get enough problems from the radios fitted to the aircraft, let alone extraneous ones.
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 09:04
  #22 (permalink)  
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What's causing the problem you have identified? Is it devices, unable to contact a cell, are increasing and increasing their power output which in turn causes interference with aircraft equipment?

Rather than jamming (i.e. adding more noise into the spectrum) wouldn't it be better to add pico-cells to the aircraft? Then these devices would have something to connect to at low output.

To be effective during all phases of flight these would need to be always on, which is not the practice today (for those airlines providing the service).
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 10:06
  #23 (permalink)  
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Where do the pico cells connect to? There are other complications too, such as aircraft speed. So you would need to put the pico cells in place for 700MHz (White space), 900 MHz (GSM) 1800 MHz (GSM), 2.3 - 2.4 GHz (G5 downloading), 2.6 - 2.7 (G4) and possibly something at 3GHz or so. Then you need make sure that whatever you relay to, the distances don't exceed the maxima that the systems can handle (GSM has a maximum of 40 to 50km becasue after that the timing runs out)

So now you need a ground station system....... plus a lot more weight in aircraft avionics. Of course, when you charge 1 a minute or whatever, it would pay for itself until consumers caught on - I gather that already, people are wondering about the cost to them of G4. I suspect that there will be some heartache when the bills come through - perhaps even for the corporate 'phone users.
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 10:19
  #24 (permalink)  
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Do you not get this....

We don't care about the technicalities - we don't want to have to hear telephone conversations when we are in forced, close proximity.

You would not believe how unimportant your phone conversations are to us.
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 12:37
  #25 (permalink)  
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Picocell is described here. Existing technology to connect any and all cell phone frequencies, via a satellite, to ground networks. It's like putting a cell tower in the airplane.

Load Toad, who's talking about conversations? You are the first to mention it.

In any case inflight use of cell phones is the reality now. Many non-US airlines have already deployed it. And you know what? Because they charge $2+ a minute, hardly anybody ever uses it. Much higher use of texting and surfing.

I remember when almost every airplane had a phone in the seat back. Airfone or something like that. Also expensive to use, so they rarely were. I did once when my SR flight was diverted from LHR to LGW, due to the T1 Burger King fire. Airlines pulled them out due lack of use.
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 12:45
  #26 (permalink)  
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I've turned back to stand twice after cabin crew gave a passenger several warnings (incl formal written warning) to stop using it. On one occasion I stopped on the taxiway, picked up the mic for a PA and stated quite clearly that 'we had stopped on the taxiway due to a passenger refusing to get of his mobile phone when asked several times by the cabin crew. Because this passenger seating in row x was still refusing we were about to return back to stand with a subsequent delay for us all.' As quick as lightning he backed down and switched it off within seconds and we left again. It showed a clear signal to all about who's in charge... (c/c) We got an applause from lots of pax...

That was in the UK. Now in the Middle East and you can just as well forget all rules... It's a different mentality here.

Last edited by John21UK; 23rd Nov 2012 at 12:47.
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 15:08
  #27 (permalink)  
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Same-same, but different.

I was giving a SMS course in JFK a couple of years ago, attended by some fairly senior managers. One lady found it very, very hard to focus on the training and not on her sodding Blackberry. I politely asked her to put it away once, then twice. Third time I told her "last warning". Fourth time she was stabbing the screen with her index finger I went to the table she was sat, took it off her hands, removed the back cover and took the battery out, then handed the phone (sans battery) back. Told her she'd be getting the battery back, not at the end of this session (this was just after lunch), but at the end of the day.

She went ballistic, claiming the company (a company of 100K people it should be noted) would more or less cease to function if she was not permanently on her phone. Told her she could get the battery back, but then she'd have to excuse herself from the course. As the course was mandatory for managers, that wasn't really an option for her. So she went to the SVP and cried her heart out. That lasted around 30 seconds, then she was handed her pink slip and escorted off the premises.

I got an "attaboy" from the SVP; he'd been looking for an excuse to get rid of her obnoxious arse for a while.

Serves the b1tch right.
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 16:02
  #28 (permalink)  
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Opinions or advice, either are fine. I was on an Air Canada flight last night out of YEG, it was a Dash 8 and full all but 2 seats, all the usual pre flight briefs were done and mobile phone use etc were covered. However this 1 seat forward and diagonal to me persisted to send and recieve emails right the way through take off and landing. Yes i did challenge him but by then we were airborne. I told the stewardess who said, "what can i do, i told them twice" and just left it. My blood was boiling at the ignorance of the guy who cared not a jot for anybody, i could clearly see his phone and it was fully on and not in a FS mode.......what do you or can you actually do when crap likethat happens
First, a couple people have replied to you with FAA regulations in mind. While close, the Transport Canada Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR) are in use here in Canada. There are three main regulations pertaining to this situation that the Flight Attendant would have been well aware of:

Compliance with Instructions
602.05 (1) Every passenger on board an aircraft shall comply with instructions given by any crew member respecting the safety of the aircraft or of persons on board the aircraft.
(2) Every crew member on board an aircraft shall, during flight time, comply with the instructions of the pilot-in-command or of any person whom the pilot-in-command has authorized to act on behalf of the pilot-in-command.

Portable Electronic Devices
602.08 (1) No operator of an aircraft shall permit the use of a portable electronic device on board an aircraft, where the device may impair the functioning of the aircraft's systems or equipment.
(2) No person shall use a portable electronic device on board an aircraft except with the permission of the operator of the aircraft.
Additionally, from CAR 705.40:

(4) For the purposes of Section 602.08, no air operator shall permit the use of a portable electronic device on board an aircraft unless the air operator has established procedures that
(a) meet the Commercial Air Service Standards; and
(b) are specified in the air operator's company operations manual.
Now, I cannot speak directly to the Air Canada Company Operations Manual, however, not many Canadian airlines have gone through to identify which cell phones do not interfere with the aircraft functions. There are, of course, pace makers, hearing aids, et cetera, which do not interefere, and they state that in their briefing. At my airline, we blanket all cell phones just in case.

Do they do anything? I'll leave the scholarly research to others, but I know if I forget to turn my cell phone off, I can hear it trying to connect to the network through my headset - a distracting sound that has me looking through the cockpit to try and turn the damned thing off! I fly Dash 8 aircraft, similar to the one you would have been on. I also remember hearing of an Air New Zealand 767 that was given false glideslope information into Fiji or Rarotonga once, until they found a passenger with a cell phone turned on; they turned it off, and like magic, no more false glideslope.

So, to answer your question, what could this Flight Attendant have done?

Well, if he or she wanted, they could have notified the PIC through the "Interference with Crew Members" program that all CAR 705 airlines have had to adopt. A passenger failing to heed the instructions of a crew member twice would be a level two incident which, depending on Air Canada procedures, may require notification to the company (mine does). Now, all air operators are required to report incidents to Transport Canada on a bi-annual basis, and on the occurence of all level three and four incidents. It is possible, however, that Transport would take enforcement action on a level two incident just to prove a point. What is the enforcement for failing to heed crew member instructions with a portable electronic device, you may ask? Well, CAD$3,000 for using the device, and another CAD$3,000 for failing to listen to a crew member - plus some potential jail time if you've done this before (CAR 103, Schedule II). Not to mention, if you're still at the gate, they could throw you off the flight.

So, for the travelling public, yes - there is something your crew can do. For updating your Facebook status to say "Im on a plane!" you may be removed from the aircraft, obtain a $6,000 fine, or face some jail time! Not to mention, evil looks from other passengers!
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 17:36
  #29 (permalink)  
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mobile phones

Thanks +TSRA very informative and reassuring indeed, truth is I have read all of the posts and its a real disappointment that this occurrence which clearly has potential is so common, in my case there was nothing unknown or misunderstood or possibilities of per loaded data, the guy was a prize ass that knew exactly what he was doing and didn't give a hoot, it's sad but clear also that there can be a contagious knock on effect too where people see somebody 'getting away with it' and think they can do it too, very disappointing indeed, thanks so much for the very informative a positive feedback folks
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 19:55
  #30 (permalink)  
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... and there are one or two of us that have forgotten about turning off their phones. I admit that this has happened to me a couple of times. Yes I should know better.

Can any airline guard against idiots like me?
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Old 23rd Nov 2012, 21:11
  #31 (permalink)  
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Bottom line is if C/C asks the man to turn it off and he does not, 2nd step is for CC to advise the captain. It should be the captains responsibility to resolve the issue on the ground, in the worst case scenario return to the gate and eject the passenger. This is the only proper course of action. If anything happened as a result of the passenger operating a mobile phone (not at all ever likely), the Airline would be completely liable.

You would be a fool to take any action upon yourself other than persistent notification to the dizzy blond F/A who just wants to get home (or the hotel) as soon as possible. If you really wanted to be persistent you could threaten to report the C/C to the CAA and airline. If she had notified the captain and the flight continued, the airline and CAA would place the blame on the captain. If you really wanted to be persistent you could probably march down to your local CAA office and ask to complete a flight safety report or equivalent.
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Old 24th Nov 2012, 07:49
  #32 (permalink)  
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re ME Post

I agree, that the local view to enforcement of the aviation rules and regulations is at best tinted.

It does not matter just how serious the infringement, there is a local view that it does not really matter, this view is reflected on the road in the air or even in the shopping mall.

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Old 24th Nov 2012, 08:50
  #33 (permalink)  
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One of the many reasons I refused to go to Egypt to do some work for Egyptair was that I was not willing to fly on them, having experienced the discipline of some of their management during meetings and presentations, including constant use of mobiles even when instructed to turn them off, I felt discipline and standards on board were likely to be the same or lower.
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Old 24th Nov 2012, 09:30
  #34 (permalink)  
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I recently had an incident on Cebu Pacific.

A loud brash American was told as leaving Butuan to turn off his phone. He waved the attendant away as his call was important. She returned to the front as we were on pushback. Once taxying along the runway she returned and asked him a second time. Again his reply was to wave her away as it was an important contract.

As the aircraft turned around on the runway she returned, took the phone from his hand, threw it to the floor (5 pieces of mobile) and told him to continue the call when we landed in Manila as the safety of the flight was more important than any call.

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Old 24th Nov 2012, 11:23
  #35 (permalink)  
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So the pico cell has to re-format the data so the delay through the satellite link doesn't screw up the GSM timing?

Makes me remember what the acronym ISDN really meant - I Smell Dollars Now!

But there's no reason if you spend enough money on the aircraft equipment, you can't fix the problem. You can then CHARGE - how much before the use dropped off too much would be interesting, but something between 1 to 1.5 a minute would probably fairly rapidly recoup costs. However, when you use a satellite, latency is a problem, which is why overseas telephone calls use fibre optic undersea cables. That's why you want a direct connection to a ground network.
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Old 29th Nov 2012, 19:41
  #36 (permalink)  
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When I was flying US domestic in the 90s, quite a few airlines (Northwest was definitely one) had handsets in the armrests. You could swipe your plastic through them and they charged $1/min - I assume they used a satellite link from the plane. I rarely saw them used, except for the occasional 30 sec "guess where I'm calling from".

You're unlikely to be able to conduct a mobile phone conversation in flight, because even if you could get a signal from the nearest cell (their aerials are angled to keep their reception focused on the ground, not at 30,000') you'd be travelling too quickly for a successful hand-off to the next cell as you moved out of range. I hate the idea of on-board picocells, as I spend quite enough time on trains listening to self-absorbed bozos broadcasting their business to the world.

But I don't have any safety concerns, since I'm sure that every flight with more than 100 people on board will have at least one (probably several) mobile that has been left on inadvertently, and ill effects are extremely rare (to say the least). None of which is an argument for disobeying the lawful instructions of the crew, of course.
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Old 30th Nov 2012, 10:43
  #37 (permalink)  
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The US domestic system in the '90s used ground stations, not satellites: the frequency was around 900 MHz, and used single sideband with a low level carrier for dealing with fading, frequency error and doppler. I can't remem ber too much about it, but they were using some integrated circuits from my employer, and I was the applications engineer helping them out with one or two problems.

Satellites have the problem of the delay...
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Old 30th Nov 2012, 21:47
  #38 (permalink)  
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We ask politely passengers to stop using their phones, iPads etc. They will comply. No discussions or negotiation.

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Old 11th Dec 2012, 16:34
  #39 (permalink)  
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Thanks radeng. You've piqued my interest, I will have to find out more about this system. I wonder how many ground stations were needed to cover the continental US ...
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Old 11th Dec 2012, 18:31
  #40 (permalink)  
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The airlines own the aircraft so we should respect the rules under which we are permitted to fly with them - and no excuses.

I do however think that the danger is massively hyped, and if aircraft are that sensitive to the emanations of a mobile phone with extremely low power, flying in a spectrum which is saturated by many orders of magnitude more of transmissions from the ground, then they should be dropping out of the air every day.

Yes, I am an engineer with a communications background. I am more worried about a drunken pilot than a stray mobile phone.

Last edited by GrahamO; 11th Dec 2012 at 18:40.
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